The best home abdominal exercises go far beyond the basic sit-up. In fact, there are entire books devoted just to the muscles in the abdomen, and fitness trainers keep coming up with novel ways to help you push those muscles to the extreme and gain the six-pack abs you've been longing for. Selecting just a few exercises from this long litany of choices can be a bit difficult, but the ones listed below all have one thing in common: they're all quite hard. These are the exercises to go to when you want results in a hurry.
Before you start your ab workout, a few words about form. In each exercise, you should focus on tightening your abdominal muscles and making those muscles do the work. Craning your neck or stretching out your arms may make the exercise seem easier, but you won't see the same results from the exercise. To ensure that you don't strain your muscles and injure yourself, you should give your abs a day of rest between workouts; pushing them each day may do more harm than good. In each exercise session, do as many repetitions as you can without wearing out, rest for 15 seconds and repeat. This is called a set, and you should do three sets per exercise.
One of the best all-around abdominal muscles is the bicycle. You may remember this exercise from your days at the gym, but if not, here's a quick description: lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees bent at 90 degrees. Tighten your abdominal muscles to bring your head to your knees. Rotate your abdomen so your right elbow is pointed to your left knee, and straighten your right leg. Then bend your right knee and extend your left as you rotate again so your left elbow is pointed at your bent right knee. Doing the exercise at a slow pace makes it might more difficult, so force yourself to move with slow precision.
A Swiss ball, which is a firm ball that stands at about the height of your hips when fully inflated, will allow you to do another terrific abdominal exercise. Sit on the ball and move your feet forward until the ball is resting between your shoulder blades and your neck. Extend your arms overhead and put your palms together. Then, rotate your body to the left, keeping your abdomen tight, until your left shoulder is on the ball and your hands are pointing to the left, but your hips are still pointed upward. Move to the center, and then to the right.
To give your abs an extreme workout, lie on your back and grasp a heavy piece of furniture with your hands. Raise your feet into the air, keeping your knees bent. Then, contract your abdominal muscles while you press your back into the floor and lift your hips into the air; remember not to pull with your arms.
While you're on the floor, try one more exercise. Balance on your tailbone with your feet and head off the floor and your body in a V-shape. Lean your body back, extending your arms and legs and then use your abdomen to return to the original position.