Ab Exercises to Meet Any Athletic Goals

Check out these ab exercises from STACK expert Brian Lebo if you want to improve your performance on the field and look good doing it.

Physioball Plank

Sure, nice abs look hot. But the muscles in your midsection aren't there just for appearance; they're essential for pretty much every sport athletes play. (Learn why core strength makes you a more complete athlete.) So although the following four exercises will strengthen and tone your abs, they will also help you perform better on the field. Use them to elevate your game—and look good doing it.

Weighted Incline Sit-Up

  • Sit on incline bench with feet secured under padded rollers (or sit sideways across a bench with feet pinned to floor by heavy dumbbells)
  • Hold weight plate against upper body
  • Lower until your torso is parallel to the floor, but do not let your back touch the bench
  • Lift back up to starting position, like you would in a traditional sit-up. That's one rep

Sets/Reps: 3x15-25

Plate Press

  • Assume same starting position as Incline Sit-Up
  • Holding weight plate, recline so your torso is parallel to the floor; do not let your back touch the bench
  • Remaining in this position, push weight plate up and away from chest until arms are fully extended
  • Lower weight back to chest and repeat

Sets/Reps: 3x12-15 with heavy weight plate

Unstable Plank

  • Place elbows and forearms on BOSU ball or Swiss ball with feet on floor
  • Assume plank position, contracting glutes and abs
  • Hold position for as long as you can
  • Stop when form falters

Hanging Leg Raise

  • Hang from chin-up bar so that your feet don't touch floor
  • With legs together, raise knees to chest and hold for one second
  • Return to starting position and repeat
  • Try to avoid swaying throughout the movement

Sets/Reps: 3x15-25

Want more ab exercises? Check out the Toughest Abs Exercises at Velocity Sports Performance.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock