8 Worst Ab Exercises Ever (STOP DOING THESE!)

No matter what ab exercises you are doing in your ab workouts, these 8 are the worst and need to be stopped right now. In this video, I’m going to show you eight exercises for abs that are popular and unfortunately not really helping you to get that six pack you have been looking for. That said, I won’t leave you hanging. I’m going to show you ab exercise alternatives for each one so that you can still get to your goal by using better options for getting there.

We start with the basic plank. I’ve gone on record quite a few times in the past stating my disapproval of this popular abs exercise. The problems are many. Mostly, this is just too easy to provide any type of benefit for anyone other than the most rank beginner ab workout trainee. If you know how to up the intensity and engage more of the muscles into the plank that are capable of it, then you’ll want to explore options like the RKC Plank, 3 Point Plank Row and the Twisting Barbell Plank shown.

Next up is the dumbbell side bend. I hate this ab exercise. In fact, not only is it often misperformed by using a dumbbell in each hand or by leaning forward rather than strictly to the side and for a very limited range of motion, but it just isn’t the optimal way to train your lateral pillar strength. This can easily be done better with a side plank lift. When you drop the hips you are actually mirroring the same motion as in the side bend but with more control and stability without the excessive loading of the dumbbell.

The third worst ab exercise ever is called the GHD Situp. This is a crossfit creation and one that most people just don’t have the core strength required to perform properly. It places a tremendous shear stress on the lumbar spine and subjects the user to half the weight of their own body (which is often way too much for them to handle). The long moment arm of the exercise provides a good weighted option for overloading the abs but you can replicate this without the risk by performing either a floor based rollup (with or without a dumbbell).

Leg raises are one of the greatest ways to train the lower abs. That said, once again most people cannot handle the weight of their legs on ab exercises and wind up having their low backs pulled uncontrollably into hyperextension as they lower them back to the ground on every rep. You cannot allow this to happen. If you have to rely on your hands to lift your legs up and down then your abs are likely not strong enough to do this in your six pack ab workouts. Instead, use your hands to check that your low back is firmly in contact with the ground rather than arching to make this safe again.

Ab exercise number five to avoid is any one in which you are using your pet as a form of resistance. Social media has created the urge for many fitness influencers to incorporate their pets into their workouts as the weight that they are lifting. Please, do me a favor and skip these. A dumbbell ab exercise or basic bodyweight ab workout will do just fine.

Two popular ab exercises that get butchered all the time are the russian twist and the bicycle crunch. Here again, it isn’t the movement that is the problem it is the way that people often times do the movement that renders it useless. For both, it is the lack of concerted rotation of the trunk that turns this into something not helpful. Instead of tapping your hands to your sides or flipping your elbows side to side be sure you’re actually rotating your shoulders which will stimulate your abdominal muscles.

And finally, the worst ab exercise of them all is really any one in which you are not consciously trying to go through the movement with the contraction of the abs instead of swinging with momentum. I always say, you need to stop counting reps in your workout for abs and make the reps count instead. For example, lifting your knees up and down in a hanging leg raise is not going to train your abs as much as curling the pelvis into posterior tilt and slowly performing high quality reps.

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do to get six pack abs is to perform the right ab exercises and do that consistently. If you’re looking for a complete step by step workout plan that gives you daily ab workouts as well, be sure to head to athleanx.com via the link below. Pick the plan that is best suited to your goals and get a ripped, athletic body in no time.

For more videos on how to get a six pack with great ab exercises and for complete home ab workouts that you can follow along to, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube via the link below and remember to turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

50 thoughts on “8 Worst Ab Exercises Ever (STOP DOING THESE!)

  1. ATHLEAN-X™ says:

    *NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY* – It’s back!! Alright guys, I’m giving away a complete 30 Day Workout program to 100 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 100, but those randomly selected within the first hour the video is published. Click the link to see if you’ve won. No strings attached! 
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    If you don’t win, no worries, you’re not going away empty handed. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

  2. Mike Colz says:

    You have changed my life. I’m 50 years old and I’m in the best shape of my life! God bless you guys.

  3. NOT PRODUCTIVE PRODUCTIONS says:

    Imagine being a beginner to fitness when you suddenly win Jeff’s giveaway. That was me once upon a time

  4. Kevin Ly - become a better you! says:

    Sit ups near the beginning of 2021…Anyways, leg raises should be in everyone’s arsenal

  5. Wheelsonmyfeet says:

    You’re absolutely right, I wasn’t paying attention because I was staring at Daisy.
    Jeff knows too much.

  6. Insaiyan Health Concepts By Andre Budnick says:

    I love how you said don’t use the dog as a weight, I remember when you used your dog years ago for a sandbag workout. Just made me remember that workout. Love the channel Jeff, I’ve used many of your programs to get in the best shape of my life and I have also used many of your routines and strategies in conjuncture with some other respected fitness professionals to help get my friends and coworkers in the best shape of their lives. Since starting with your programs I now use your original 400 rep challenge as a starting reference point to show my trainees their progress. Best friend started at 245 completed the routine in 1 hr and 30 min on day 1 and by day 180 he was down to 165 and completing the routine in 9 minutes.

    I would be very interested in becoming an athlean x personal trainer someday

    Keep it up Jeff you’re amazing

  7. Humayoon Nazer says:

    When jeff goes downstairs to have dinner with his family, he greets them by saying what’s up guys jeff cavarelie athleanxdotcom

  8. sngb240 says:

    I am a chiropractor and physician – and Jeff is right about everything in this video!
    And that puppy is incredibly cute!!

  9. JesterWDE says:

    Me: walks into gym
    Jeff: well, actually you’re doing that wrong, and it’s killing your gains. Here’s how to fix it.

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