Best Ab Exercise

Want Flat Abs? This Is the Most Effective Ab Exercise According to Research

When it comes to getting toned, flat abs, not all abdominal exercises come with promising results. 

That’s because not all exercises activate the abs muscles the same way. 

If you are looking to tone up your abs and get a flat tummy in no time, picking the right ab exercise is key. It’s the most effective way to maximize your result and achieve it faster. 

Luckily, American Council on Exercise (ACE) did the heavy lifting and found the best method for getting definite results. 

In their study, they put 13 of the most popular ab exercises to test. 

They measured the abdominal muscle activation and stimulations using electromyography equipment during each activity. They compared the muscle activity taken for each exercise and ranked from the best to worst.

The result is in. 

According to the ACE study, the most effective ab exercise according to research is bicycle crunch. 

It’s hailed as the most effective oblique and lower abs activating exercise. 

In addition to hitting the front abs (six-pack muscles), the bicycle crunch targets your obliques (side abs) as well as your lower abs. The exercise’s rotational movements recruit far more muscles than other exercises on the list. 

This is unlike other common ab moves like crunches and sit-ups

When you crunch or do sit-ups, you activate only the rectus abdominis, the long muscles in the front of the abs. They also put a lot of stress and pressure on your spine and neck while performing. 

If they are your go-to ab exercises, be warned. They ranked one of the worst exercises for your abs. 

For more definite results, switch to bicycle crunches and learn to do it right. 

The proper technique will help you lessen the pressure on your back and neck and maximize your result. 

Here is how to perform the bicycle crunch. 

  1. On a thick yoga mat, start on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Adjust your feet so they are about hip-width apart. 
  2. Place your hands behind your ears and keep your elbows open wide. 
  3. Brace your core and raise your neck and head off the mat to start. Using abs, lift your legs to a tabletop position then strengthen one leg out. Simultaneously, bend your other knee in towards your belly and twist your opposite elbow in. 
  4. With control, switch sides by bringing the straight leg in and straightening the bent leg. Rotate the torso, so your other elbow comes in to touch the opposite knee. That’s one rep. 
  5. Keep repeating and alternating for the prescribed number of repetitions. 

The key points: 

There are several key points to performing a bicycle crunch. 

Firstly, be sure to keep your lower back pressed into the mat throughout the exercise. This is to avoid arching your back and placing pressure on your lower back. 

Secondly, be sure to drive your rotational moves from your core. Make sure you are not forcing the upper body movements by pulling your neck and head with your hands. 


The bicycle crunch is the most effective ab exercise proven by research. It scored the highest in muscle stimulation levels detected on rectus abdominals and obliques. 

It’s one exercise that works not only your front abs but also the side abs and lower abs. If you are looking to flatten your tummy and want the most beneficial ab workout, this is the exercise for you. 

Add this exercise to your regular workout routine to get the flat abs results in no time. 

Interested in the ACE’s research on ab exercises? Be sure to check out this post on the most effective ab exercises according to ACE research. 

About the Author

Similar Posts