Good stomach exercises strengthen all parts of your abdominal (stomach) muscles including the upper abs, the lower abs and the obliques. The upper and lower abs are part of the same muscle in the center of your stomach and the obliques are more commonly known as the area under the "love handles." A good stomach exercise routine should be done two to three times a week for two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
You can do this at your desk at work or while watching TV at home. Exhale completely and then suck your stomach in. Hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds and release.
Lie on your back, bend your knees, put your feet on the floor and cross your arms over your chest. Tighten your stomach muscles and raise your shoulders off the floor. Use your stomach muscles to lift your body and crunch your ribcage towards your hips.
Lie on your back with you arms flat on the floor at your sides. Bend your legs and keep your feet about 6 inches off the floor. Pull your knees upward and in toward your chest; your butt should come off the floor. Lower your legs toward the floor, stop when they are 6 inches from the floor and repeat the series of movements. Continue to raise and lower your leg for the desired number of repetitions.
Chair Leg Lifts
Sit on a chair with your hands on its arms. Keep your back straight and your stomach muscles tightened. Lift your knees up toward your chest, hold for 5 seconds and lower back to the floor.
Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Place your arms on the floor and tighten your stomach. Lift your pelvis upward and keep your lower back on the floor. You should feel this in your lower stomach.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your left ankle on your right knee. Placing your hands behind your head, use your stomach muscles to lift your right shoulder off the floor, twist at the torso and move your right shoulder towards your left knee. Repeat the steps for the right knee and left shoulder.
This exercise will work all your stomach muscles. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and lift your shoulders slightly off the floor. Bend your knees and bring them in towards your chest. Straighten your right leg and cross your right elbow over your body toward your left knee. Switch sides and continue this series for the desired number of repetitions.
Straight Leg Crunch
Lie on your back with your legs straight. Put your hands behind your head and lift your shoulders off the floor. Raise your legs upward until your body creates a 90-degree angle. Slowly lower the legs until they are 6 to 12 inches from the ground and repeat.
Ab Machine Crunch
Adjust the weight on the ab machine. If you are a beginner start with the lowest weight possible. For intermediate and advanced fitness levels, start with 30 to 50 lbs. Sit on its seat of the machine and place your hands on the handles with your arms resting on the pads. Tighten your stomach muscles and crunch forward. This exercise offers the same movement as a crunch with the added bonus of additional weight and you are in a seated position.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Clasp your hands together and raise your feet 4 to 8 inches from the ground. Alternate touching your hands on the floor to the right and left side of your body.