There are many different types of abdominal exercises that you can use in order to strengthen and shape a great six pack of abdominal muscles. These exercises range from the basic and well known like the classic abdominal crunches, to leg raises, and multiple weight lifting machines designed to target that specific trouble area of many people's bodies.

The wide variety of various ab machines out there, and the large variety of different abdominal exercises can be a little bit intimidating to a lot of people who aren't natural gym rats. Whenever there are so many choices, attempting to figure out which abdominal exercises are best for your goals and your situations can be intimidating. The good news is that there is no "only one way" to get there, which means that a wide variety of abdominal exercises can be effective.

The other good news is that despite all the commercials bombarding you with the claim that you have to buy this machine or that machine, but many of the best abdominal exercises aren't from machines, but are some of the same good old fashioned exercises that you practiced in gym class.

The three best overall abdominal exercises:

1. Crunches. That's right, the good old fashioned stomach crunch is still the best exercise for abs and should be the foundation for any serious exercise program focusing on abdominal exercises.

2. Reverse crunches. These are similar to crunches, but emphasize the lower abs over the upper abs. A great balance exercise for regular crunches.

3. Side bends. These are really good to work on the supporting oblique muscles.

Someone who only concentrates on these three exercises will do well in building up their abs. These abdominal exercises should always be the base of any serious workout. With weights and other machines, there are also several other really good exercises that can add some great variety, help you keep interest in your workouts, and also help to build your ideal abs.

Leg raises are another favorite among gym goers. Just set yourself up with good posture on the appropriate machine and lift the legs. The pressure forces your abs to work out and can help really shape up that part of the body. The abdominal bicycle crunch is another very popular exercise that you might see around. For some people this is easy, but for beginners it might take a while to get the coordination down.

If you have a bench to work with, then there's a whole variety of additional abdominal exercises that you can do, including: side leg raises, front kicks, bench kickbacks, and rear leg scissors. A gym workout for abs combined with Pilates at home can be a great way to get the full effect of each workout and come out with the abdominal muscles that you've been dreaming of.

The most important thing is to just keep with whatever abdominal exercises that you are working out your stomach muscles with. Keep at it until you get the results you want, and you'll be glad that you stayed faithful to those abdominal exercises.

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