Whether you are looking for a full-blown set of 6-pack abs, or just a nice flat stomach to show off your low-rise jeans, it is going to take some regular abdominal exercises to get there. Not a lot of time to hit the gym? Then try this home ab workout in the privacy of your own living room. You don’t need dumbbells, exercise balls or any of those fancy ab machines you see advertised on TV. To get the flat belly of your dreams, you really just need a comfortable floor mat and the commitment to work out 5-10 minutes a day.

It’s important to remember that you have 4 different types of abdominal muscles and it’s necessary to work each of them if you’re going to achieve the fitness results you desire. These four muscles are the Transversus Abdominus, the Internal Obliques, the External Obliques, and the Rectus Abdominus.

* The Transversus Abdominus is the deepest muscle in the belly. You can’t feel it from the outside of your body. This muscle run horizontally and it has a great impact on posture.

* The Internal Obliques are also located deep in the body and are used to rotate the body and support the spine from the front.

* The External Obliques are more superficial (located closer to the outside of the body), they also help with rotation and help support the spine when standing.

* The Rectus Abdominus is the best known ab muscle and the one that fitness aficionados focus on the most. Being the most superficial of the ab muscles, it is used to help bend the back forward. It is also very visible and is the muscle responsible for the 6-pack abs you’re always hearing about. The Rectus Abdominus muscle runs vertically and is crossed by three tendinous intersections. It is the muscle that pulls the deeper muscles in.

* The Pyramidalis muscle is smaller and lesser known than the larger ab muscle. It is a small, triangular muscle located in the lower abdominal region and in front of the Rectus Abdominus. When you do leg raises that work your lower abs, you are working the Pyramidalis.

* The Back muscles. It is a common fitness mistake to concentrate a lot of effort in building up strong abdominal muscles, but neglecting the back muscles. It’s a mistake because the muscles contribute to a strong core, which helps hold your abdominal muscles in place.

A Complete Ab Workout

The best ab workout is one which works each of the major abdominal muscles and the back. The following workout targets each of these muscles, but in can be completed in
less than 10 minutes.

Crunch.
The basic stomach crunch is very effective at targeting the rectus abdominus muscle. Simply lay on the floor on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet on the floor, cross your hands across your chest, raise your head toward your knees while exhaling, then inhale as you lay back down. Press you back into the floor when you crunch up and keep your neck aligned with your spine.

Repeat for 12 reps, rest 90 seconds, then repeat for 12 more reps. If you have to put your hands behind your head, you are probably working too hard and straining your neck. If you can’t complete all of the reps with your hand crossed on your chest, stop and try for more reps next time.

Reverse Crunch.
The reverse crunch works your lower abs including the Pyramidalis muscle. Lay on the floor with your arms at your side and feet off the floor with knees bent at 45 degree angle to the floor. Now exhale while using your lower abs to bring your knees in to your chest while raising your chin to chest. Inhale your legs and chin back to the starting position. Repeat for 12 reps. Rest 90 seconds. Repeat for 12 more reps. If you find yourself pressing your arms into the floor, put your arms over your head where they can’t “help”.

Bicycle Crunch.
The famous bicycle crunch is a great workout for your Rectus Abdominus and Obliques. Lay on the floor, raise your feet off the floor and bed your knees to a 45 degree angle. Place your hands loosely behind your head with your elbows pointing out. Crunch up, gently twisting your body as your bring your right elbow to your left knee, inhale back down, then exhale up as you bring your left elbow to your right knee. Repeat for 12 reps on each side.

Scissor Kicks.
This simple exercise targets the Transverses Abdominus, which is often overlooked in ab exercises. Lay on the floor, place your hand under your buttocks and press your back against the floor. Focus on contracting your lower abs and pull your belly button down toward the floor as you raise on leg 8-10 inches off the floor, then lower it while raising the other leg off the floor. Repeat until you have competed 12 reps with each leg.

Plank.
The plank is a great way to build up the muscles in your back. Lay on the floor on your stomach with your elbows bent and your weight resting on your forearms, then push up onto your toes so your weight is equally distributed from your forearms to your toes. Squeeze your back for balance. Your body should be straight with no sagging in the mid section. Hold the pose for a count of 10, but increase the pose until you work up to a count of 30.

Note: Without a proper diet, the best ab workout in the world will go to waste if your beautiful strong ab muscles are covered with stomach fat. Be sure to follow a high-protein low-carb diet to ensure the best results of your workout.