Well-built abdominal muscles not only make a man look good at the beach, they also stabilize the spine to prevent back injuries. Athletes who work on strengthening their abs will improve their performance in almost any sport, including baseball, football and golf. The ab muscles are easy to build at home since most exercises do not require any equipment other than an exercise mat to cushion the floor if you are working out on a hard surface.
Lie face-up on an exercise mat and extend your arms and legs so your entire body is in a straight line. Keep your arms and legs straight while bending at the waist. Lift your arms and legs until there is a 35- to 45-degree angle between the floor and your body. Hold this position for one or two seconds, then lower your arms and legs to straighten your body.
Bent-Knee Hip Raise
Lie face up on an exercise mat as if you were going to do a crunch, but keep your arms flat on the mat against your sides. Lift your hips a few inches off the mat and curl your knees toward you. Try to curl your knees up until they are in line with your chest. Hold your position for a moment, then slowly lower your legs back to the mat. To make this exercise more difficult, keep your legs straight when you lift them up.
The plank is a stationary exercise that engages your abdominal muscles to stabilize your body. Position yourself on your forearms and knees on an exercise mat. Place your toes on the mat and straighten your legs so you are holding yourself in a straight line on your forearms and toes. Keep your abdominal muscles tight to support your lower back. Start by holding your pose for 10 seconds, then increase the duration up to one minute as your abdominal muscles get stronger.
Lie on your back on an exercise mat or bench with your hands behind your head. Bend your knees as if you were going to do a set of crunches and place your feet flat on the floor. Lift your legs up until your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Kick your left leg out and curl your right knee and left elbow together to contract your abdominals. Return to the starting position, then kick your right leg out and curl your left knee toward your right elbow. Continue to alternate legs until you have finished your set.