The Top 10 Ab Exercises for Men and Women
Abdominal exercise often doesn’t work for users because they don’t use the right exercises, and don’t do their ab exercises properly and effectively. Consider the top ten abdominal training exercises you might try, and how to do them properly for the most good.
Crunches Are One of the Classic Abdominal Muscle Exercises
Many don’t see results with crunches because they don’t do them properly. They are good for ab training but need to be done effectively so they work and so that you don’t hurt your back muscles. To perform crunches properly, be sure you keep your back straight and don’t curl when you come up off the floor. Curling means you’re straining your back muscles and this is unsafe and also ineffective for ab training. As you return to your starting position, be sure you use the tension and leverage to work your muscles even more. Fight the movement with your stomach muscles so they work twice as hard.
Leg Lifts for Abdominal Exercises
You may not think of leg lifts as being used for abdominal training, but when you lift your legs off the ground, your stomach muscles are working to keep you balanced and to support your legs. To do these correctly be sure you keep your legs together and your body straight and properly aligned. You don’t need to lift your legs any more than an inch or two from the ground for your stomach muscles to work.
As with crunches, use the tension of lowering your legs to for additional abdominal training. Feel your stomach muscles tense as you lower them slowly back down, then lift them again. This will give you twice the workout in half the time.
Sit-ups for Upper Abdominal Exercises
While sit-ups work the entire abdominal area, they are also good for the upper abs since they work this area throughout the entire curl. To perform sit-ups correctly, be sure your back is straight and you have support for your feet. This will ensure you don’t strain your back or pull muscles. Curl up slowly as you come into the sit-up and allow your feet to catch their support so your back doesn’t strain. Curl back down just as slowly, feeling the tension as you lower yourself to your starting position. This will keep you working your abs and ensure you get a complete workout. Not keeping the back straight as you curl up and lifting your body from the middle are two common mistakes with sit-ups and why many fail to see results from them.
Kettle Ball for Ab Training
A kettle ball is simply a large, heavy ball that provides resistance to your training and which works muscles. To use a kettle ball for abdominal training, sit with a partner to your back and twist to hand the ball back and forth to one another. You can also do this alone by twisting to drop the kettle ball or simply twisting while holding the kettle ball. Speed is not what makes this abdominal exercise effective and may actually cause stress and injury; instead, work slowly and smoothly, feeling your muscles in the stomach support you as you twist back and forth. Keep your back straight so it does not get strained, and rest after several minutes.
Advanced Kicks and Crunches for Abdominal Training
To add even more effectiveness to your abdominal training, you can use kicks with your crunches. As you move into the crunch position, pull your knees up to your chest level and twist at the waist to touch the opposite elbow to each knee. Switch off each leg and each direction for twisting for the maximum amount of abdominal exercise. Be sure you keep your back straight as you do this and feel the crunch in your abs, not your back, so you see results. You can also pull both legs up at the same time so that your entire body is curling up to meet in the middle, giving you even more of a workout.
Planking as a Transverse Abdominal Exercise
The plank position is a very difficult pose to hold in yoga and can work your abdominals like nothing else. Get down on your knees and elbows, hands clasped. When you’re in this position, stretch your legs out behind you and get up on your toes, so your body’s weight is supported by your elbows and toes alone. Your stomach muscles will tense to hold you upright and balanced while in this position. Hold for a count of ten and then come back down on your knees; rest and repeat.
Reclining Toe Touch for a Challenging Abdominal Exercise
Another way to add challenge to your crunches and sit-ups is to use what is called a reclining toe touch. Instead of putting your hands behind your neck, reach them out in front of you and as you come into a crunch, pulls both legs up so you touch your toes. You will be forming a triangle in the air, your shoulders off the ground and your buttocks curled up. Keep your legs in the air as you return to your starting position and then repeat, crunching up and touching the toes again and again.
Side Leg Lifts as Abs Exercises
For another challenging abdominal exercise, lay on your side with your elbow and arm on the ground, legs together. Lift your body up so that your legs are off the ground, your weight begin supported by your arm and your feet only. In this position, lift your top leg up in the air as far as you can and then return. This is a challenging upper abdominal exercise as your abs will be supporting your weight throughout the entire motion.
Boxing as an Abdominal Exercise
Why is boxing such a good abdominal exercise? When you box, you need to duck and weave and constantly move around using your abs and your core. This helps to train them, make them firm, and to keep them in shape. You may notice you have more of a trimmed waistline when you box or do any type of exercise that involves moving at the waist and bending. Boxing is also a good aerobic activity, which is needed for abdominal muscle exercises.
Jumping Rope for Abdominal Muscle Exercises.
Jumping rope works as transverse abdominal exercises, for upper abdominal exercises, and for overall success in keeping your abs trim and firm. When you jump rope your stomach works to keep you upright and balanced, and this keeps it trim and firm. You also burn a tremendous number of calories when you jump rope and this helps to burn fat around the midsection so people can see those muscles you’ve been building.
Remember that all these abdominal exercises need to be used with a good diet and overall aerobic activity so that you have the best results. If you overeat and don’t get enough exercise, those stomach muscles will be covered with fat and no one will see your hard work. Have a high protein diet to feed your muscles and keep active, and you’ll see success.