Great abs are the centerpiece of a great body. Who of us wouldn’t like to have a flat stomach? Maybe even a six pack. Great abs don’t come easy, though. It takes a lot of work. The best ab workout exercises are the ones that have been around for ages, the ones that work. Any abdominal workout should include exercises that focus on the various parts that make up the core of the body. The ab exercises presented here are guaranteed to get you in your best shape for putting on that bathing suit once beach season is back. So now is the time to get started.
The best ab workout exercises target all three major areas of the abdomen: the upper and lower abdominals and the obliques, or the sides of the abdominal muscles. For the best effect of these abdominal muscles exercises, it’s important to mentally focus on tightening the abs all the way through each repetition. Breathing is essential as well in any cardio ab workout. Remember to breathe out during the lifting portions of the reps and inward while returning to the start position.
The basis of many ab workouts is the crunch. Crunch exercises have long since replaced the sit-up as the foundation in any six pack workout. No abdominal workout would be complete without employing variations on the crunch. With that said, here is an explanation of some of these variations.
The Basic Crunch (upper abs) – Lie down with your back on the floor, your knees at a 45-degree angle and your feet flat against the floor. Cross both arms over your chest. Tighten your abdominal muscles as you curl upwards with your chin towards the ceiling. Keep those abs tightened as you lower yourself back towards the floor.
Twisted Crunch (obliques) – Start this exercise in the same position as the standard crunch, except this time place your fingers loosely around the sides of your head. Curl forward lifting your right shoulder first and rotate your torso so that your chest rises towards your left knee. Hold that position momentarily before lowering your upper body back towards the ground. Repeat the same movements, alternating sides with each repetition.
Reverse Crunch (lower abs) – Lie face-up on the floor with your arms at the sides of your body. Raise your legs upward, curling and inward moving your pelvis towards your ribcage until your hips come off the floor. Hold momentarily, and then lower your legs to the starting position.
There are many other variations on the crunch, but these are some basic adaptations for the beginner. Weights can be added for added resistance and more effective results. Here are some other abdominal exercises that can be added to the crunch moves that will help you get your abdominal muscles into great shape:
Side Bends (obliques) – Stand erect, with your hands clasped together above your head. From the waist only, bend as far to the right as you can, then return to the starting position and repeat exercise to the left.
Hanging Leg Raise (lower abs)- Start by grabbing onto a chin-up bar. From this starting position, lift your legs until they’re parallel to the floor. Hold them there momentarily before lowering them once again. Do this in three sets of 8-12 reps. For added resistance, you can place a small medicine ball or similar object between your knees.
Twisted Hanging Leg Raise (obliques) – Begin at the same starting position as the previous exercise. For this variation, twist your hips towards one side as you raise your legs.
These abdominal exercises, if performed regularly, are certain to get your abs in shape. Winter is a great time to get started on any exercise program, so why not give these ab moves a try!