Abdominal muscles are very important as they act as the supporting muscle groups in many of the exercises we have talked previously. In this article we will talk about eight ab exercises you can include in your workout.
Exercise 1 Sit-ups
These have traditionally being the main exercise for the abs but has recently been quite controversial. The argument against this exercise is that it is non-functional that is mother Nature did not intend to use our body this way. Moreover, since the movement involves arching of out back some experts suggest that this may lead to back injury. No matter the criticism, sit ups have been traditionally the staple exercise for toning the abs and have been used quite often by armed forces as part of their physical readiness test. Here is how you perform this exercise
Lay down on the floor on your back, with your legs folded vertically. Now elevate your torso in a controlled manner, with out a jerk, until your head comes up close to your knees, while breathing out. Once you are at the top lower back down to the starting position in a controlled manner. Anchoring your feet can decrease the intensity of the exercise. To increase the intensity you can perform this exercise at an incline.
Exercise 2 Crunches
Crunches are like paused sit ups. The movement starts just like a sit up, however as soon as your mid-back is about to leave the floor, you return back. The reasoning is that in a sit up the abs engagement only happens in the initial movement afterwards it is mainly hip flexors, so to better utilize your time just perform crunches.
Exercise 3 Lying Leg raises
While sit up and crunches mainly target your upper abs, leg raises focuse on your lower abs. Lay on the floor with your back in contact, keep your feet together and legs straight. Now with out bending your knees lift your legs up. The key is to start slow and controlled. Do not let your back lift off the floor as your legs go up. After your legs are, at a 90 degree angle from your body, lower your legs down the same way they came up and repeat.
Exercise 4 Hanging Leg Raises
This variation of Leg raises, involves lifting your legs up while hanging from a bar. You can perform three different levels of this exercise.
You can start with lifting your knees up and touch your sternum, this is the easiest version of this exercise.
A level up is lifting your legs straight to an L position.
The most difficult is to lift the legs all the way up to touch the bar with your toes. Try not to use momentum to perform this exercise.
Exercise 5 Plank
This is a great exercise for anyone and everyone. The plank is the safest exercise because you are required to hold a natural posture and not move or flex at the spine. Support your bodyweight on the floor on your toes and forearms. Hold a straight posture with the hips in-line with the shoulders and knees. Hold this plank position for as long as you can.
Exercise 6 Plank extensions
Once you can hold the plank for a minute you can take it to the next level. Support the plank from extended arms rather than your forearms. Elbows should be locked and the body should be in a straight line. Extend one arm out in front and pause. Alternate arms slowly, without shifting your weight over your hips. Next, try the same with the legs. Lift each foot off the ground about 6 inches and pause, alternating feet. Tor further increase the intensity of this exercise lift opposite hand and feet and try to hold it for as long as you can. Holding for 10 seconds is quite impressive.
Exercise 7 V-ups
This is a great abs exercise, which targets both your upper and lower ab muscles! Lying flat on the floor, keep your feet together and knees straight. Reach overhead with your arms to start, keeping the body in a straight line. The action is to bring the toes and fingers together in one swift motion, meeting in the middle. This can be particularly challenging for those will weak lower abs. Make sure to lower back down to the floor in a controlled manner and at a slower speed.
Exercise 8 Ab Rollout
With the small circular plates placed on the bar, kneel down and grab the bar at about shoulder width. Your elbows should be locked. This will be your starting position.. Take a breath in and tighten your core. Now roll forward as far as you can, while keeping your elbows locked through out the entire movement. Once you cannot roll any more forward, pull yourself back to the starting position.
This concludes our article on abs exercise.