When it comes to getting a solid six pack, doing the right ab exercises is crucial. You can spend hours doing needless sit-ups that aren’t really going to have all that much benefit, much to your disappointment. Taking the time to choose smart ab exercises will save you not only gym time, but a great deal of frustration as well. In this article we will discuss the best lower ab exercises and the best home ab exercises as well.
The best movements for the abdominal muscles are going to be ones that reduce your overall stability. The reason for this is because this will require all your muscle tissues, even the ones deep within the core, to contract in order to maintain balance. When you perform regular sit-ups, for example, they are really only going to target the more superficial muscles; one that will still help, but not get you near the results you could be seeing.
So what ab exercises are ones that reduce your balance?
Basically, anything done on an unstable surface is going to get the job done. This would include movements such as walking across a balance beam, performing one leg squats, one arm shoulder presses, or bent over dumbbell rows standing on one leg and of course, utilizing an exercise ball for any laying abdominal movement you perform. Working on a BOSU ball and stability ball ab exercises are also excellent options. As long as you have a set of free weights and stability ball then these would qualify as your best home ab exercises as well.
By far the most effective lower ab exercises are hanging leg raises while you use your lower abs to rotate your pelvis which is the secret to performing this effectively. Lying leg raises, lying leg raises on a 45 degree incline and cable crunches are also rock hard ab exercises.
Another area you might want to venture into with your ab exercises are those that utilize heavy weights.
While this will not necessarily get you ‘cut’ so that all your individual muscles are showing – that takes having low levels of body fat, what weighted movements will do is help further build the muscle tissue and make your abs “pop”.
The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolic rate will then be, so in an indirect way, that could in fact help you burn off excess body fat.
Furthermore, doing weighted movements will also increase your strength greatly, reducing the risk of injuries from any other type of exercise you may attempt. Weighted ball crunches with a stability ball on your chest is my favorite home ab exercises.
When choosing when to perform your ab exercises, if you are looking for performance, do them on a separate day from all your other work. Just like any muscle group, you want to be fresh when you do them.
If, on the other hand, you are more just doing them to help build some strength, but more to round out your exercise program, then you should be doing them at the end of your workout session. This will prevent them from fatiguing early, because they are going to be predominately used in all the other lifts you perform (heavy squats for example).
In many cases this rule can be bent though. For example, if a client comes to me and their abs are the weakest muscle group then performing them at the end of the workout makes no sense because they will be pre fatigued from the workout and you will not be able to train them as intensely so prioritizing your abs at the start of the workout can become the exception in this case.
So, next time you are creating your workout and are picking out ab exercises, keep these points in mind. Having good dedication to performing these exercises on a regular basis and then following a clean diet based around raw vegetables and proteins are the two main components to developing that six-pack you’re hoping for.
By Vince DelMonte author of No Nonsense Muscle Building