Top Ten Most Effective Ab Exercises
Bicycle Exercise - 1. Lie face up on the floor and lace your fingers behind your head. 2. Bring the knees in towards the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the ground without pulling on the neck. 3. Straighten the left leg out while simultaneously turning the upper body to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee. 4. Switch sides, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee. 5. Continue alternating sides in a 'pedaling' motion for 15-25 reps.
Captain's Chair Leg Raise - The captain's chair leg raise is the second most effective move for the rectus abdominis as well as the obliques. You can do a variety of exercises on the captain's chair, which is a rack with padded arms that allows your legs to hang free and can be found in most health clubs and gyms. The key to keeping this move safe and effective is, first, to avoid swinging the legs or using momentum to bring the legs up. Second, keeping the knees bent will help you focus more on the abdominals and less on the hip flexors. To do it right: 1. Stand on chair and grip handholds to stabilize your upper body. 2. Press your back against the pad and contract the abs to raise the legs and lift knees towards your chest. 3. Don't arch the back or swing the legs up. 4. Slowly lower back down and repeat 15- 25 reps.
Exercise Ball Crunch - The exercise ball crunch is an excellent exercise for targeting the rectus abdominis. To do the exercise crunch correctly: 1. Lie face-up with the exercise ball resting under your mid/lower back. 2. Cross your arms over the chest. 3.Lift your torso off the ball. 4. Pull the bottom of your ribcage down toward your hips as you curl up. Note: keep the ball stable (i.e., you shouldn't roll). 5. Slowly in a controlled fashion lower your body back down, getting a stretch in the abs. Repeat for 15-25 reps.
Vertical Leg Crunch - The vertical leg crunch is another effective ab exercise that targets the rectus abdominis. The vertical leg crunch also works the obliques (side of the abs). To perform the vertical crunch correctly: 1. Lie face up on the floor and extend the legs straight up with knees crossed. 2. Contract the abs and lift the shoulder blades off the floor, as though reaching your chest towards your feet. 3. Keep the legs in a fixed position and imagine bringing your belly button towards your spine at the top of the movement. 4. Lower and repeat for 15-25 reps.
Torso Track - The Torso Track is a advanced ab exercise and should be done with extreme care otherwise an injury can occur. To perform the torso track correctly: 1. Grip the handles of the Torso Track and pull the abs in without holding your breath (as though bracing them). 2. Exhale and glide forward as far as you comfortably can while still feeling stable. Caution: If you collapse in the middle and feel it in your back, you've gone too far. 3. While contracting the abs pull your body back to the starting position. Repeat as many as you can and perform to failure.
Long Arm Crunch - The long arm crunch is an ab exercise that emphasizes the upper part of the abs. To perform the long arm crunch correctly: 1. Lie on the floor, bench or mat. 2. Extend the arms straight out behind the head with hands clasped, keeping the arms next to the ears. 3. While keeping the arms straight contract the abs and lift the shoulder blades off the floor. Note: If you feel neck pain, take one hand behind the head while keeping the other arm extended. 4. Lower and repeat for 15-25 reps.
Reverse Crunch - The reverse crunch is a great exercise that works the entire abdominal area. To perform the reverse crunch correctly: 1. Lie on the floor and place hands on the floor or behind the head. 2. With the feet together or crossed, Bring the knees in towards the chest until they're bent to 90 degrees. 3. Contract the abs to curl the hips off the floor, reaching the legs up towards the ceiling. 4. Lower and repeat for 15-25 reps. Important Note: the reverse crunch movement is a very small movement, so try to use your abs to lift your hips rather than swinging your legs and creating momentum.
Full Vertical Crunch - To perform the vertical crunch correctly: 1. Lie on your back and extend the legs up towards the ceiling. 2. Place hands behind your head (lightly cupping it, do NOT Grab behind the head). 3. Contract the abs and lift the shoulder blades off the floor, while simultaneously pressing your heels towards the ceiling. The goal is to create a 'u' shape with the torso. 4. Lower back to the starting position slowly while keeping a tight core. Repeat for 15-25 reps.
Ab Rocker - Although I am not a huge fan of ab machines, the ACE Study found the Ab Rocker to be #9 on the Top 10 Ab exercises. To perform the ab rocker ab exercise correctly: 1. Sit on the Ab Rocker and grab the bars in each hand. 2. Contract the abs and rock forward, originating the movement from the abs rather than using momentum. 3. Release and repeat for 1-3 sets of 15-25 reps. Note: the key to this exercise is to perform the ab movement slowly to reduce momentum and increase the tension on the abs. Another important tip is to focus on the abs and not use the arms.
Plank on Elbows and Toes - The plank exercise although ranked number 10 in the ACE study is a extremely effective exercise for building a strong core. The Plank on Elbow and Toes ab exercise is a great exercise that helps build a strong core, since besides working the abs the Plank on Elbows and Toes also works the back and several core stabilizer muscles. To perform the plank on Elbows and Toes correctly: 1. Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor. 2. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows. 3. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. 4. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air. 5. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat to failure.
Right, I promised a more weight related circuit for everyone at the end of last week. So here it is.
Monday & Thursday
A1) Squats 3x10
A2) Military Press 3x10
A3) Deadlifts 3x10
A4) Rows 3x10
*No Rest between exercises and 2 minutes rest between circuits.
**Complete in order and then repeat two times.
Tuesday & Saturday
A1) Power cleans 3x10
A2) Bench Press 3x10
A3) Lunges 3x10
A4) Chins 3x10
This is just an example of a beginner's program that can be successful. Training this way is usually a complete system. By that I mean you would use circuit training for your whole week. The other methods I mention you might use for 1 day of a week as an extra workout etc. For more advanced training check out the programs mentioned above.
I hope everyone had a good weekend and managed to do my circuit at least once. Regardless here is the next one, I have gone for an outdoor themed one as it is nice and warm outside at the moment.
Jog for five minutes on flat ground followed by bodyweight lunges and squats.
Run hard for five minutes, then find a bench and do 15 to 20 reps each of the following exercises in order. Rest for one minute and complete three more circuits. Form guides for the exercises in this workout are on the right.
2 Tree pull up
3 Incline press-up
4 Sit up
5 Bent-knee bench triceps dip
6 Bench step-up
7 High knee skip on the spot
8 Jumping Jacks
I will be adding some slightly more hefty weight training exercises later in the week for those who are interested.
I recommend that everyone looks to start off slowly as a great deal of injuries occur after a number of weeks of no exercise. Here is an easy circuit you can do just to get you warmed up. I will provide a different one every couple of days to keep you going.
Place an exercise ball behind the back and against the wall with feet hip-width apart, abs in and torso straight. Bend your knees and lower down until knees are at 90 degrees (don't go down as low if you have knee problems). Repeat for 30-60 seconds and hold weights for added intensity.
Jumping Rope (with or without a rope)
30 seconds to 1 minute Jump with both feet together, jumping only an an inch or so off the floor.
Stand in split stance, right foot in front. Bend the knees and lower body into lunge position, keeping the right knee behind the toe, torso upright and abs in. 30 seconds, then switch legs for 30 seconds and hold weights for added intensity.
Jog or Walk
Up to 5 minutes
Either outside or inside, walk or jog for 1-2 minutes at a brisk pace. Increase speed and work as hard as you can for 2 minutes. Recover for 1 minute.
Push Ups - On Knees or Toes
30 seconds to 1 minute
Squats with Front Kick
Stand with feet together. Bring the right knee up and extend the leg in a front kick (don't lock the knee!). Lower down into a low squat (knees behind toes) and then kick with the left leg. Repeat (right kick, squat, left kick) for 1-3 minutes.
Not a bad idea Hannah. Here is a Christmas plan to ensure those Christmas pounds stay off and we dont all end up like Santa!
1. Walk/jog for 30 minutes at least 3 times per week to boost your metabolism in order to burn that fat.
2. Limit your sugar intake. Sugar adds empty calories and promotes weight gain. Learn how to minimize sugar in your diet.
3. Purchase a Pilates DVD and do the exercises at least 2-3 times per week. Pilates works on toning your entire body with concentration on your powerhouse (middle section) and will improve your flexibility.
4. Add fiber to your diet and cut down your intake of the bad carbs. Foods such as white bread, pastas, potatoes, and white rice should be limited. Eat brown rice and whole wheat bread instead. To get that needed fiber increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables (especially the leafy green ones).
5. Drink skim milk instead of whole milk. Keep your dairy intake at a minimum because these products often cause bloating and gas.
6. Perform proper crunches at least 3 times a week to train your abs. Avoid sit-ups because they really do very little to firm your stomach. Sit-ups work your hip flexors more than anything else.
7. Drink plenty of water. You should be drinking 6 to
8 glasses per day. Not only will it help fill you up so you eat less, but it aids in digestion.
8. Stop eating within 3 hours of bedtime. If you have to munch on something, eat a small portion of vegetables or fruit. Not eating late can make a huge difference.
9. Eat smaller meals more often instead of 2-3 big meals per day to keep from having that bloated look and feeling. Eating more meals actually kicks up your metabolism.
10. Take a break from healthy eating once in a while and treat yourself to your favorite dessert. If you completely deprive yourself of the foods you love you'll run the risk of going back to your bad eating habits. Moderation is the key.
Ok people lets have a look at a sprint training plan which I am all sure you will be able to comment on!
Mon. - 5x20, 4x30, 3x40
3x30, 3x40, 2x50, 1x60
5x30 (2 sets)
Tues. - 6 x 250 (35 - 28 @ 200) 2 min rest
300 - 200 - 100 (39 - 26 - 13) 100 walk rest (2-3 sets) 400 walk rest
3 x 500 (500 walk rest)
500 - 400 - 300 - 200 (walk what you ran for rest)
Thurs. - 4 x 100 (25 sec rest) 2 sets (full recovery between)
Run 100 (walk back 50) Run 100 (cover full lap)
200 (30 sec rest) 200
2 x 352 (full effort) full recovery
Here is a great exercise to try out this weekend.
From a pushup position, move your feet forward and raise your hips so your body forms an inverted V. Lower the front of your body with your arms until your chin nears the floor, and then swoop your head and shoulders upward while lowering your hips until they almost touch the floor. Reverse the move, and repeat for 30 seconds.