Why is it so important to find the best ab workouts? Well, aside from the fact that most people really want toned and fabulous looking abdominal muscles, a stronger core has amazing benefits for the rest of your body. People with a stronger core have better balance, improved flexibility and a stronger back.
This is because the abdominal region isn’t just the six pack so many lust after; the abdominal region also has muscles which extend around the waist and to the back, connecting you from front to back! This means that quite aside from appearances, the best ab workouts can really help your whole body improve its level of fitness. But what are the best Ab Workouts and how can you use them for yourself?
What Makes the Best Ab Workouts?
It is incredibly important to realize that the best ab workouts are not simply exercises which target your stomach fat. In fact, even if you get ab workouts that are the best in the world, you still won’t be getting rid of fat. Instead, what these ab workouts are intended to do is to strengthen all of your muscles in the abdominal region. This encompasses three major muscles groups:
- Rectus Abdominus: This muscle group is the muscle group with think of when we think of the six pack. It is a long muscle going from the ribs to the pelvic region. It is the muscle group in charge of spine flexibility.
- External Obliques: The external obliques are the muscle group which lies on either side of the Rectus Abdominus. You can feel them if you put your hands in your coat pockets! These muscles are also important for flexibility and improving your range of motion.
- Internal Obliques: The internal oblique muscles are deep muscles which lie at a right angle to the external obliques. They are often forgotten about in ab workouts, which is dangerous because these muscles are important for flexing and if they aren’t strong, they sabotage the external obliques.
The best ab workouts will take these three muscle groups into account and work them all out thoroughly in order to build up the muscles and create the core you’ve been dreaming of!
The Three Best Ab Workout Exercises
According to recent studies done by the Biomechanics Lab in San Diego State University, three ab workouts came out on top in terms of working out all three muscle groups and getting you strong abs in an efficient manner. The following are the three best ab workout exercises:
Coming out on top across the board (not just this study) is the bicycle crunch. This exercise is the best because it is dynamic enough to keep your interest, it works out all three muscle groups and it is free.
In order to do the bicycle crunch, start by lying with your lower back flat on the ground and your abs engaged and hands behind your head. Then raise your legs to a forty five degree angle and slowly but steadily begin doing a ‘pedaling’ motion, raising yourself to touch your elbows to alternate knees as you pedal. Make sure to keep your breathing steady throughout and take breaks regularly, particularly if you’re still new to the exercise.
If you have access to a gym to get ab workouts, then this is one of the best exercises you can get for yourself. The Captain’s Chair is a piece of exercise equipment that is shaped sort of like a lifesaver’s chair with padded arms and no real seat so that your legs have to dangle. You can use this piece of equipment in a few ways, but the standard way is to stand against the chair and grip the arms to stabilize yourself and then lift your bent legs and knees to your chest. Do this slowly and steadily so that you’re not using your own momentum to lift your legs and do it 1-3 times per rep with 12-16 reps. It’s tough, but this abs workout is a great way to work on all of your core muscles at the same time.
Stomach Crunch on a Medicine Ball
Finally, you have the stomach crunch on a medicine ball which is considered to be the third best ab exercise. This is a modified version of the old fashioned crunch but instead of lying the floor, you will be lying on a medicine ball. Start by sitting on the medicine ball with your feet flat on the floor and then slowly roll the medicine ball down to your thighs while you lie back until your thighs and torso is parallel with the floor. Then do your crunches by raising your torso up to a maximum forty five degree angle. You can modify this one still further by the simple virtue of putting your feet closer together.
Two out of three of these exercises can be done easily at home with minimal cost and space. The Captain’s chair may require you to hit the gym, though you can substitute this one with the ball roll out exercise which has you kneeling on the floor with a medicine ball under your elbows and then contracting your abs and then pushing out the ball as far as you can.
The best ab equipment is widely considered to be the medicine ball because it is affordable and versatile, though you should also deeply consider getting a good exercise mat and swinging by your local gym.
Assuming that you are completely serious about getting the best ab workout possible, you should add these exercises to your routine. Widely considered to be the top three exercises because of their impact on all of the muscle groups in the abdominal region and their affordability and easy access, no best ab workout is complete without them.