What are the most effective ab exercises? There are many ways to work out your abs and they are all different because each exercise targets a particular part of your abdominal muscles. When you want to strengthen and shape up your core, if you want the end result to be a great, well-shaped abdomen, you should focus on all abdominal muscles groups.
The following exercises are a definite must. You can do them at home or in the gym. As your muscles get stronger you can do them with weights to force the muscle bulk up faster. All exercises below are suited for both men and women.
Upper abs exercises
Lie on the mat with your hands behind your head, elbows to the sides. Bend your knees to the chest and then bring your right knee and your left elbow together while extending the left leg so that it is at a 45 degree angle above the floor. Repeat, bringing the opposite knee and elbow together and extending the right leg.
2. Capitan’s Chair
Sit up straight on the edge of a sturdy chair with feet flat on floor. Grasp the seat on either side of your hips and exhale as you slowly bring your knees to your chest without arching the lower back. Hold the top position, and then lower your legs as you inhale. Repeat 8 to 10 times.
Lower abs exercises
3. Reverse crunch (probably the best lower ab exercise)
Lie on your back on a yoga mat with your knees up in the air bent to a 90 degree angle. Beginners should put their hands under their buttocks, while the advanced should put their hands behind their necks without crossing the fingers. Lift your buttocks and hips to the ceiling holding the top position for a few seconds then lower it slowly, focusing on feeling the muscles work.
4. Double leg circles
Lie on your back with your hands under your buttocks. Contracting your lower abs lift both legs a few inches and rotate them together in small circles. Make 6 circles in a clockwise direction, lower your legs and relax for a few seconds, then raise them again and rotate 6 times in anticlockwise direction. Repeat 3 to 4 times. As you get stronger you can increase the number of circles.
Lie on your back, hands to the side. Raise your legs until they are perpendicular to your torso. Lift your hips off the mat using your abs, without pressing downward on your hands, use your hands only for balance. Then slowly lower your hips back to the floor.
There are many variations to these exercises and you need this variation to keep your muscles on edge. Change the angle of the movement, the speed, the intensity.
Oblique abs exercises
6. Dumbbell side dips
Stand up straight holding a dumbbell in one hand. Bend your body while lowering the weight going as far as you can. Then bend the opposite way, lifting the dumbbell as high as you can. Repeat 8 to 10 times and then switch sides.
7. Oblique crunches
Lie on your back and cross the right foot over the left knee with your hands behind your head. Without lifting your back off the mat, lift your shoulder blades and curl your upper body diagonally towards the right knee. Contract your abs at the top of the movement and hold the top position for a few seconds. Come back down in a controlled manner. Repeat 10 to 12 times before switching sides.
8. Alternating side crunches
Lie on your back with feet down and legs bent. Do a normal crunch, then do one rotating the elbow towards the opposite knee. Then rotate to the other side. Do 12 reps for each side.
9. Scissor Kick
Lie on the floor with your back tight to the ground. Place your hands under your buttocks to raise you slightly but keep your back pressed down. Slowly raise one leg about 10 inches and then slowly lower it back. As you lower it slowly raise the other leg the same way. Repeat 12 to 14 times.
10. Pelvic tilt
Lie on your back on a mat and bend your knees until your feet are flat on the floor. Slowly, with a controlled movement raise your hips off the floor. Hold that position for a few seconds at the top of the movement then lower it slowly with a controlled motion. Repeat 12 times.
So there you have them, the best ab exercises for men and women out there. Your training routine should focus on two sets of abdominal muscles at a time and in time, say every two months or so, you should vary your exercises in order to keep your abs on edge.
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