The Best Ab Exercises
Practices such as Yoga and Pilates are known for strengthening the core, relieving back pains, giving you balance and body awareness. All these things are very important for a person’s well-being, as they sustain the whole body. However, if you don’t want to start practicing neither of those two, you can still combine various exercises in order to have flat abs and a strong core. That way, you’ll be able to wear any kind of blouse you like, but have a good back and protected spine as well. The following ab exercises will show you how.
Please mind that these ab exercises are no replacement for an entire workout routine, so if you want to lose weight you have to combine these with other exercises as well, which target other muscles. Get into some comfortable clothes and do a bit of warm-up before and you’re ready to start working those abs:
- The Bicycle – Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, holding it gently with your fingers; bring your knees towards your chest and lift your shoulders off the floor. Twist your torso to the left and bring your right elbow to touch your left knee while you’re stretching the right leg out. Turn to the other side and repeat the movement with your left elbow and right knee. This counts as one repetition, and you should perform 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions each. You can alternate between sets with sets of other ab exercises.
- Captain’s Chair Leg Raises – Unfortunately this exercise is only available at gyms, or if you own an apparatus like the Captain’s Chair. But with this device you can perform various exercises that work your abdominals and obliques. Hold on to the handles of the chair so your whole body weight is supported by them. Now you can raise one leg at a time, both at the same time, or both but twisting to the left and to the right when your knees are as high as you can raise them. This last exercise also targets the obliques, giving you a supple waist. Perform 1-2 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
- Ball crunches – The fitness or Yoga ball is also very useful, and you can safely invest in one for your home as well; they are not very expensive and can help you perform a number of other exercises as well, not just for the abs. This time, you’re supposed to lie with your back on the ball and your feet on the ground with knees slightly bent; position yourself so your back is fully supported and you’re in a comfortable and balanced position. Bring your hands behind your head and contract your ab muscles so your torso gets off the ball. Perform 1-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
- Vertical leg crunches – Lie on your back on the mat; support your head with your hands crossed behind your back and lift your legs up, keeping them as straight as possible. In order to gain some balance, place one ankle over the other and contract your ab muscles to lift your shoulders off the floor. This is the exercise and it is very difficult, and you should perform 1-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
- Long arm crunches – You’re on your back on the mat for this one as well; stretch your arms above your head and interlock them, keeping the arms as close to your head as possible. Now you have to tighten your ab muscles and lift your torso off the floor while your feet remain planted on the ground. Avoid doing this exercise if you have back problems or neck pains, or put one hand behind your head as one is still stretched up. The same number of sets and repetitions is required.
These are just five of the best ab exercises you will find out there; those who are more advanced can raise the number of sets and repetitions on each exercise and the same goes for the rest of you after your body gets too used to the exercises.