Top 5 Exercises to Work Your Abs

 

The best way to workout the abdominal muscles is to first have a good understanding of what they are and how they function. Your ab muscles aren’t just the “six pack” muscles that we all want, they include multiple layers of muscle groups beneath the “six-pack” muscles and along the lower back. Ab and core muscles are responsible for keeping you upright but they also perform flexion, extension, and rotation, which are all movements that you should do to best workout your abs. Here are the top 5 exercises to work your abs.

1. Compound Movements
Compound movements are exercises that involve multiple muscle groups while performing the exercise. These exercises require you to effectively engage your abs and core to perform them correctly. Compound exercises include the deadlift, squats, a standing barbell press, a bent over barbell row, the bench press, pull-ups, and push-ups. Properly performing anyone of these exercises engages the abs and core, strengthens the midsection, and provides functional strength to the abs and other areas.

2. Captain’s Chair
The captain’s chair is a classic ab exercise that primarily targets the lower abs and the obliques as well when incorporating a rotational element. The two arms of the captain’s chair support your body weight while you simply raise your knees/legs thus engaging the lower abs. If you rotate your torso while raising your knees it targets your obliques as well.

3. Ball Crunches
Ball crunches are essentially floor crunches that you perform while laying on a physioball. The benefit of doing crunches on a physioball is that it eliminates potential lower back injuries or spinal injuries. This exercise can target both the lower abs and upper abs depending on where you lay on the ball. Hugging a plate-weight around your chest can increase the challenge of this exercise and further engage your abs.

4. Hyper-Extensions
Hyper-extensions require a hyper-extension machine and are great for eccentrically targeting the abs and obliques as well as concentrically targeting the lower back, glutes, and hamstring muscles. Having a strong lower back is just as important to developing the abs and assists in many other abdominal exercises.

5. Ab-Wheel
The ab-wheel is a great tool for working out the abs eccentrically and rotationally as well as concentrically. Many people just think of doing crunching movements for ab-work but forget to work the abs while they are in an elongated position. The ab-wheel is great for hitting the abs from multiple angles and activates the obliques as well.

Working out your abs is important for several reasons and it’s even more important to train them from multiple angles for best results. These five abdominal exercises are sure to target your abs in every possible way and leave you sore yet satisfied. Be sure to challenge yourself by increasing the repetitions or adding weight if possible.

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