Almost everyone who trains regularly wants to have a rock-hard six-pack. But the reality is that hardly anyone does. The problem is rarely that they don’t train hard enough. More often it’s that they don’t train smart enough. Why don’t you try these abs exercises and get hard muscles?
What are abs exercises?
Abdominal exercises are a type of strength training that focuses on the abdominal muscles (colloquially known as the stomach muscles or “abs”). The rectus abdominis, internal oblique, external oblique, and transversus abdominis are the four muscles that make up the human abdominal. When performing abdominal exercises, it is critical to understand the effects, functions, and types of exercises, as well as consider how to do this exercise safely.
Benefits of abs exercises
It’s surprising how many people overlook their abdominal muscles when exercising. As a result, they miss out on the numerous advantages of abdominal workouts. If you’ve been putting off your ab workout, here are some of the key benefits of ab workouts…
Abdominal muscles are important for posture, spine support, balance, stability, and respiratory functions such as breathing.
1. More than building muscles
Building strength and endurance in these muscles is critical because it results in benefits such as better posture, reduced back pain, improved balance and stability, and possibly assistance with breathing.
2. Improved performance in sports
Many sports and strenuous activities necessitate core strength, stability, and balance. Abdominal workouts target these muscles, giving you core strength while you do the activity.
These workouts allow players to transfer more energy from their core to their limbs, increasing their performance and scores in comparison to players with weaker abdominal muscles.
3. Reduced lower back pain
Lower back pain affects a large number of people from all walks of life. Lower back pain is exacerbated by weak abdominal muscles. Non-exercised lower back muscles become rigid in the joint areas, which can lead to chronic lower back pain.
Abdominal exercises target these back muscles and the spine, making them more flexible and less rigid, resulting in less lower back pain.
These workouts also improve body posture while walking, standing, or sitting, lowering the occurrence of back pain caused by poor posture.
4. Improve posture and stability
Abdominal workouts, as previously stated, target the abdominal muscles, which are important for posture and balance. Stability is especially important for athletes and the elderly, who are prone to falls and slips.
Abs workouts strengthen the muscles around the spine and improve posture by distributing the body’s weight correctly. Having good posture is essential for increased confidence and spinal health.
Abdominal workouts also improve muscle harmony, which is important for balance, posture, and stability.
5. Improved ability to bear weight
Weight-bearing abdominal exercises provide strength. Individuals who engage in abdominal workouts are better able to lift heavier weights without causing spinal damage. This is due to the fact that ab workouts strengthen the torso and help to provide a stable foundation for lifting.
6. Firmer waistline
Abdominal workouts aid in the reduction of body fat, which is linked to a variety of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and obesity. By increasing abdominal muscle mass, the body’s metabolism increases and more fats are burned. This results in a trimmer, leaner physique.
Abdominal muscles, like all other muscles in the body, require strengthening. While these workouts help to achieve a fit and trim body, having inner muscular strength is a major goal to strive for when doing abdominal exercises.
The most underrated abs exercises you should do
Beginner Abs Exercises
Hold a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles while supporting yourself on your forearms and toes.
Hand slide crunch
- Lie down with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent.
- Place your hands on your thighs and slowly slide them up towards your knees as you sit up.
- Start in a straight arm press-up position with one knee up between your elbows and only the back foot on the floor.
- Jump the back foot off the floor and swap it with the front foot.
- Lie down and raise your legs so your thighs are vertical and your knees are bent at a 90° angle.
- Contract your abs to bring your knees to your chest and raise your hips off the floor, then slowly lower your legs back to the start.
Grounded Russian twist
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent and heels resting on the ground. Lean back so that your torso is at 45°.
- Keep your chest up to stop you from hunching your back. Interlock your fingers and extend your arms in front of you.
- Turn your torso to the left or right, bringing your hands to touch the ground on that side.
- Rotate back to center and then carry on to touch the opposite side.
- Lie on your back with your arms extended to the ceiling. Raise your legs and bend your knees until they’re at 90°.
- Lower your left arm towards the ground and simultaneously extend your right leg so both limbs end up parallel to the ground.
- Reverse the movements, then repeat with the other arm and leg.
- Focus on making your movements slow and controlled, spending three seconds lowering and three seconds raising.
- Work for 30 to 60 seconds, or three sets of five reps on each side.
Intermediate Abs Exercises
- Lie down flat on your back on the ground.
- Keeping your legs as straight as possible, raise them until they’re vertical or as close as you can get.
- Lower them and repeat.
- Get on all fours and place sliders or a towel under your feet.
- Brace your core and walk your hands forwards.
- Pulling your body along while twisting your hips as little as possible.
Using an abs roller or a barbell with weight plates on, kneel on a soft surface and grab the roller with your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart.
- On your hands and knees, with your hands below your shoulders and knees below your hips, raise and extend one arm and the opposite leg.
- Hold the position for a beat, then return slowly to the start.
- Alternate sides with each rep.
- You can add a crunch for an extra challenge, bringing your elbow and knee to meet under your torso before regrounding them.
Hanging knee raise
- Hang from a bar or gym rings with an overhand grip, palms facing forwards.
- Brace your abs and use them to raise your knees to your chest.
- Pause, then lower slowly.
- Stand holding a dumbbell in both hands.
- Squat down and move the dumbbell over to the outside of your left thigh.
- Stand up and raise the dumbbell with straight arms, twisting to take it across your torso to finish above your right shoulder.
- In the final position, you should have twisted your entire torso to face the dumbbell and be up on your toes, using your core to hold the position.
- Twist back to return the dumbbell to the starting position.
- Do all the required reps on one side and then swap.
Medicine ball crunch
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Hold a medicine ball – 6kg to 10kg should be fine – to your chest.
- Raise your torso off the floor and press the medicine ball above your head with straight arms.
- To encourage good form, bring your head forwards between your arms and keep your chest up as your torso reaches vertical.
- Slowly lower under control, keeping your arms extended so the medicine ball touches the floor behind your head.
- Keep the movement smooth and controlled.
- Adopt the plank position with both forearms on the floor and your body forming a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
- Now push up to the raised plank position one hand at a time.
- Once you’re up, return to the standard plank position, again one hand at a time.
- Repeat, changing the hand you lead with each time.
- The aim is to keep your hips as still as possible – if they start to move, increase the distance between your feet to make it easier.
- Aim for 30- to 60-second work periods.
- Lie on your back and raise your legs so that they’re roughly 15cm above the ground.
- Keeping your legs straight throughout, move your legs up and down in a kicking motion, with the movement coming from your hips.
- Go at a comfortable pace and allow you to keep your legs off the ground for the duration and make smooth and controlled movements.
- Work for between 30 and 60 seconds at a time.
Advanced Abs Exercises
- Set up a cable machine with a D-handle at about chest height.
- Stand side-on to the cable machine and hold the handle with both hands, fingers interlocked.
- The start position is holding the handle by the center of your rib cage.
- Bend your knees slightly and extend the cable out until your arms are straight.
- Pause for a count of two – the objective here is not to let the weight on the machine pull you around, so you resist the rotation using your core.
- Bring the handle back to your chest and repeat for ten reps.
Hollow body rock
- Start lying on your back – the goal is to flatten your back or push it into the floor.
- Maintain this position throughout the whole movement.
- Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor.
- Begin by lifting your shoulders off the floor, and at the same time lift your knees and feet off the floor to a 90° angle.
- While maintaining this position with your back pressed into the ground, start to rock back and forth.
- Start with 20 seconds to begin with.
- To make the exercise more challenging, you can extend the time and try increasing the lever length by straightening your legs and extending your arms overhead.
Hanging leg raise with split
- Start by hanging off a bar or putting your elbows in abs stirrups.
- Keeping your legs locked straight, slowly raise your feet until they are at hip height.
- Pause for a second, then split your legs as wide as possible.
- Hold this position for a second, then close your legs and slowly lower them to the starting position.
- Start with ten reps and work towards 20.
Dual weighted crunch
- Start in a tensed bowl position with your heels and shoulders off the floor.
- Balance a 5kg plate on your shins and hold a 5kg plate in your hands, arms extended overhead.
- Pull your knees into your chest while sitting up until the two plates are aligned one over the other, then slowly return to the tensed bowl position with your arms extended overhead.
- You have to move slowly so as not to drop the balanced plate, which adds to the intensity of the exercise. Start at ten reps and work towards 20. Once you hit 20, increase the weight. This is a very tough exercise but it’s really gratifying when you can hit 20 at a time, plus it’s easy to scale to make it harder.
- Start sitting on the floor with your legs together and extended.
- Place your palms on the ground with your fingers pointing forwards.
- Brace your abs, glutes and legs and press through your palms to lift your body off the ground – you’re now the most uncomfortable L on the planet.
- Getting off the floor is an achievement in itself, but work towards holding the position for ten seconds.
- Lie on your back, extend your legs and hold them just above the ground.
- Place your fingers lightly on your temples.
- Bring one knee up towards your chest and twist your torso so that the opposite elbow comes over towards it. Your elbow and knee needn’t touch, but thinking of that connection between the two body parts is a good way to guide the movement of your torso.
- Lower both your torso and leg at the same time, then repeat on the opposite side.
- Keep the movement continuous and smooth for 30 to 60 seconds at a time.
To sum up, strong abdominal muscles not only help protect your lower back but also make your crunches or planks more excited, meaning fewer aches. Switching up your abs exercises helps you be sure to hit every muscle group from different angles. Keep going on!