5 ALL TIME BEST AB EXERCISES
For many people ab training just means lying on the floor and doing crunches. They think that if they just do 1000 crunches a day they will have 6 pack abs in 8 weeks.
Who can blame them since they are constantly shown commercials for workouts promising just that?
Unfortunately we all know that is not true. To really build a six pack you have to mix up your exercises and hit the abs from different angles.
Top 5 Ab Exercises
Standing Cable Pulldown
Standing Cable Pulldown – One thing people seem to forget is that the abs are muscles. They respond to weighted training as well. The standing cable pulldown is an excellent way to add some weight into your ab training. It also works your abs while standing which is important if you are an athlete.
Ab wheel – Before there were planks there was the ab wheel. This is one of best toys you can buy for the gym. It hits the abs just as hard as planks, and allows you to do all kinds of variations. Even better news is that they are relatively inexpensive and can fit in your gym bag.
Bicycle Crunches – Often times when it comes to ab training we only work in one plane. However the abs are built to perform in numerous planes. Adding some twisting to your ab exercises is a great way to stimulate new muscles like the oblique and serratus.
Reverse Crunches – We spend so much time focusing on the upper abs that we often forget about the lower abs. This imbalance can cause a number of problems. Besides building a midsection that is not symmetrical you are setting yourself up for an injury. While ab muscles are very resistant to injury, if you happen to pull one you will remember it forever. Leg Raises – This is one of the best lower ab exercises there is. You can do this is a variety of ways.
You can use a chin-up bar or a roman chair; you can do them with straight or bent legs a well. Whichever combination that you choose to use just be consistent in doing them. They really will help round out your ab development.
This is just a short list of ab exercises to help add some variety to your training. If you need any help with how to perform the exercise or technique, just perform a search on google and you will find a whole array of descriptions, demonstrations and variations.
Don’t get stuck in the rut of thinking that crunches are the only thing you can do. You have to mix it up in order to keep your body growing. Don’t let your progress stagnate or allow yourself to get bored. If you stick with it you will eventually reach your six pack goals.
CARDIO TRAINING FOR SIX PACK ABS
For some reason when people want six pack abs the first thing they think is that they just need to do a little more cardio and they will get there. Obviously diet and other training aspects factor into the equation. Cardio does have its place in your six pack ab training; you just have to be careful not to overdo it.
Some people can become obsessed with getting their six pack, which isn’t necessarily bad. However, when that obsession leads to them doing hours and hours of cardio a week it can be a problem.
When you put yourself in too great of a caloric deficit your body will have no choice but to burn muscle. While you will be losing weight, that weight will be muscle and you continue to get softer and softer.
When it comes to cardio for your six pack less is often better. If your diet and training are on point then you don’t need to go crazy with your cardio. In fact if your cardio is intense enough you could get away with doing only an hour a week or so.
HIIT Cardio for Six Pack Abs
If you have never heard of HIIT it stands for high intensity interval training. It consists of doing a short duration of really intense exercise followed by a longer duration of lower intensity exercise.
For the sake of cardio it might involve sprinting for 20-30 seconds and then walking for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Or sprinting on a bike or rowing machine or whatever form of cardio that you can out all out effort into and then have a rest period.
HIIT cardio is the best bet cardio for fat loss. With HIIT you hit your muscles hard with short, intense workouts that burn the maximal amount of fat. Not only that, but you continue to burn fat after your workout, and at a much higher rate than traditional slow steady cardio.
A couple of HIIT sessions a week is all you need. It is much more effective and efficient than spending 45 minutes a day on a treadmill.
A SAMPLE ABS WORKOUT
So you are ready to start your journey towards six pack abs. The problem is you have no idea what you should do. Here is a sample routine that is a good place to start. Remember it is important when you are just starting out to learn proper exercise technique.
Any bad habits you learn in the beginning will tend to stick with you, so remember if you need help just google the exercise and lots of options will become available to you.
Beginner’s Ab Workout
Cable Ab Pulldown 3 X 15 (add weight)
Straight Leg Raises 3 X 15
Hyperextension Side Bends 3X 10-15 (add weight)
Ab Wheel 2 X 20
Cable Ab Pulldown – This is one of the best ab exercises because it allows you to use weight, and to train the abs while standing.
Lying on the ground and training you abs is very unnatural, you need to learn to contract your abs while standing. For this exercise you need a cable machine with a high pulley and a triceps rope.
Take a normal athletic stance face away from the machine. Take the handles and pull them down around the back of your neck so you can hold them against your chest. From there you perform a standing crunch until your upper body is perpendicular to the floor; then return to an upright position.
Straight Leg Raises – Grab a high bar and just hang until all the momentum goes away.
From there you flex your entire body, especially your lats and abs. With your legs straight begin to lift them. Your goal is to get your feet to the bar, but you may need to work up to that. At the very least you should bring your legs to parallel to the floor. Lower your legs and repeat.
Hyperextension Side Bends – On a 45 degree hyperextension bench, begin by standing sideways. Make sure the pad is properly placed against your hip, and lower yourself down towards the floor.
When your upper body is parallel to the floor flex your obliques hard as you return to your starting position. This is an exercise that you can add weight to by using a dumbbell in the hand closest to the floor, a weight plate against your chest, or a weight plate behind your head.
Ab Wheel – This basic exercise is often overlooked, but it is very effective. It is basically an ab plank with movement added.
Simply kneel on the floor, and grip the handles of the wheel in front of you. Slowly roll out as far as you can, and then contract your abs as you return to the starting position.
Once you have gotten the hang of it you can roll out to either side instead of just a straight line for added variety.
Chances are if you are consistent you will quickly out grow this workout. However, when you are just starting out it is always a good idea to keep it simple.
Obviously there are many more advanced techniques that you will learn as your progress, but this routine is a good place for you to start.