There are good abdominal exercises and bad ones, okay ones and great ones. It can get confusing! Why are there so many exercises for abs outs there?
Part of the reason is because over the last 20 years people have realized how important the core of the body is. There has been greater attention but into researching and looking at the best ways to exercise not only the abs but also the rest of the muscles that make up the core or trunk of the body.
So is it even possible to pick the best 3 exercises for abs? Of course it is!
Top 3 Exercises for Abs
For this article we are only focusing on the abdominals. We are going to skip some of the other core aspects like the hips and lower back. But along with working the rectus abdominus we are also looking for exercises that include the external and internal obliques if possible.
The Bicycle Crunch – This has been a staple in many experts’ routine for years because it hits so many things at once. If you only had the ability to do one exercise for your abs over the rest of your life this is the one to do.
You start by lying flat on your back on the ground. Place the tips of your fingers against the side of your head to support the neck and lift your knees off the ground to a 45-degree angle. Start a bicycle motion with your feet at a slow pace. One knee should get as close to your chest as possible while the other leg straightens out completely at a 45-degreee angle to the ground. Then lift your shoulders slightly off the ground and rotate your torso so the opposite elbow touches the knee as it comes towards your chest.
The Captain’s Chair Crunch – The captain’s chair is that very common piece of gym equipment where there is a pad behind your back and you rest your forearms on pads to support your weight while your legs dangle straight down. In this case the position is everything because you are forced to engage more of the abdominal wall due to gravity.
Do this exercise with bent knees. Straight legs are a little bit harder but your usually do not contract the abdominals as hard. Start in a straight position. Flex your abdominals to bring your knees up to your chest and then slowly go back down. To add more difficultly do one repetition straight and then twist your hips to the right for the next repetition, and twist to the left after that.
Swiss Ball Crunch – A crunch on an exercise or Swiss ball engages the abdominals in another unique way because of the instability of the ball itself. You start by sitting on a ball with your feet on the ground and knees at close to a 90-degree angle. Slowly lie back until you are parallel to the ground. Support your head with your hands and contract the abs to crunch up to a 45-degree angle with your upper body.
These exercises for abs all share similarities; they work the abs from top to bottom. They each also can work the obliques making them perfect all-purpose exercises to tighten and tone that stomach.