What kind of abs exercises are the best?
A question I probably get asked the most often by my clients.
First off, I have a big problem with isolation exercises. Especially so where the abs are involved.
Isolation exercises are unnatural for your body and do not replicate the normal motion that it would undergo outside of the gym.
This puts your body under stress and leads to over-development of certain parts of your body whilst neglecting other parts. The end result of this strategy will ultimately only mean one thing - injury!
In the case of abs exercises, a typical isolation exercise would be sit-ups, crunches or straight leg raises.
I have a number of issues with these:
1) Very often, these exercises are done with bad form, which can put unnecessary stress on the lower back and neck.
2) These types of exercises will develop a layer of fat under any existing fat, giving your body a 'bloated' look.
3) The body becomes used to these exercises and adapts to find the most efficient way of doing them (in effect, it learns how to cheat!) The result is: minimal development.
4) They do nothing to work the core or strengthen the back muscles. The result is that the body becomes imbalanced.
The body needs to be challenged to bring about change and development.
So what are the best exercises for abs?
The answer is to perform compound, intensive exercises which actually target the abs – indirectly.
Compound exercises target a number of muscle groups at the same time. This makes them extremely efficient and they replicate the way our body moves. In the gym, you need to be doing 95% compound exercises - bench presses, squats, Thompson presses, etc. Isolation exercises such as biceps curls should only make up 5% of your workout.
There are a whole range of exercises to work your stomach muscles deeply, which will give you ripped abs in no time and strengthen your core, with only 3-4 workouts per week.
Examples of such exercises include front squats, floor mountain climbing, and floor-raises. These are intensive exercises which you wouldn't immediately think of abs exercises. Big mistake!
Try them for just 5-10 minutes and feel the deep burn on your abs the next day. The abs in these exercises act as stabilizers, and work your entire set of abs as well as the surrounding supporting core muscles.
Additionally, being compound exercises, by working the larger muscle groups, the spin-off is that they burn fat at the same time, whilst working a whole range of body parts.
Finally, compound exercises mimic your body’s natural movements, so there’s much less chance of injury.
Tip for home users: Even if you don’t have a gym membership, you can still perform these exercises. Squats, press-ups and vertical jumps are all excellent compound exercises.
For your abs, the floor mountain climber and floor raises can also both be done without the need for weights. Click here for full details of my 3 recommended abs exercises, complete with photos.
Give them a go today – once you’ve tried and seen the results you'll never look back!
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