Abs are the Rolls Royce of bodybuilding: everyone wants them, very few people have them, some got theirs from their parents after hitting the genetic lottery, and others got theirs by intense, every day gritty training routine and workouts.
Today we’re here to make things easier for you by letting you know the 5 best abs exercises you should add to your routine train your abs and get your abdominal muscles ripped and ready.
But first, let’s have a little anatomy class so you get the full picture that will allow you train your abs even better in the future.
Your Abdominal Muscles
The abdominal muscles or abs are made up of five very tight, and small muscles located in-between abdominal body fat, covering your abdominal wall.
These muscles are your:
- External obliques.
- Internal obliques.
- Rectus abdominis.
- Transversus abdominis.
In general, this muscle group is popularly referred to as abs or a six-pack because in individuals with relatively low muscle fat they appear as a pack of six hardened muscles.
The abdominal muscles are composed of more slow twitch muscle fibers as opposed to fast twitch muscle fibers, making them better suited to longer endurance workouts.
Also, unlike other muscle groups, when it comes to training abs, you need very targeted exercises or ab-focused workouts so you don’t train other muscles if you’re to hit these muscles and get the aesthetic you’re looking for.
Ab Exercises Are About Quality Not Quantity
What makes strong abs is quality rather than quantity. To gain strength and definition, here are 5 abs exercises you should add to your routine and get to doing to gain strong abs:
5. Cable Crunches
Cable crunches also known as kneeling cable crunches, are a weighted crunch variation that you can use to target and train your ab muscles.
- Help increase flexibility
- Improve your core strength and endurance for other more complex workouts like deadlifts
- Improve your posture by activating your core, glutes, and lower back muscles.
- Great exercise for you to involve other muscle groups like your glutes, and lower back
- The cable crunch is a great exercise to practice if you want to correct improper posture in your upper body.
How to perform a cable crunch
You can perform cable crunch exercises by kneeling in front of a cable station with a pulley attachment.
- Grip the rope attachment with both hands and pull it down until it rests right above your head.
- While keeping your hips and arms still, squeeze your core muscles and bring your shoulders toward your pelvis.
- Lower your upper body until your elbows nearly touch your knees. Repeat this movement for the desired amount of repetitions.
- This exercise can also be performed using a resistance band.
4. Russian Twists
Don’t feel intimidated by the name of this exercise just yet. The Russian twist is a great way for you to train your core and get killer six pack abs.
Russian twists targets your obliques or the long muscles along the sides of your torso and help to flex, laterally bend, and rotate your spine as well, making it one of the best abs exercises.
When training your abs, you want to make sure you have a strong, symmetrical core, so your obliques need focused attention.
How to perform Russian Twists
- Sit on the floor in a position you find comfortable with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Lean back gently to make an angle of 45 degrees the floor.
- lock your fingers together in front of your chest and raise your legs off the floor.
- Rotate your arms to one side.
- Repeat on the other side.
Benefits of Russian Twists
- Russian twists double as a great weight loss exercise, allowing you to burn fat, most especially belly fat.
- Increase flexibility and posture by anti-rotational movement of the spine.
- Strengthens your lower back and reduces pain and stiffness.
- You don’t equipment for this one; Russian twists are very minimal in nature and can be done from the comfort of your home.
3. Decline Crunches
This exercise is done using a decline bench with you placing your hands against your chest or holding a medicine ball, dumbbell, or plate against your chest for added resistance to get the most out of your abs bodybuilding workout.
How to Perform Decline Crunches
- Lie on the bench in a decline position and secure your legs on the knee and ankle pads.
- With your back against the bench, bring your hands to the sides of your head.
- engage your abs and use them to lift your torso toward your thighs.
- Raise your torso as you simultaneously crunch in to get the most engagement out of your abdominal muscles.
- Hold the top position for a moment and then slowly lower your torso back to the starting position.
- Take another breath and repeat the process.
Benefits of Decline Crunches
- Great abs workout: with good form, crunches help you keep constant tension on your rectus abdominis and target your abs way better than sit-ups.
2. Hanging Leg Raises
Hanging leg raises are one of the more popular abs workouts and for good reason too; they’re extremely effective especially with good form.
Admittedly, this technique is usually used by fitness professionals and experienced lifters with a strong core who make it look easy, but if you’re a beginner you may need to start with the other exercises to build your core and work your way up to this one.
Benefits of hanging leg raises
- thoroughly engages your rectus abdominis
- Can be performed at home or even outdoors
- great way to build grip and arm strength
- also works the lats and hip flexors.
Definitely, the most popular abs exercise on this list. When doing planks, every second feels like an eternity and the rewards are definitely worth it.
Planks are exercises centered around developing your abs as well as your core strength training and stability.
Benefits of planks
Planks help you to increase stability as well as develop and build on a weak core.
Planks give you added flexibility and help you to achieve better posture.
Great exercise for fat burn and weight loss.
Planks let you train your abs with just your bodyweight.
How to perform a perfect plank
- Place a mat on the floor and place yourself in a plank position: face down with your forearms and toes on the floor with your elbows are directly under your shoulders and your forearms are facing forward. Your head should be relaxed bent towards the floor.
- Activate your abdominal muscles, by drawing your navel inwards towards your back. Make sure your shoulders are down and your heels should be over the balls of your feet.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds before easing downwards to the floor.
- Increase your plank time exponentially.
Tips for Ab Exercises
- Take rest days: When people start training their abs they tend to get carried away and overwork their abdominal muscles. This can lead to soreness and prevent you from getting the best out of your workouts and even increase your risk for injury. so adequate recovery is a must if you’re going to train your abdominal region. Train hard on training days, slowly work your way up have a rest day, and get enough rest on it.
- Train the rest of your body: It’s not just about abs or ab exercises. The rest of your body needs work too if you’re to have the perfect definition and not ripped abs and skinny legs. Now just imagine that for a second. So make sure to pop in full body workouts to work for your other muscle groups as you train abs.
- Get a certified personal trainer if you can. It helps