One of the most coveted characteristics of those who are extremely fit is the elusive six pack of abs. With a plethora of information available promoting the next best method for chiseling your mid-section, how can you determine whether you are choosing the best of over 100 abdominal exercises, or simply wasting your time? The following tips will help you narrow down your choices to formulate the most efficient and effective core workouts possible.
The truth is, that although there are over 100 abdominal exercises currently being used throughout the world, there are only three primary categories of core movements: dynamic, twisting, and static (which actually focus on the absence of movement).
Dynamic movements are those which cause flexion of the trunk. Examples of this style of core movement include the traditional sit-up, crunches, leg raises, and reverse crunches. This is the category that adds most significantly to the current list of over 100 abdominal exercises. Dynamic workouts focus on forcefully contracting, and therefore building, the upper and lower portions of your major external core muscle group, the rectus abdominus. This is the muscle that forms the desired ridges of your six pack, and therefore is a muscle which everyone should emphasize working.
Twisting movements bring an additional set of muscles into play when you are training your core. This group of muscles includes the internal obliques and the external obliques (the muscles which make up the sides of your torso), and no core training routine would be complete without a few of its movements coming from the list of over 100 abdominal exercises that extensively work your obliques. This twisting format is actually a subdivision of dynamic movement as well, as it requires trunk flexion and rotation (both dynamic movements) to be truly effective. Examples of this style of movement are twisting crunches, side bends, and medicine ball twists.
Static movements involve a completely different style of training. Here, the goal is to keep the torso from moving. Examples of static movements include planks and side planks, which are held for a set amount of time (usually 30 seconds and eventually longer as muscular endurance increases) as the muscles of your torso are forced to remain contracted to stabilize your body. Though there are not 100 variations of the plank (unless you get extremely creative), your core can greatly benefit from these unique abdominal exercises. This style of core training emphasizes the transverse abdominus, which is the muscle group that is deep to (further inside than) the rectus abdominus and cannot be seen. These movements contribute the least overall variety to our current lists of over 100 abdominal exercises. Although the transverse abdominus may not be the cause of that six pack look, its strength is essential to your overall core health and stability.
Now that you have learned about the three major movement categories related to ab training, we will look at a couple of workouts that present the best choices from the numerous lists of over 100 abdominal exercises.
It is essential to build one or two movements from each category into your core training. Not only will this keep your workout interesting and varied, it will also ensure that you are emphasizing all of the muscle groups of your core equally. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when presented with a list of over 100 abdominal exercises is accidentally choosing movements that emphasize only one core muscle group. This tends to cause the individual training to forget about the other core muscle groups that must be addressed.
Understanding the importance of this balance, and the fact that there are three major movement categories that will help you fully develop a great six pack of abs, is essential. Now you need to determine how to spot the best movements on a list of over 100 abdominal exercises.
This may seem like a daunting task, but it really isn't. Break the list down into the basics - dynamic, twisting, and static movements. Next, evaluate your surroundings and the core training equipment that is available to you. Do you have benches, medicine balls, or stability balls? Finally, never forget to perform exercises that sound both fun and challenging. The best movements on this list will vary depending on your surroundings and your mood. If you don't pick movements from these long lists of over 100 abdominal exercises that you will truly enjoy performing, you are much less likely to continue working your abs regularly.
Workout example one:
Dynamic: Traditional crunches - 3 sets of 25-50 repetitions
Twisting: Twisting sit-ups - 3 sets of 25-50 repetitions
Static: Plank - 3 holds, 30-60 seconds in duration
The best part about the above workout is that there is zero equipment required to complete it! You can easily change one or more of the movements by finding a list of 100 abdominal exercises on the internet and choosing the ones you like better. This sequence of movements can be completed in your living room while you watch your favorite television show, making the idea of attaining a six pack of abs that much more realistic and enjoyable.
Workout example two (if you have equipment available):
Dynamic: Decline bench sit-ups - 3 sets of 25-50 repetitions
Twisting: Medicine ball rotations - 3 sets of 25-50 repetitions
Static: Sit and hold (hold you sit-up half way up from the ground) - 3 holds, 30-60 seconds in duration
This workout incorporates some of the core training equipment commonly found at the gym. This is a great option if you want to increase the intensity of your next abs workout.
As you can see, a list of over 100 abdominal exercises presents the ability to change your workout each time you head to the gym. There are a wide variety of movements that can be uniquely blended for the best level of personal satisfaction. Next time you want to work on strengthening and chiseling your core, remember to pick an exercise from each of the movement categories, and be prepared to sweat!