Abdominal ExercisesBy Adam Sinicki
Abdominal exercises are a difficult bunch. On the one hand these are the exercises that everyone wants to do, and if you ask your average Joe Blogs which body part they want to focus on, then in many cases they would say abs (I'm not a big fan of this attitude, but there you have it). At the same time, abdominal exercises are perhaps the easiest exercises to perform at home and the most basic.
The problem is that no one wants to do abdominal exercises and this is actually precisely because they are easy. The problem is that abdominal exercises are generally so simple that once you've developed some muscle and some strength, you often will find them mind-numbingly boring and easy. At the same time as most people just do sit ups it's easy to become bored by the repetition and to find yourself plateauing and generally losing interest long before you actually start to do any damage to the muscle fibers that would stimulate growth.
Here then I am going to help out by providing some stunning abdominal exercises for you to practice at home or in the gym that will give your ab workouts a bit more spice and hopefully make things a little more difficult.
Note: Ab exercises alone won't get you a ripped six pack – you also need to lose weight enough to make them visible and this means doing CV such as running or rowing as you can't 'target' fat loss.
Double Note: To have success it's not just about the abdominal exercises you do, it's also about the way you do them. Your single mission is to make your abs hurt during and after a workout so that they sting when you move. Listen to your body, find what's hurting it and then do more of that. Usually this will mean doing long sets, pyramid sets, reducing your resting time considerably, or doing two sets of exercises end-to-end (supersets).
List of Abdominal Exercises
Sit Ups: The classic, simply lie flat on your back with your knees bent and pointing at the ceiling and your hands behind your head or crossed over your chest to prevent them helping you (don't pull on your head) then sit straight upright by pivoting at your waist.
Crunches: Crunches are like smaller versions of sit ups. Here you 'roll' your spine up instead of keeping it straight enough that you fold your mid section in half. That's a sit up.
Twisting Sit Ups: Here you simple do press ups, but do a twist at the end of them so that your knee touches the opposite elbow. Alternatively you can do multiple twists, or you can simply hold yourself half-upright and twist on the spot. These abdominal exercises will train the obliques that are down either side of the abdominal muscles.
Leg Raises: Here you lie flat on your back with your legs straight and your feet poised just slightly over the floor. Then raise them directly up for repetitions.
Hanging Leg Raises: Hang from a pull up bar or similar so that your body is completely straight and then raise your feet directly upward, folding in the middle, as though you were trying to kick your fingers.
Recline Sit Ups: Using a recline bench or another method, lie on a surface that is sloping downward with your legs bent higher than your body and somehow secured in place, then sit up further. You can also do crunches and more on a recline bench.
Tip: One of Stallone's favorite oblique and abdominal exercises is to hang on a recline bench and hold his body halfway up then twist – meanwhile holding a stick such as a broom between his hands and the back of his head.
Cable Crunches: Here you set up a cable system in a gym so that it's on a moderate weight and there is a two handed handle above your head. Face the other way holding onto the bar with outstretched hands and then bend over so that you are folding at the waist and crunch it this way. You can also do this kneeling down.
Press Ups: Press ups are the seminal pec exercises, but they are also great abdominal exercises as you are keeping your whole body straight to do them.
Pull Ups/Chin Ups: Like press ups, these aren't abdominal exercises primarily, but performing them will still train your abs as you are forced to keep your body straight. For a harder time, perform pull ups with your legs out straight in front of you.
Sit Up Punches: Do sit ups with a boxing guard and punch a pad in front of you with either both hands or alternating hands. Works similarly to twisting sit ups, but makes the move a bit more different and interesting.
Ab Crunch (Machine): There are plenty of abdominal exercise machines in gyms and they go by various names. Most of them however involve being strapping in and then having to push a pad forward by leaning over. They are useful for quickly altering the weights and giving yourself more of a challenge. Weighted Sit Up: Simply do sit ups while holding a weights plate on your chest. Of course weighted crunches are also useful abdominal exercises.
V-Sit Ups: Sit ups/crunches so that your legs come up to meet your upper body and arms on each repetition.
Upside Down Sit Ups: These abdominal exercises are like they sound. Like Rocky IV, hang from your legs and then sit all the way up.
Stay tuned for many more abdominal exercises that will be added over time to this list!