Best Abdominal Exercises
If you are reading this then I guess you are in the like the majority of people out there that would love to have the the infamous “rock hard abs”. It seems the world has gone 6 pack abs crazy. Everyone wants to look like the Calvin Klien Model. There are plenty of gadgets being sold to us, pills, shakes, machines to help us achieve this right.
Lets Understand our Midsection
Having a flat stomach is not only asthetically pleasing but a sign of good health. As having excessive layer of body fat through out the body can put too much pressure on our internal organs, i.e., your heart. The average body fat percentage for an average male is between 12-18% and for women between 18-24% (the difference in men and women is due to monthly hormonal imbalances). The action of our abs are very complex. Sports scientist have shown that our abdominal contracts 1/300th sec before any lift, push or press is preformed ie, squats, military press or biceps curl etc. It is safe to say that the primary role of our midsection is not merely to admire in front of a mirror, but a strong abdominal region is a functional role to play in all movements we preform. It also provides protection for our internal organs, spine and various nerve endings.
Our body is very good at storing fat. Its it long term energy source. For the great majority of us it is stored around out lower abdomen region. The fat layer easily hides the rectus abdominis muscle which is the front of our midsection and what you so admire. This is why losing abdominal fat is also vital to gaining six pack abs.
So here is the answer that you have been waiting for, your layer of fat hasn’t just appeared over night. It will not simply take 100 crunches, sit-ups every morning and every night. You need a carefully thought out plan. Ultimately what it will take is hard work, proper well balanced diet and functional high intensity interval training along with selected few ab strengthening exercises.
Balanced diets includes plenty of fresh fruit and veg, lean meat, low GI carbohydrates (i.e, avoid white bread, white pasta, white potato, sugar, pop drinks, dairy cholocate…) and drink water. High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.) simply put are functional exercises preformed are very high intensity. This is not a walk in the park or a light jog on the treadmill. Consider this your “cardio session” if you will, with resistance training. A example of HIIT programme could consist of hill sprints and timed circuits with minimal rest done over a 30 minutes period.
Hmm… I bet you are all wondering so what about the abs, “I want a firm stomach”.
Okay here are my top 5 killer ab exercises that I use for developing six-pack while engaging the entire core muscle. “Core” being all the muscle group above the knee and and below your chest.
Clean and Press or Snatch the barbell overhead with very wide overhand grip. Position toes outward with wide stance. Maintain bar behind head with arms extended.
Descend until knees and hips are fully bent or until thighs are just past parallel to floor. Knees travel in direction of toes. Extend knees and hips until legs are straight. Return and repeat.
Keep head forward, back straight and feet flat on floor; equal distribution of weight through forefoot and heel. Accelerate when squatting up slowing just before full extension.
Clean and press or snatch a kettlebell overhead with one arm fully extended.
Keep the kettlebell locked out and arms straight at all times and push your hip out in the direction of the kettlebell.
Turn your feet out at a forty-five degree angle from the arm with the kettlebell.
Lower yourself until you can touch the floor with your empty hand.
Pause, and reverse back to the starting position.
Finish the set and switch to the other arm.
The kettlebell windmill exercise targets the abdominals, focusing particularly upon the obliques. It’s a very popular kettlebell exercise because it develops flexibility and strength in the core muscles, shoulders and hips. It is one of the all time great exercises.
Start with the kettlebell in your right hand and lie with your back on the floor.
Press the kettlebell top above your chest position and keep the kettlebell locked out at all times.
Bring your right leg in towards the butt and pivot to the left.
With the support of your left arm roll onto your left triceps and continue rolling until your hand touches the floor.
Using your left hand and right leg, drive your hips up and forward to raise yourself from the floor. Continue this motion and bring your left leg in and take your right leg forward until you are in the bottom position of a lunge.
Hold yourself in this position for a second and then stand up with the kettlebell still raised in the lockout position above you.
Complete the repetition by reversing the movement back down to the starting position.
The Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up is an excellent functional strength exercise that will see you raise yourself from a horizontal to vertical position whilst suspending a kettlebell overhead. It will primarily work the core body and abdominals but is an exercise which epitomises working multiple muscle groups in unison as it calls into play the quads, calves and shoulders also.
Hanging windshield wipers
Assume a pull-ups position and bring your back horizontal with the floor. Raise your legs so the soles of your feet are facing the ceiling or the sky.
Slowly lower the legs to one side, then the other, slowly moving back and forth like a windshield wiper.
Levels the rings so they are good few inches of the floor.
Start with in a Press-up position. Brace your entire body and draw your navel into your spine.
Contract your lats for shoulder stability.
Extended one arm over your head and alternate the movement. Don’t try to extend your arm too far to start with and if you feel tension in your lower back STOP IMMEDIATELY. This is probably due to failure in your posture. Remember to brace your entire body almost as if you are preparing for a punch to your stomach.
Please note that this is a very advanced exercise and should not be by someone who has not mastered the basic plank, gym ball roll outs and wheel roll outs. This is at the top of the progression ladder.