Washboard abs are the hottest item in the
fitness world and sought after by both men and women. Washboard abs
require a lot of discipline, healthy low fat diet and a fairly low
percentage of body fat. Many people have an excellent abdominal routine
but they also have a thin layer of subcutaneous fat covering up all
their hard work. It's important to burn off this layer of fat to see the
fruits of your labor.
Working your abs smarter, not longer will
help you get in a good workout without doing 250 crunches. For many, the
crunch is the only exercise in their abdominal workout and they just
keep piling on more sets and reps to reach their fitness goals. If you
want to develop your abs, you have to use different exercises just like
you would with any other muscle. Try some of the abdominal exercises
below to add variety and get a good ab workout.
there are 5 muscles that make up the Abominable Abdominal. The rectus
abdominus originates at the pubic bone and attaches to the lower portion
of the ribs. Its job is to flex the spine and shorten the distance
between the rib cage and the pubic bone. The internal and external
oblique muscles (there?s 1 internal and 1 external oblique on each side
of the rectus abdominus) are also between the ribs and the pubic bone
and they laterally flex the spine (same as above but adding a sideways
Hanging Knee Lift: these can be done
from an overhead pull-up bar. This exercise is often done incorrectly,
the key is to: use a slow controlled movement, limit upper body movement
and not moving you hip joints during the exercise. The abdominal
muscles attach to the pelvis not the legs; lifting your knees at the hip
joint is a great exercise for your hip flexors but not your abs. Keep
your knees and hips stable and lift the pelvis, legs and knees as one
unit towards your chest.
The Bicycle: This is a
slow, fluid movement that stimulates your abdominal muscle and obliques
by crunching and twisting and alternately extending your legs. This may
sound a little confusing, but remember that all 4 limbs should be moving
at the same time. Lying on your back with your hands behind your head,
contract your abs and lift your shoulders off the floor. Slightly twist
your torso and point your right elbow towards your left knee as you?re
lifting your left knee up until it forms a 45-degree bend (your leg
should remain slightly bent). Slowly twist your torso to point your left
elbow towards your right knee as you lower your left leg and lift your
right knee until it forms a 45-degree angle. Hold the extended leg off
the floor until you bring it back to the 45-degree bend. Do as many as
you can and go as slow as possible.
crunch can still be a great exercise to include with other abdominal
workout. Try variations to the regular crunch to stimulate your muscles
differently for better results. Lying on your back, rest your left foot
on your right knee and crunch your right elbow towards your left knee.
Repeat with the opposite side. Using an exercise ball while crunching is
another way to stimulate your abs a little differently and you?ll also
use other trunk stabilizing muscles to maintain your balance.
as the name implies, this is performed by crunching the lower portion
of the abdominal muscles up towards your chest. Start by lying on your
back on the floor with your hands at your sides for balance. You knees
should be bent at a 90-degree angle and your upper thighs should be
perpendicular to your body. Keep your hip joint and knees in this
position throughout the movement. Slowly roll your hips and legs off the
floor and flex your lower spine to raise your lower back off the floor.
Think about lifting your hips off the floor using your abs and avoid
"jerking" into motion and using momentum to complete the exercise. Slow
controlled movements will limit risk of injury and give your abs a great
workout. This is an advanced exercise and using proper form is
important for the effectiveness and to limit injury. Moving your hip
joint and knees puts stress to the lower back and should be avoided.
of these exercises should be done in a slow controlled manner and
remember to breath. Going slow helps you avoid building momentum and
reduces the risk of injury to your back and spine. If you?re placing
your hands behind your head for any abdominal exercises, be careful not
to use your arms to lift your head and shoulders. Not only does this
place stress on your neck and spine; you?re also removing some of
resistance from your abs.