To start out, I would like to point out one key thing to remember about fitness: there are no shortcuts. But now that that’s out of the way, I can continue with what you really want, the 13 most effective ab exercises. While I have my own opinions on different abdominal exercises, I’m not just making his stuff up. In a recent study conducted by the Biomechanics
Lab at San Diego State University, researchers took a unique look at 13 ab exercises, ranking them from best to worst. Chocobo Names
To determine which exercises were most effective at working the abdominals, the researches used EMG equipment to monitor each participants muscle activity. Just for fun, researches included two infomercial products in the testing. For dramatic purposes, I will order the list from worst to best, starting with the least effective of the 13 exercises as ranked by the Biometrics Lab.
- Ab Rocker
As far as efficiency goes, this TV infomercial product doesn’t cut it. Coming in at #13 in the countdown, the Ab Rocker simply doesn’t live up to expectations, as it only showed an average 21% activity (which is very low, as you will see). So basically, don’t waste your money on this product, there are many, many better solutions.
- Exercise Tubing Pull
Before viewing the results of this study, I had never even heard of this exercise, which can probably be explained by its poor ranking in effectiveness. While significantly more effective than the Ab Rocker with an average 24% activity, this is still a relatively inefficient exercise. Since tube pulling ranked so low, I’m not going to even bother explaining how to do it, just Google it if you are really that curious.
- Standard Crunch
Not surprisingly, this famous exercise is the standard for the study. Therefore, its mean activity was 100%, which means that it is still significantly more effective the Ab Rocker. To perform this classic exercise, lie face up on the floor with knees bent. The movement begins by curling the shoulders towards the pelvis, and then lower yourself back to starting position.
- The Plank
While more effective than the standard crunch at working the obliques, this exercise still works the abdominals about the same as a crunch, with a 100% average activity. For this exercise, hold the position demonstrated below for 20 seconds, flexing your abdominals to keep your butt from sticking up in the air. In addition, make sure to keep your body straight as if doing a push up.
- Ab Roller
Surprisingly, this commercial ab workout product actually performs better than crunches, with an activity level of 105% (WOW!!!!!!!!). My main problem with this product is simple: it costs money. It would be worth it if it was #1, but its not, so I don’t recommend it. But in case you are curious, you can find it here.
- Crunch with Heel Push
This variation on the crunch was slightly more effective, with an average activity of 107%. Lie on your back with your legs lifted toward the ceiling. Contract abdominal muscles allowing head and shoulders to come slightly off the ground. Concentrate on contracting the abdominals press heels toward the ceiling while also lifting shoulders chin toward ceiling, creating a U curve with the torso.
- Reverse Crunch
Yet another variation on the crunch that outperforms the classic exercise. Researches measured an average activity of 109% on participants of this exercise. Please watch the video below for detailed instructions on how to do the reverse crunch.
- Long Arm Crunch
Starting with this exercise, all of the following ab exercises in the countdown are meaningfully more effective than the standard crunch. In the case of the long arm crunch, the average activity level was 119%. To perform this exercise, assume crunch position with your arms straight out behind your head with your hands clasped. Then just perform a crunch, maintaining this posture of having your hands behind your head with your arms straight.
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