Often times, when people consider their ab strength, they will measure it by aesthetic appearance, AKA, the elusive ‘6-pack.’ For some it may come easy, but for others obtaining a 6-pack may feel like an impossible task. We want to remind you that ab strength is not calculated by what you can see. But rather, is achieved by targeting each individual area to create a well-rounded, strong core. A great way to do this is through our ab workout.
What are the benefits of an ab workout?
There are numerous benefits that can be gained from including some of the best ab workouts in your fitness regime. These can be strengthening your core, improving your posture and beating back pain. Below are just a few of the benefits of doing ab workouts.
1. Improved core strength
Creating a strong core hosts many benefits and is crucial for keeping the body safe. Doing some of the best ab workouts will help let you get some of the many great benefits from exercising your core. When exercising, a weak core can lead to less endurance, more fatigue and an increased risk of injury.
2. Your posture will improve with ab exercises
Ab workouts can strengthen your core and in turn can straight up your posture. A study done by Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary showcased the positive impact that core exercise can have towards posture.
3. You’ll beat back pain with ab exercises
A strengthening of your deep core muscles will in turn lead to strengthening of the muscles surrounding your back and improve potential back pain issues.
4. You’ll become more agile with ab exercises
There is a strong correlation between regular core movements and explosive force and agility as studied in the Universal Journey of Education Research. The study revealed that athletes who performed thirteen core movements three times a week for eight weeks saw significant boosts in their agility.
The anatomy of abs
There are many core or ‘ab’ exercises we can do to increase strength with various ab workouts that you can add to your fitness training. However, it’s vital to ensure we don’t only select linear or ‘sagittal’ varieties (e.g. crunches).
When using the term 6-pack, we are technically referring to the Rectus Abdominis muscle, or the muscles that run vertically down the abdomen. However, our obliques are equally as important to develop.
The focus on upper abs comes from exercises that involve pulling your chest towards your pelvis. Exercises that follow these guidelines will be felt through your whole core but more of a focus on your upper abs.
These are the rectus abdominis as referred to above, the ‘six pack muscles’. These exercises will bring your pelvis and ribcage closer building an overall stronger core.
Lower abs are the hardest to get to show if the focus is on weight loss. These are vital muscles to be able to maintain the whole core. Heel taps are a great way to get your lower abs working.
The ultimate ab workout
If you want to target each ab area to create a strong core, try adding these exercises to your current fitness regime to make up the ultimate ab workout.
Start with a light weight and do 3 sets consisting of 8-12 reps. Increase weight and sets as necessary.
1. Uni windmill
- Stand upright with your feet wider than hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell in one hand at the inside of your knee with your arms straight and your other arm full extended.
- Shift your hips back and lower the kettlebell down towards the floor as you bend over at the waist keeping the other arm straight overhead.
- Return upright, keeping your arm overhead throughout.
- Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.
2. Dead Bug
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet raised holding a med ball against your knees over your midsection.
- Lower one leg and the opposite arm straight down toward the floor, keeping the med ball steady with your other knee and arm.
- Raise the leg and arm back to the mid position and lower the opposite leg and arm.
- Alternate sides with each rep
3. Swiss Ball Roll Out
- Kneel on the floor with your forearms on the ball and your chest on your forearms.
- Push the ball forward, rolling it along your forearms as you extend your arms, keeping your back neutral/flat.
- Pull the ball back in to the start position.
4. Superman Tuck
- Begin in a table position with your knees under your hips and hands directly under your shoulders.
- Raise one arm and the opposite leg straight up to shoulder height and hold briefly.
- Lower your arm and leg, bringing your opposite elbow and knee to meet in the middle, keeping your back flat.
- Return your arm and leg out to the extended position and hold briefly.
- Lower your arm and leg back to the start position and repeat with the other arm and opposite leg.
5. Front Bridge to T
- Support your body off the floor in the top of a push up, resting on your toes and hands with your arms straight.
- Raise one hand up toward the ceiling while rotating your body to the same side and look up at your hand.
- Hold then lower yourself back to the floor and repeat, twisting up to the other side.
- Alternate sides with each rep.
If you’re set on achieving a visible ‘6-pack,’ it’s important to note that nutrition will also play a huge part. Visceral fat (the fat around our mid-section) is more dangerous to our health than other fat as it surrounds our internal organs. Reducing this visceral fat by good nutrition will not only reduce a number of serious health risks but will also allow our abs to be more visible.
Ab workouts are for everyone!
No matter your fitness level or where you are at in your fitness journey abs workouts are for everyone! Building up your core to be strong will have major benefits in all the other training and exercise you are doing. If you are just starting out you can get some great guidance with our beginner weight training workout.
Why aren’t my abs sore after a workout?
As your abs get stronger they will gradually get used to the movements. These core movements will no longer cause soreness as the DOMS will ease as your body adapts to the new movements.
Is it bad to do an ab workout everyday?
All muscles need a break whether it is your abs, arms, legs, chest or back. So just like when we work out our other muscles it is important to give them time to recover. While it is not a good idea to train them every day you can include core strengthening exercises as part of your warm up.