Abdominal muscles are one of the muscle groups that everyone wants to work out for maximum benefit. Strong abs give you a slim, sleek look and tighten up belly flab.
Are you getting the most out of your ab workout?
Add the following abdominal exercises to your workout to help power up your abs and build ripped abs.
An ab workout can be done in about fifteen minutes and should include from three to five exercises. If you are wondering how to count reps for abdominal exercises simply work muscles to the point of fatigue or failure.
5 Great Ab Exercises
Bicycle Crunch. You may think this move is as old as your grandmother, and it probably is, but it still produces results. Lie down on your back with your feet parallel to each other and the floor. Bend your knees and lift your feet to a 90 degree angle. Place your hands behind your head and just lifting your shoulder blades off of the floor alternate your elbow as you pull your knee upward as though you were pedaling a bike. Touch opposite elbow and knee. Alternate with the opposite leg. Continue the exercise pulling up with your abdominal muscles, alternating side to side. Do bicycles until you can no longer do them.
Move to the next ab exercise in your routine, remember to come back to this at the end of your circuit and repeat for 3 to 5 sets.
Rope Crunch. You will need a cable machine to complete the rope crunch. It is a fantastic exercise for your abs, and no matter what you see at the gym, this exercise is not just for men.
To complete a rope crunch use a rope pulley attachment with two handles. Set your weight. Kneel, facing away from the weight machine. Grasp the ropes, one in each hand, and pulling from over your head bend at the waist and bring the weighted rope toward the ground. Most of the movement should take place in your waist, not your hips. Release your abdominal muscles and allow your body to move back up to a kneeling position. Repeat the bend, squeezing tightly with your abs.
Hanging Leg Raises and Twists. Use a high bar or suspended arm support to perform leg raises using your abdominal muscles. Grab the high bar or position yourself on the arm support, bend your knees and lift your legs up so that your legs are at a 90 degree angle to your abs. Lower legs, then repeat.
Add a twist as you raise your legs to really work your obliques.
Crunch. There is just no avoiding the old fashioned crunch to work through the entire abdomen. You may find it easier to perform a crunch using an exercise ball. Lie on the floor or on the exercise ball, with the ball under your lower back. Place your hands behind your head and contract your abs. This will pull you up off the exercise ball or off the floor. Squeeze your abs pulling your ribcage toward your hips. Use your abs, not your back. An exercise ball may help you avoid injury when performing crunches. Lower yourself, feeling your abs stretch, and repeat the movement.
Low Cable Reverse Sit Up. This exercise must be performed with a low pulley cable on a weighted cable machine. Use ankle straps on the lowest available pulley. Set a weight that allows you to do 25 to 50 reps of the following sit up. Attach the wraps securely to your ankles. Lie face up on the floor with your feet pointed toward the pulley. Lift your feet and pull your knees up to a 90 degree angle with your torso. Keep your upper body flat on the floor. Pull your knees in tight to your chest and hold for a 1 – 3 count. Lower your legs to starting position and repeat.
Do 3 to 5 sets of 20 to 50 reps of each exercise to optimize your abdominal workout. Mix up your routine occasionally for maximum results.