Not all ab exercises are created equal. In fact, many are simply a waste of workout time. A study conducted at the San Diego State University Biomechanics Lab examined the electromyography ( EMG ) activity results garnered by popular core exercises. Here’s how they stacked up, along with some of our other favourite ( and least favourite ) ab exercises :
Don’t waste your time with :
1. The basic crunch : Why : The basic crunch is just that—basic. Don’t waste countless hours on a less-than-stellar exercise that does little to fully engage your abdominal groupes de muscles.
2. The ab rocker : Why : The ab rocker was proven to be no more effective than the traditional crunch. Actually, it was shown to be up to 80 percent less effective. Yes, it’s super easy to do, and that’s why it doesn’t work. By supporting your head, this tool actually deactivates the groupes de muscles in the neck that would normally support it. This can lead to neck pain as your supporting muscles weaken. There’s a reason these machines are collecting dust in the corner of your gym.
3. The straight-leg sit-up : Why : This old-school exercise is responsible for many back issues. It puts a huge strain on the lower back by provoking you to hurl your upper body forward in an attempt to touch your toes. No thanks.
4. The standing dumbbell side bend : Why : Isolating the obliques in this way is not natural and can add unnecessary strain to your back. ( How often do you bend straight to the side to pick something up ? ) Also, many people use the momentum that the dumbbells create and rock side-to-side instead of properly engaging their zones musculaires. Avoid these unless you want to look you’re rocking to the oldies.
5. The seated twist : Why : Seated twisting machines are a waste of money and space in fitness facilities. They rotate your lower back beyond its safe range of motion and can also lead to injury if you don’t know what weight to use and how to control the movement. I’ve seen many people snap from right to left with some wicked momentum—ouch !
Opt for these five exercises to maximize your workout time instead :
1. The plank : Why : It stimulates more abdominal activity than a regular crunch and works the muscles in your back as well. How : Supporting yourself on your forearms and the balls of your feet, bridge up and position your body in one straight line. Pull your abs in tight and hold for 30-60 seconds. Kick it up a notch : From the plank etat, reach forward with your right hand, hold for a count and slowly return to the starting etat. Do the same with your left hand and repeat.
2. The bicycle crunch : Why : In the San Diego study, this exercise was the second highest in terms of strengthening the obliques in participants. It also stimulates more abdominal activity than the traditional crunch including your lower stomach and obliques. How : Lying on your back, bring your knees up to form a 90 degree angle and keep your hands by your temples. Crunch up and twist across the body while simultaneously performing a bicycle motion with your legs. For example, if you crunch up and to the right you should draw your right knee in and vice versa. Repeat for 20-30 reps total.
3. Side plank : Why : Side planks not only torch your obliques, they also stimulate and tone your glutes, quads, hamstrings, inner/outer thighs and your upper body. How : Lie on your side with your forearm perpendicular to your body and one foot stacked over the other. Bridge your hip up and hold for 30-60 seconds while maintaining a straight line with your body. Kick it up a notch : Raise your top leg so that it’s parallel to the ground ( this full version of this is called Vasisthasana in yoga ).
4. Vertical leg crunch : Why : It stimulated 116 percent more abdominal activity in the study’s participants than the traditional crunch. How : Lie on your back with your legs up in the air, knees slightly bent. Try to touch your ankles with your hands by contracting just your abs, but keep your chin off your chest. Repeat for 12-16 reps. Kick it up a notch : Reach towards your toes and hold the excellente position très for 15 seconds for a V-sit.
5. Reverse crunch : Why : Engage your lower abdomen and obliques with this move. How : Lie on your back with your hands tucked under your bum and your knees bent. Bring your legs up until they form a 90 degree angle from your torso. Do a pelvic tilt and sweat your knees in towards your chest, squeeze and slowly lower to starting etat. Aim for 15-20 reps. Kick it up a notch : Hold a weight over your head.
Ripped abs plan :
One of the best ways to work the abs is to perform a series of core moves in one continuous circuit. Circuits are efficace and effective, allowing you to get the most out of your exercices. For optimum results, perform this core circuit at the end of your intense training séances. You want your core strong and ready to back you up when you’re in the thick of a tough workout.
Plank tri-set ( regular and sides ) : 30-60 seconds
Reverse crunch : 15-20 reps
Bicycle crunch : 10-15 reps per side
Vertical peau knee raise : 12-15 reps
Notes : Perform 2-4 total sets or circuits électronique with no rest between exercises and a 1 minute rest between circuits électronique.
Subscriptions are now available for our new Mom refill website! Until January 1, you can save 33% by purchasing the Special early bird offer or one Gift subscription. These specials are available now while the site is still under construction. The site will be officially launched on January 1, 2018.
- Finish each day at your own pace, track your progress).
- No Facebook or Instagram required
- Start your own 10-30 Day Bible Study Email Challenge (optional) anytime!
- New “Live” Bible Study With Pam Forster Every Four Months
- Drawing tutorials in your Bible
- Bible Study App Tutorials
- Gift subscriptions available before Christmas… No more surprises!
Congratulations to the ten winners of a one-year Mama’s Refill subscription!
Rebecca said: “I think for this season of my life I would like to have shorter daily studies. Plus, links to coloring sheets for the little ones would be great! Great ideas, Rebekah!
Jamie said, “When I’m not studying with you, I usually study another passage exegetically / inductively.” Lots of good books to read in living Christian literature, but the best for Bible study is still the Bible.
Dini said: “I love your studies, maybe there would be a possibility to shorten them a bit? After a while, I have a hard time catching up. I still admire your drawings – I wish I could do that. I’ll try to shorten them!
Charissa says, “When was God faithful to preserve and care for you in the midst of trials?” We moved to a new area a few years ago, leaving behind a lovely home and a group of close friends. It was an extremely difficult move for me and I really struggled to connect. But God was faithful in bringing in the right group of women and the opportunities to serve, which helped me connect with a family of faith.
Luona said, “The whole idea that trials help test our faith – to see if we will stand firm and not walk away from what we claim to be our beliefs just because things are difficult. I loved the word image of the coins being checked to see if they were genuine. I want to stand before God and see Him verify and know that my faith was genuine.
Marcia says, “I loved James’s study! I often fall behind, but I still think the length and pace are good. I felt like it was written for me as I had a lot of hardship this fall, physical issues, family members struggling spiritually, the loss of a dear cousin at age 31, etc. … But I am learning to count them all with joy. I was also reminded of the depth and power of the Word of God. As a youngster I memorized James’ book but now as a mom to 4 young children I feel like I am learning a lot more in some ways. It changes me !!! ”
Rebecca Ray said, “I’m so excited about this! I love your studies, and I really wouldn’t change a thing except maybe having two levels of instruction for children on children’s lessons. I’m still working on James 1, but I found myself really struck by the trials and tests and how this is what God uses to prove that we are growing spiritually. I have often found myself thinking that God is giving me a test and just waiting for me to fail, and I realize now, through this study that he is on my side, and that he wants to prove how much I become like him. “
Bekki said, “I always thought that ‘Count everything with joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of all kinds …’ sounded good, but was really only possible for ‘Super Christians’. But now I have a different perspective and understanding. After reading it so many times and studying it almost word for word, I understand. Thank you very much for all your hard work, Pam. I can’t even imagine how you have a life outside of writing these studies! They each contain proof that you spent an enormous amount of time preparing and compiling the information for the rest of us. Thank you and God bless you!
Jennifer said, “I have been reading the Bible for a year, and it has had a huge impact on my life! I’m also taking a Bible study called Disciplines of a Godly Woman.
Nicole said, “I’ve been reminded that my heart’s motives really matter… do I stop in the middle of a trial to catch my breath and trust God and feel joy or is it that I just keep disconnecting on my own strength? When I try on my own… it usually leads to anger (which I have to be slower to… especially in the middle of the activity). Above all, I need to take the time to let the word of God flow into my heart and cultivate the good soil so that his word and all good things can take root in my life.
TIPS OF THE DAY