The Best Exercises for Your Ab Muscles

A strong core can lead to more than just an attractive midsection; it can also prevent future injuries both related and unrelated to exercise. Furthermore, strong abdominals help to keep the spine safe. This preventative measure can protect you from serious issues involving the back that could even require surgery. Also, exercises for other parts of the body often involve the core, so you can better your other workouts by strengthening this area. Below is a list of some of the exercises that have been approved by the American Council on Exercise to be beneficial for strengthening the abdominals:

Captain’s Chair: The captain’s chair has a straight back and two arms with pads on top of them. To use this device, brace yourself with your arms on top of the pads. Lift your knees upward toward your chest (do not swing your legs- use your abdominals to lift). Note that there are variations to how this machine can be used.

Ball Crunch: Place the inflatable ball on the floor, and lie on it with the ball touching the small of your back. Cross your arms and lift with your abs in a typical “crunch” formation. Make sure you maintain control and keep the ball in place.

Vertical Leg Crunch: You will not need any extra devices for this exercise. Lie on the floor as f you are going to do a regular sit-up. Instead of placing your feet on the floor, cross your legs and lift them into the air so that they are perpendicular with the floor. Keeping your legs stable, lift into a crunch.

Reverse Crunch: To do this exercise, lie on the floor with your knees in the air at a right angle. Using only your abs, pick your hips up off of the floor, and bring them back down in a controlled motion. Try to avoid using momentum to swing yourself.

Long Arm Crunch: The position of this exercise is similar to that of the basic crunch, but instead of placing your hands behind your head or across your chest, stretch them out above your head. Try not to bend your arms as you crunch. If necessary, place one of the arms to the back of your head to help support the neck.

Plank: Form is very important for the plank exercise. Lie down facing the floor, and support yourself with your toes and forearms. Make sure you do not bend your back and that you keep your butt in line with the rest of your body (it is very easy to make the mistake of keeping it too high or too low). Hold this position.

These are just some of the numerous types of exercises you can use to work your abdominals. Many of these can be modified to work different muscles within the area. Building a strong core is necessary for anyone who is interested in becoming fit, athletes and non-athletes included. The protection that can be provided as a benefit of having a strong core can become a preventative measure that will save you from pain and other associated difficulties.