by Nathan Zachary
student preparing for Dissertation

It’s easy to run through a lot of exercises while trying to get washboard abs, and you might even perform all of the top 5 abdominal exercises and still see few results if you’re not managing things properly. It’s important to use different speeds, tempos, positions, and variations in the angles to mix things up. One of the best methods you can use to ensure progress is to constantly set goals, then break them – continue to raise your goals with each workout. The Gym Venice

1 – The Bicycle Crunch

It’s the move itself that mimics the bicycle ride, hence the name, but there is no real bicycle involved. This is one of the best exercises to hit your abdominals hard, including the obliques. The exercise uses the weight and resistance of your own body for training purposes, but if the entire process seems too easy for you then add weights to your legs or ankles.

To perform the bicycle crunch, lie down on the floor and put your hands behind your head. Do not lock your fingers as you don’t want to be pulling your head upward during the exercise using your arms. Raise your shoulder blades using the abdominal muscles, like you’re performing a crunch. Next, elevate your knees so that your knees are bent and your calf muscles are parallel to the floor. Begin by slowly pedaling your legs like you’re riding a bicycle. Compress your abdomen with each “row” by touching your knee with the opposite elbow as you draw the knee up.

2 –Vertical Leg Raise

A vertical leg raise is ideal for hitting the lower abdominal muscles, and with variations in movement, this top abdominal exercise can also hit the obliques as well – perhaps even better than the bicycle maneuver. It’s not truly possible to target a specific section of the abs because they are a cohesive muscle group, so expect this workout to hit all the major groups – you’ll definitely feel the pull in the lower abdomen though.

This works great from a captain’s chair. Support your body by placing your elbows on the horizontal pads with your back flush with the back pads. Grip the provided hand holds and let your feet dangle. Raise your knees toward your chest. Pause and flex your abdominal muscles then lower your legs under control to just before the starting position and raise again. Avoid the temptation to let your feet dangle and rest.

3 – Ab Wheels

This is one of those core exercises that hurts in just the right kind of way and will definitely sit at the top of the most important core exercises for your abs. If you want washboard abs then this is most certainly the workout you want to aim for. It’s important to know your limitations because this workout can be difficult for someone that has a weak lower back.

To perform for starters, get on your knees using a mat or other workout pad under your knees for protection. Hold the wheel on the floor in front of you with your elbows extended slightly. Let the wheel roll out in front of your body as far as is comfortable. Use your abs, and no other part of your body, to draw the wheel back in.

4 – Clothespins

This is an abdominal exercise that uses full body motion while also delivering a core exercise to the abs. If you’re just starting your ab routines you may have a difficult time landing this maneuver properly but with work you’ll be able to get the motions down – it’s about a mixture of flexibility and core strength.

To perform, lay down and straighten your legs. Begin by sitting up in a semi-seated position while contracting your abdominal muscles then lift your legs to a 45-degree angle. Reach out toward your shins and hold the posture while contracting your abs. Return to your starting position slowly, under control.

5 – Flutter Kicks

Flutter kicks are a serious workout that will push the limits of your abs and stamina. This workout not only targets your abdominal muscles but will target your back muscles as well. There’s no set number of reps for this workout. The point is to push yourself to muscle fatigue where you simply cannot progress further. Continue challenging yourself to increase the length at which you do the flutter kicks or the number of kicks you get in within a set time limit.

To perform, lay on the floor with your legs straight. Place your hands under the outside of your gluts to support your lower back and raise your legs off the ground to a point where they are approximately 8-12” from the ground. Begin by raising one leg up to about 18-20” while lowering the other leg slightly then alternate the legs. Continue alternating for the full duration. If you need to take a break during this exercise, pull your knees to your chest and hold that position as if you were curled up into a ball. When ready, extend your legs and begin again.

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