10 best Abdominal Exercises

What exercises are irreplaceable for the stone press? Some of the elections will surprise you, but by following all the rules, you will understand why they were on this list!

Authors: Parker Hyde, a certified specialist in power and functional training, a certified expert in sports nutrition, and Bill Geiger

Let's define on the shore: we are not here to find one "best exercise for the press at all times". Too many authors and editorial offices have tried to do this, and the surplus of "winners" can finally be confusing – especially if one considers that the studies supporting their conclusions have always been one-sided. Several years ago, the exercise "bicycle" reigned at the highest step of the pedestal. Then he was squeezed by traditional twists. Then there was a twist, a bar, a roller for the press . The list could be continued.

Instead, we collected the best exercises, listed them in an arbitrary order and in a few words explained how remarkable this or that movement is, and what studies it proves (if any). When compiling the list, we took into account exercises with own weight and weights, antirotational movements, electromyography (EMG) data and many other moments. No tool for the press cubes has fallen out of sight, but only worthy candidates have been selected for the elite list!

1. Raising straight or bent legs in the vise

Why the list? There are many reasons to love the various options for lifting the legs in the vise, and one of them is universality. You can start by lifting the bent legs in a Roman chair or with a strap for the horizontal bar to focus on the lower press. Then you can go to the lifting of the straight legs, and finally, to the lifting of the legs in the vise on the crossbar. In time, you will learn how to perform straight leg lifts with full amplitude, touching the crossbar with your fingers, and the muscles of the press will have a lot of power.

Increasing the amplitude is not the only way to move forward. You can raise the difficulty level by holding the medbol between the knees or the ankles; this will allow you to train with fewer repetitions. Regardless of the chosen option, raise your legs as high as possible in each repetition, and do not use inertia to throw them up.

In training. Do the exercise first or second; make an 3 set for 10-15 repeats. If you use medball, try drop sets – just drop it when you get to muscle failure.

Why the list? We believe that exercises for the press with additional burdens lack love! Like no other, they spur the growth of fast-twitch muscle fibers and really create "bricks" in a block of six cubes. Changing the load, you can train to failure in any range of repetitions, and the hairpin of the cargo stack is an excellent tool for effective drop sets!

In training. An excellent choice for the first or second exercise of training the abdominal muscles. Use a decent weight for sets with a small number of repetitions. At the end of the workout, you can put a small load on a pair of burnout approaches. In other cases, do 3-4 approach on 10-15 repetitions.

Why the list? A rapidly gaining popularity trains the muscles of the press, forcing them to do their job: to stabilize the position of the trunk. The side press is an anti-rotation movement, that is, during its execution the body actively counteracts the rotation. Using such exercises, you increase the stability of the muscles of the cortex in different planes of motion and reduce the likelihood of injury.

There are many ways to carry out this movement, including a lateral press with rotation, but most begin in a cable simulator with a D-handle at a level just below the height of the shoulders. Take the handle with both hands, move away from the simulator at 4-5 steps and turn to 90 degrees so that the simulator is on your side. Take your hands forward; all this time you are struggling with a force that is trying to deploy you to the block. Be sure to keep your back straight and do not lift your shoulders throughout the movement.

In training. There is no need to put a heavy load, this will only worsen the quality of traffic. Carry out side traction after the most difficult exercise for the press, using the working weight, which allows you to complete the 3 set on 10-15 repetitions on each side.

Why the list? The strength of this twist option in its versatility is that you can perform them in any rope simulator using any degree of resistance to train in the intended range of repetitions. And yet, many people do this exercise incorrectly.

First of all, the temptation to sit on the heels is great, allowing the hip flexors to do most of the work. Secondly, keeping your back straight, you limit participation in the work of the upper sections of the abdominal press – the back should be rounded! And, finally, your hands should stay in one position near the head throughout the entire approach. Allowing them to climb in the eccentric phase, and then pulling them back, you connect the shoulders and muscles of the upper body to work.

In training. Another worthy choice for the first or second exercise, which can be performed with small or medium repetitions. Make the 3 approach 10-15 times. To perform a drop-set, reposition the pin in the cargo stack when you reach the muscle failure.

5. Twisting on a bench with a medallion

Why the list? Twisting on a bench with a negative slope increases the load by increasing the amplitude of the movement, in comparison with the usual twists, and you can change the difficulty level simply by adjusting the angle of the bench. Taking a medball or a pancake, you will get an additional load, which can be adjusted to individual requirements. In addition, this will allow you to manage the failure and achieve it with a small, medium or large number of repetitions.

But here everything can go wrong. Since the legs are fixed, it's too easy to pull yourself up by the muscles of the thigh. Between repetitions do not completely sink to the bench, stay above it. If you do not feel a burning sensation in the muscles, discard additional weights, put your hands on your stomach and focus on cutting at a slow pace. You can also add lateral movements, directing the elbow to the opposite thigh, to more strongly recruit the oblique muscles.

In training. Do the exercise, when some fatigue has accumulated after the heavy first exercises. Make the 3 approach 10-15 times. If you feel that 15 repetitions are too easy, just increase the degree of slope, or take a pancake or a fitball heavier.

Why the list? Yes, the leg exercise fell into the top ten for the press. And everyone who crouches at the limit of the opportunity, knows exactly why! It's clear, different versions of sit-ups work out the legs and lower back parts, but also they can blow up the muscles of the abdominal press. Both frontal squats and squats with the barbell on the shoulders cause the press and the muscles that straighten the spine to work without a breather to keep the neutral, vertical position of the trunk. If they do not work at full throttle, you will buckle under the weight of the bar or drop the projectile in the blink of an eye.

And yes, forget that you need to stand on the ball Bosu, to increase the load on the stabilizers. Studies have shown that by performing heavy squats while standing on the floor, you will get the necessary stimuli for the abdominal muscles.

In training. Systematically include in the training plan frontal and traditional squats. To avoid getting used to the load, once in 4 weeks, change the exercise, or simply alternate the front and usual sit-ups on a weekly basis. It is best to put a separate press training after the hardest workout of the week. The last thing you need is a pain in the muscles, which causes you to reduce the weight of the bar.

7. Russian twist with a fitball on an incline bench

Why the list? An advanced version of the "Russian twist" studies oblique abdominal muscles and forces the upper press to shrink isometrically. To recruit the oblique muscles, you need lateral flexion (bending to the side) and rotation of the body (twist). During this exercise, the rotational function of the muscles is activated, so carefully concentrate on contraction. To raise the stakes, try to add a little twisting on each side after the turn.

The main danger in this exercise is to allow the hands to hang out and leave the plane of the trunk. Turn around in the waist, not in the shoulders. In addition, on an incline bench, try not to pull the body muscles of the hip (flexors).

In training. Do an 3 approach for 15 times on each side closer to the middle of the workout. Increase the difficulty by increasing the angle of the bench, or picking up the ball more heavily.

8. Exercise with the roller for the press

Why the list? Advertising is right! EMG results show that, according to the degree of muscle activation, the roller for the press can lay on the scapulae lifting the legs in the vise, twisting and back twisting together. This movement exploits the concept of anti-extention (counter-extension); when you roll the roller away from yourself, the muscles of the cortex are forced to actively contract (eccentric phase), so that the spine remains in a neutral position and does not collapse under the action of body weight and gravity. Notice, you risk nothing when you allow your back to straighten up at the lowest point!

In training. Do an 3 approach on 8-12 repetitions, rolling the movie forward and backward. If you can not perform the intended number of repetitions, reduce the amplitude of the movement, and then slowly increase it for several weeks. When you confidently perform the exercise on your knees, go to the next level of difficulty and roll the roller, standing on straight legs.

9. Peak for the press on the gym ball

Why the list? It turns out that on a gym ball you can not only sit, waiting for your partner to finish the approach. A team of scientists from Sacramento, California, has proven that the peak is one of the most effective exercises in the press training. It tops the EMG rating for the upper, lower press and oblique muscles. This movement can be the X factor that your training program lacked. Although this is not exactly the same, the peak can be performed on the TRX harnesses, yielding comparable results.

In training. Since many abdominal muscles are in the center of the target, the peak can be used both at the beginning of the workout and for the truly brutal finish of the session. Tune in to the 2-3 approach over 8-12 times. If you can not technically perform all the repetitions, use the simplified version – get your feet on the gym ball.

Why the list? Plank is an isometric retention of the position of the body with a focus on the muscles of the cortex. According to EMG data from our sources, this movement activates both direct and oblique abdominal muscles. It is also good for the transverse muscles, but they lie too deep and can not be measured by the EMG method.

We have included the bar in the list, because it is very easy to change the difficulty level. If the usual bar is too simple for you, raise your hand, or your leg – or your arm and leg at the same time. Put your foot on the TRX belts. Still too easy? Take your foot to the side, and put your forearms closer. Each change leads to an increase in training stimuli for the muscles of the press.

In training. You can put the exercise last on the day of training the press, and you can do it at home anytime. Since this is an isometric movement, watch the time, not the repetitions. Make 3-5 approaches in 30-90 seconds, using the most difficult option for yourself, with which you will be hard to maintain balance!

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