Archive for the tag - ab exercise

The Best Scientifically Proven Ab Workout Ever!

For extra motivation (or at least masturbation fodder), print out this picture and tape it to the ceiling above you while performing this workout.

Well, shit… that’s quite a title to live up to. But according to my uncle – and Prevention Magazine – this ab workout lives up to its hype. Over dinner, my uncle told me about the workout. He and his wife have been doing it for a few months, and they’ve seen great results. They’ve both shed a few inches from their midsection and show a lot more definition.

It’s no surprise that they’ve shed a few inches; the workout is fast-paced and it gets your heart pumping. It’s really a cardio workout and ab workout in one.

I tried the routine this morning, and I suspect that I may even be a little sore tomorrow. Since I’m new to the workout, I couldn’t quite hit all the target numbers that you’ll see below. Each exercise contains 3 sets of 50 repetitions. That’s performing 150 instances of each exercise. Yikes! It’s certainly something to work up to.

Without further ado, here’s the “best scientifically proven ab workout ever”:

  • 3 sets of 50 modified crunches. Instead of having your feet flat on the ground, keep your knees bent at a 90 degree angle so that your calves are parallel to the floor. Throughout the exercise, maintain this 90 degree angle (no small feat). Cross your arms high on your chest, just below your neck. Rest 15 seconds between each set of 50.
  • 3 sets of 50 leg lift punches. You’ve probably done a leg lift before. It’s when you lie flat on your back with your legs together. You lift your legs by folding at the pelvis, keeping your back flat on the mat. Try keeping your legs as straight as possible. A normal leg lift would stop here – but we’ve added a punch. Once your legs are perpendicular to the floor, use your abs to “punch” them up towards the ceiling. Your ass will lift off the floor by 3 – 6 inches. Lower your bum back down, and then lower your legs so that they almost – but not quite – touch the floor. Sounds hard enough, right? Wrong! Instead of keeping your hands by your side, reach them over your head and hold onto something that is heavy – like a couch or weight bar. It really focuses the exercise on your abs, and doesn’t let you cheat. Rest 15 seconds between each set of 50. If you can do 150 of these, then you are my new fitness hero in chief.
  • 3 sets of 50 double crunches. Double crunches are one of my favorites – they’re in my 30 minute ab workout as part of Total Body Assault. Basically, you balance on your ass and form a “V” shape with your legs and torso. You flatten the “V” by extending your legs out and by lowering your torso. Then, contract your abs and pull yourself back up into the “V”. It’s basically a crunch from hell. Beginners will want to use their arms and hands for balance by touching the ground as needed, but advanced double crunchers may hold their arms parallel to the floor along the sides of their body, reaching for the toes. Rest 15 seconds between each set of 50.
  • 3 sets of 1-minute modified side planks. Lie on your left side. Pretend that your body is sandwiched between two panes of glass. Stack your left foot on top of your right foot and push yourself up onto your left elbow. Your right arm can lie flat on your side. It should create about 6 – 10 inches of space between your torso’s left side and the mat. Hold this for a minute being careful not to let your butt sag, then repeat on the other side. Do 3 sets of these, resting 15 seconds in between each set. This should bring your abs to the point of failure.

Fear not if you can’t do the full 50 in each set. I found the leg lift punches really, really hard. Modify the workout for your ability. And build up from there.

The workout gives a lot of practical core strength that is incredibly useful in other exercises, and life in general. Enjoy it!

Totally confused? Let me know in the comments below. Would you rather me make YouTube video of this workout? I can do that – just let me know what you want. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Best Lower Ab Exercise Ever?

Weighted leg lifts just may be the best lower ab exercise, ever.

If you’re like me and hit the gym often, you may break your abdominal exercises into different days. I tend to do obliques (side abdominal muscles) on one day, lower abs another and then upper abs and core on yet another day. It’s a great way to work the abs frequently, but to also allow for rest. Nonetheless, in all of my experimenting and testing and tribulations, I’ve yet to find a lower ab exercise as powerful as weighted leg lifts.

You can either perform weighted leg lifts on a mat or, for a more challenging workout, on a bench (it will increase your range of motion in the exercise). You’ll also need a light dumbbell; I use a 10-pounder.

As the name would imply, a weighted leg lift is essentially a leg lift with a weight in between your feet. Here’s what you do:

  1. Start on the mat or bench with your hands at your side as pictured. For a more challenging variation, place your hands behind your head and contract your abs as though doing a crunch (shoulder blades should be lifted off the mat).
  2. Keep your legs out straight. Place a light dumbbell in between your feet as pictured.
  3. Contract your abs and lift the dumbbell a few feet of the ground, performing a leg lift.
  4. Pause for a moment, then lower the weight to near the starting position – just don’t let it touch the floor. Repeat 8 – 12 times.

If you do try this exercise on a bench, you’ll notice that the added elevation increases the range of motion of your legs. Your starting position would be lower than is possible on the floor – so the workout is harder and more challenging. And if it’s possible, this is a great exercise to do with a friend. Getting the weight in between your feet isn’t always easy by yourself!

If you know of any great lower ab exercises, please share them in the comments below! And if you’re able to give weighted leg lifts a try, let me know what you think.