The Beginners Guide to Ab Workouts
In the last 30 years since we declared war on heart disease there has been more weight put on by Americans in the midsection than any where else. The chances are that you or someone you know has done their fair share of packing on the pounds and adding to their spare tire.
An acceptable workout for abs these days must include the entire core contracting the lower and upper abs, obliques and hip flexors along with the lower back. Most of the old-time trainers of the 1940's and 50's believed in whole body calisthenics as the basis for training their students. The famous Johnny Weissmuller who played Tarzan trained exclusively without weights.
Today you can not get away from the simple crunch to train the abs. It's a great exercise with a variety of variations. But is it the best option for building strong, lean functional abs.
Today most trainers use some form of the abdominal crunch to train the abs. But is this the best way to build strong functional abs that support the core core and keep the internal organs strong? Sitting on a ball is used by some to better affect the abs and train them more efficiently. There are various ways of positioning yourself on the ball and squeezing your core like a crunch. The goal is to keep the stable and of course, stay on the ball.
If you do not have a ball or do not want to use a ball there are other exercises you can do. The fact of the matter is there is no ONE WAY to train your abs and midsection. There are many ways. The old ways are as good as the new ways. The best ab exercises train the entire midsection by consistently squeezing the core muscles. One thing that stood out in my research was that the "old timers", of the early 1900's, mainly trained there abs standing up not lying on their back or riding a ball.
My favorite method of standing up training of abdominal abs is the "Farmer Burns" stomach flattening method. You can do this anywhere you can stand. You do not need a ball or anything, just a place to stand up. Take a deep breath through your nose and fill your lungs, gently holding your abdomen it slightly. Now slowly force the air out but do not let it out. Keep the abs tight, contracted and rigid. You are forcing yourself to exhale, but at the same time voluntarily holding it in. Hold the breath for two – five seconds then let in out. Repeat as often as possible.
Done enough times it is not uncommon to get a little light headed or dizzy feeling. As you progress, this will pass. This exercise trains the transverse and internal obliques the two most neglected muscles of your core. These two muscle group have the distinct job of sucking in your gut and giving you a tighter midsection.