Crunches and situps are excellent exercises in strengthening your abdominal muscles. They are most effective when you already have a well-conditioned body and you want to get six pack abs or tight flat stomach. Although, abdominal exercises are not designed to burn belly fat, they can also help develop great stabilization strength.
In the research done to determine the best among the list of abdominal exercises, bicycle crunch was at the top spot. This is how to perform the bicycle crunch exercise:
- Lie comfortably flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground.
- With your hands gently holding your head, lift your knees to about a 45-degree angle.
- Carry out a bicycle pedal motion.
- Touch your elbows to the opposite knees as you twist back and forth.
- Breath normally throughout the exercise.
Benefits of bicycle crunch exercise are:
- strengthens the core muscles
- tones and strengthens abdominal muscles
- develops good stabilization strength
Since bicycle crunch exercise requires no equipment, it is readily available to you at any time.
Captain’s Chair Exercise
Captain’s chair exercise helps condition and strengthen the abdominal muscles. To perform this exercise, you can use metal or wood frame in the shape of extended chair with no seat, built with a pair of high and padded armrests fitted with small vertical posts for holding. This is how to perform the captain’s chair exercise:
- Begin the exercises while in a standing position.
- Grip both handles and dangle your feet above the floor.
- Using your abdominal muscles, bend your knees and raise your legs until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Raise your knees until they almost touch your chest.
- Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your legs until they are in the vertical position again.
It is important to keep your back straight, and do not swing your legs. Repeat the exercise 10 to 15 times for each set.
Ball Crunch Exercise
The exercise ball (or stability ball) is an excellent tool to strengthen the abdominal muscles. On the ball, your core muscles will do more work and you’ll use your entire body to help stabilize your movement. This is how to perform the ball crunch exercise:
- Lie on the ball by positioning it under your lower back.
- Cross your arms over your chest or place your hands behind your head.
- Use your abdominal muscles to lift your body off the ball, pulling the bottom of your ribcage down towards your hips.
- As you curl up, keep the ball stable.
- Lower back down and stretch your abs, then repeat for 1 to 3 sets of 12 to 16 repetitions.
Other great exercises that can utilize the ball are trunk extension, elevated push-ups, core crunches, bent knee bridge, abdominal rolls, opposite limb extension, balanced push-ups, superman, and seated wall roll.
Reverse Crunch Exercise
The reverse crunch is another top abdominal exercise that strengthens the core and abdominal muscles, and allows you to develop good stabilization strength. With this exercise, you’ll curl your hips off the floor. Avoid swinging your legs. This is how to perform the reverse crunch exercise:
- Lie on the floor and place hands on both sides or behind your head.
- Bring your knees in towards your chest until they’re bent to 90 degrees, with feet together or crossed.
- Contract your abs to curl your hips off the floor, reaching your legs upwards.
- Lower your hips and repeat for 1 to 3 sets of 12 to 16 repetitions.
Try to use your abdominal muscles to lift your hips rather than swinging your legs to create momentum.
Other Top Abdominal Exercises
- Vertical leg crunch
- Torso track
- Long arm crunch
- Crunch with heel push
- Ab roller