We all want a flat, strong tummy for summer – or just any time of the year. But with a plethora of “7-minute” ab gurus out there it can be harder than ever to know just what course to take to reach your goals. We’ve probably all tried the do 1000 situps a day plan or perhaps the hop on one foot your way to a flatter stomach in 5 minutes types of plans to no avail, so what are we to do?
Well, fear not! The answers are surprisingly simple and I’m going to clue you in.
What people THINK are the best exercises for your abs
Okay, so you’re ready to go to work, get moving, and get fit. Great! Here’s a rundown of what most people’s go to exercises are when trying to trim up around the waist. While these ARE indeed good exercises, they’re not the most effective. We’ll get to those later.
- Traditional crunches: Surely, this was the first thought for each and every one of you. While these are of course a must have for any ab program, they are not a complete solution. Crunches only work the front of your abs (rectus abdominis) neglecting your obliques (your sides) and the bottom of your abs (transverses abdominis). Also, it’s mostly on a bodyweight exercise. You can hold a small weighted plate across your chest to increase intensity but we don’t all have those laying around and that can get awkward very quickly.
- Ab rollers: These are amazing and one of my favorites, but once again they are not a complete ab exercise, as like crunches they only work your front abs.
- Ab crunch machines: If you’re a gymgoer there’s a good chance you’ve seen and used these, after all they seem so much easier than other ab exercises. Unfortunately, these work your hip flexors much more than your stomach muscles.
- Crunches on an exercise ball: While these are great for increasing intensity and working on your core strength, they put a significant amount of strain on the lower back as well, greatly upping your risks for injury. Perform these with caution. And once again, they are not a complete ab solution.
Now, let’s move on to what you all came here for, and I think you’ll be surprised at how simple the answers are.
What are REALLY the best ab exercises
The most effective, quickest way to a stronger, flatter, sexier stomach are squats and deadlifts. While you may be familiar with these, you’ve probably only associated with them with exercising your butt and legs.
If you’re not familiar with the movements, here’s a brief rundown, be sure to consult with a personal trainer if you have an in depth questions.
- Squats: Remember these don’t need to be done in a gym or with huge amounts of weights and metal bars on your back. If you have a body, you can do squats. The simplest way to keep correct form when doing squats is to imagine you’re sitting down into an imaginary chair. If you’re just beginning, don’t be afraid to keep an actual chair there for safety just in case until you’re more comfortable with the movement. Sticking your arms out in front of your parallel to the ground will help with balance. You use a surprising amount of your core, meaning your abs and lower back, keeping your body balanced as you go through this movement.
- Deadlifts: The deadlift is effective for the same reasons as the squat. Though it may not seem like you’re working your abs, you’re core is working overtime keeping your body balanced as you go through the exercise. It will help to have some light dumbbells for these. Here’s a quick video to help with a deadlift form we all can do:
Hope these help! Enjoy your flat, sexy abs and remember to thank your friends squats and deadlifts for them!