Bicycle Tops List Of Best Ab Exercises

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A study conducted by the American Council on Exercise, affectionately known as the Workout Watchdog, revealed some surprising news about the best ab exercises—and the worst.

Topping the list was the bicycle, a move many of us associate with grade school gym classes. Requiring no fancy equipment, this simple exercise targets the rectus abdominus—sometimes referred to as the upper and lower abs—as well as the internal and external obliques.

The second and third best ab exercises were the Captain’s Chair, a health club staple, and the exercise ball crunch, a move you can do at home with the purchase of an inexpensive pilates ball.

In order to understand how the best ab exercises work, let’s look at the anatomy of the abdomen:

* the transversus abdominus, the deepest of the muscles, provides stability to your torso and assists in the exhalation of your breath;
* the abdominus rectus, the muscle associated with ripped abs, enables you to flex your spine;
* finally, the internal and external oblique muscles allow you to turn, rotate and perform lateral movements.

These muscles, along with the hip flexors and the stabilizing muscles of your back, form the core: the region from which all of your movement originates. The best ab exercises strengthen your abdominal muscles, reducing your risk of muscle spasms, back pain, injury and imbalance.

To determine the best ab exercises, the Council measured muscle stimulation in both the rectus abdominus and the internal and external obliques.

What made the bottom of the list? The traditional crunch, exercise tubing pull and, in last place, the ab rocker.

Incorporate the three best ab exercises into your weekly routine today. Along with a balanced diet and regular cardio activity, they can contribute to a lifetime of optimal health and fitness.

The bicycle
rectus abdominus and obliques

1. Lie flat on the floor with your hands clasped comfortably behind your head. Press your lower back against the ground and raise your knees to a 45°. Keep your feet on the floor.
2. To protect your spine, keep your abdominal muscles contracted throughout this exercise. To do this, imagine your belly button is being pulled towards your spine. Do not hold your breath.
3. Pull one knee towards your chest as you lift the opposite leg a few inches off of the ground and straighten it.
4. Alternate your legs slowly and deliberately.
5. Repeat 10 to 16 times.

Captain’s chair
rectus abdominus and obliques

1. Stand on the chair and stabilize your upper body by gripping the handholds.
2. Pressing your back against the pad, contract your abs to raise your legs. Lift your knees towards your chest.
3. Be careful not to arch your back.
4. Slowly lower your legs to the starting position.
5. Repeat 10 to 16 times.

Exercise ball crunch
rectus abdominus

1. Lie face up with your mid- to lower-back resting against the ball.
2. Cross your arms over your chest (beginner) or behind your head (advanced).
3. Contract your abdomen as you lift your torso off the ball. Pull the bottom of your ribcage towards your hips.
4. As you curl up, use your core muscles to keep the ball from moving.
5. Lower to the starting position, giving your abdomen a stretch.
6. Repeat 10 to 16 times.Similar Articles

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