Many television ads these days show new products regularly, claiming to help you lose weight or gain flat abs in a matter of minutes. Whether your wearing a super cool abs exercising belt that does hundreds of situps for you in minutes or if your swinging from side to side using a simple equipment. You wont gain abs!
Did you know that about 50 percent of your body fat is actually below the skin? While the rest of the fat is located inside of your muscles. Doing crunches or abs exercises will not help you burn belly fat. It will only strengthen your ab muscles but they wont be visible due to the extra belly fat that is covering them.
The best solution to this is by burning your belly fat first. This can be done most effectively by doing cardiovascular exercises such as walking, jogging, swimming, aerobics and bicycling. Even physical sports such as tennis, basketball or football are great for burning belly fat, in fact any activity that can bump up your heart rate to its training zone. If you can maintain it for more than 20 minutes you are burning fat.
Once your confident with your body fat and feel ready to gain flat abs then you should focus on performing the bicycle exercise, vertical leg crunch, long arm crunch, reverse crunch and full vertical crunch. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) proved these 5 exercises to be the best ab exercises.
The bicycle crunch exercise is the most recommended abs exercise by the ACE study report. It is the best exercise for targetting the rectus abdominis (the six pack abs) and also the internal and external obliques (waist).
Start by laying flat on the floor with your back touching the ground. Place your hands behind your head without too much pressure. Then raise your knees to 45-degree angle and move your legs in a pedalling motion as if your riding a bicycle. Slowly touch your right elbow on your left knee and then your left elbow to your right knee. Continue doing for 1-3 sets consisting of 12-16 reps. Maintain a continuous breathing in and out process throughout the exercise.
Vertical Leg Crunch
Similar to the bicycle exercise, the vertical leg crunch also works on the rectus abdominis and the obliques. The vertical leg crunch build the muscles of your thighs while also building mass and tone.
You can use a mat for this exercise for more comfort. Start with your back on the floor and extend your legs straight up creating a 90-degree angle. Cross your legs and focus on crunching your core closer to your legs. Remember to exhale as you crunch. After crunch bring your back down again (dont let your head touch the floor). Repeat for 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps.
Long Arm Crunch
The long arm crunch is an extra twist to the traditional floor crunch as the long elevated arms stretch the lower lever abs adding a little more difficultly. While this exercises mainly focuses on the lower level abs, it is important to know that the rectus abdominis is actually a long muscle that extends from the lower chest to the pelvis therefore any exercise will work the entire muscle.
Start with your back on the ground and your knees up. Extend your arms behind your head while clasped. Lift your shoulder blades off the floor and contract the abs at your core. If you feel neck pain then use one of your hands to provide support at back of your head while other is still up. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps.
Reverse Crunch (laying down knee raise)
There are many vertical knee raise machine and accessories, you could even do them by yourself. Doing a reverse crunch will work on the same muscles as the the vertical knee raise by simply following the instructions.
Lie on the floor with your arms either on the floor or behind your head. Cross your legs or simply put them together. Then bring your knees towards your chest as far as you can, dont let them touch the floor to keep a tight resistance. For more tightness in your abdominal area you can reach your hands out over your head and hold onto something. Repeat 1-3 sets consisting of 12-16 reps.
Full Vertical Crunch
The full vertical crunch is also a strong exercise as it involves both the upper and lower body. Giving it the 5th most effective abs exercise according to ACE studies.
Lie on the floor with your legs straight up aiming for the ceiling. Then place your hands behind your head and slowly bring your shoulder blades up. This will tighten the abs creating a U shape with your torso. Repeat the exercse for 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps.
So by following these 5 most effective abs exercises you will start to see quick results and instantly feel more healthy and fit. If you are in the process of achieving belly fat loss first then make sure to always work on your abs at the end of your workout routine. This is because you are indirectly using your abs through out your exercises whether it be cardio or weight lifting, if you do them first you will wear them out making them weaker and tiring your entire routine, therefore it is a good idea to do your abs exercises last.