Utilizing proper technique is crucial for getting the best ab workout possible. Using the techniques below will reduce your chance of injury and assure you get maximum results.
Proper Form - To achieve your goal of getting the best ab workouts possible, proper form should be your #1 priority. The quality of your reps comes first, not the quantity. Study the descriptions and demonstrations of each exercise so you know how to do it right
Proper form consists of: keeping your technique strict, controlling the speed of movement, working through a full range of motion, and keeping constant tension on your ab muscles.
Common technique errors include: Going too fast, jerking, rocking, pulling on your head, and shortening the range of motion.
Strictly adhering to proper form will go a long way toward giving you the best ab workout possible.
Breathing - Rule #1 on breathing: Don't hold your breath!!. This is a very common error. Holding your breath will result in straining and will temporarily raise your blood pressure.
Best way to breathe: Exhale on the Effort, or lifting phase of each exercise. Ideally the exhalation will come in the last half of the rep. You would then inhale on the lowering phase.
I've found with my clients that if I have them focus on the exhalation phase and make a sound when exhaling, they will get into a proper breathing rhythm that is easy to maintain.
Speed - Unless you're training for explosive movements common in athletics, your speed of movement required to get the best ab workout is a slow and controlled one, for both the lifting and lowering parts of an exercise.
General speed guideline: Take one second to lift, pause for one second, then take one second to lower back to the starting position. Tip to remember - Anytime you want to make an exercise harder: Go Slower. Try it, you'll see.
Range of Motion - To get the best ab workout results, always work through a full range of motion. Failing to do so can limit your flexibility, as well as, your progress.
Constant Tension - Maintain constant tension in your ab muscles throughout the entire rep. Control the movement and focus in on the muscles being worked.
Don't rest at the bottom of the movement. I have my clients stop just short of the bottom which helps them maintain a tight contraction in their ab muscles.
Pausing at the top of the movement also assists in feeling each and every contraction, assuring the best ab workout.
Reps - How many reps should you do to get the best ab workout possible?? With each routine I give a rep range, but they are only suggestions. It is difficult to give an exact number.
Everybody is different- different fitness levels, abilities, talents, and goals. Here is a principle to remember that will help you get the most out of every set: Do as many reps as you can and still maintain perfect form.
When you break form, STOP, you're done with that set. As you fatigue, you're going to want to: speed up, shorten your range of motion, pull on your head, etc.. All examples of bad technique. Don't do it. Perfect form is your #1 priority.
Doing as many perfect reps as possible will always result in you getting the best ab workout possible. So don't get obsessed with numbers - quality of reps beats quantity every time!!
Progression - As you get stronger you will need to increase your work load to keep making progress and get the best ab workout. You can do it by increasing the reps, the sets, adding some external resistance (dumbbell, weight plate, or medicine ball), or taking on more challenging exercises.
You can make certain exercises more difficult simply by changing the leverage. With crunches, for example, you could have your hands: extended forward towards your knees, across your chest, held lightly behind your ears, or extended straight over your head (clasped together along the floor).
Each level is progressively more difficult because of the change of leverage.
Exercise Order - While it's not always possible to isolate the abs into specific parts, whenever possible work the lower abs first, the obliques second, and the upper abs last.
The upper abs are generally the strongest and have to assist when working the lowers and obliques. Therefore they should be trained last.
Variety - Doing a variety of ab exercises is important. It allows you to hit the muscles from different angles. It also helps prevent boredom and keep you motivated. I rarely have my clients do more than one set of an exercise.
I certainly have them work an area with more than one set, but it will be with different exercises. Fortunately, there are a lot of ab exercises to choose from. Variety is a key part of getting the best ab workout.
by john b
(Fort Wayne, IN, USA)
I was a physical training instructor in the US Army for 2 1/2 years, some 34 years ago, and I used to do 50 sit-ups on an inclined padded plane five days a week. Breathing out as I go up while doing sit-ups gave me "wash-board" abs.
After I got out of the Army, I used to tell folks, go ahead a hit me in the tummy, I can take it, but no one did. I prefer sit-ups as opposed to crunches, even though the latter works great.
I'm a 56 year old man, 6 foot, 153 lbs., 40 inch chest, 30 inch waist, 34 inch waist line, and the wash-board abs are gone, oops! Yeah, I forgot about the breathing part, OK.
But, I still have a waist line to put my pants and belt on, and do 25 sit-ups every other day. My percentage on body fat is yes, relatively low.
One other tip to remember - I do not eat anything four hours prior to sleeping. Food eaten too close to sleeping time, turns into fat, normally in the tummy area.
Food is for energy. A sleeping body cannot turn food into energy very well, so it turns recently eaten food into fat for a later use. About 560 calories are burned while a 160 pound person sleeps for eight hours.
A snack before bedtime may make a person go to sleep faster, just don't do it. Because if you do, a lot of your time working out on those abs, are wasted.
PS- I appreciate the best ab workout tips that are already listed. Thanks.
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Breathing Helps You Get The Best Ab Workout Possible