Today’s quick tip deals with working on getting those nice looking abs for whatever is left of summer swimsuit season, which depending on where you live could be almost over or still have no end in sight.
While popular perception has long been that doing lots of ab exercises (crunches, sit ups, etc) is the only way to work the muscles needed to craft the sought after six-pack, as with most cases of conventional wisdom, that may not be the whole story. Most ab exercises are contraction based, meaning that as you perform the exercise the muscles are contracting. However, because the main function of your abdominal group is not a contraction movement, working those muscles using primarily contraction exercises is not the most efficient way to see improvements.
Your abs are stability muscles that connect your upper and lower body and allow the entire body to function as a unit. As stabilizers, the best way to work them is in a stabilizing or rotational manner. Therefore, front and side planks are two great ways to really tone your abs. Doing exercises on a stability ball, or just trying to sit on one for portions of the day, also works your core muscles. Twists and chops are good options as well.
Of course, the biggest factor in determining how good your abs look really has nothing to do with what kind of ab exercises you do. But that’s another topic for another day….