Exercising your abdominal muscles is similar to training all the other muscles in your body. It takes effort and exertion to increase the strength of muscles, by applying a certain amount of stimulus. This stimulus, if applied correctly, will have an effect. That comes in the form of muscle soreness – or something we know of as DOMS. This is short for delayed onset muscle soreness.
DOMS is a natural occurrence of our muscles being damaged and repairing themselves. That’s how they get stronger. Therefore, the next time we try to execute the same exercises, we would be accustomed to it somewhat, and have to apply more exertion in order to increase strength and muscular growth.
We don’t need (and should not) exercise a certain muscle group on a daily basis. Muscles need time to repair and regenerate. This is done outside of the gym, when the muscle is allowed to rest for a day or two. The time frame depends on how sore you are. The more exertion that’s applied, the longer the recovery time is needed.
For client’s programs (and my own as well) I dedicate abdominal exercises on rest days – or as I call them “active recovery days.” I always encourage clients to stay active on a daily basis, especially now when we are mostly confined to our homes. It’s often a great idea to complete an ab crunches program on those days.
The program structure looks like this:
Morning or evening session: 10 minutes warm up, followed by a 30 minutes of ab crunches and stretches. Then we enjoy a 45 minute to one-hour walk. The walk will be more in line with the client’s schedule (or how much time you have available, especially if you are attending to children or work).
Top 5 abdominal exercise to really change the shape of your abs
- The tried and tested plank exercise. This is loved by many people because it’s relatively easy to execute and works a lot of muscles within the body – not just the abdominals. It’s definitely one to keep in your abdominal exercise book.
- Crunch with feet off the floor. I like this variety because it provides a bit more intensity and works the lower abdominal in the process.
- Dragon flat. This one is really challenging but it tests your upper body strength and will most definitely strengthen your whole abdomen! Work your way up to these ones.
- Cycle crunches. I love these because they provide a bit of a cardio workout in the process. You must lift with your abdominals, not your neck muscles. They are more of an advance exercise, but most definitely one you should work towards mastering (if you want a nice shapely midsection).
- Elbow to knee. I love this one, and find it work so well for the inner and outer abdominal. You can even transition into this crunch after the feet off the floor variety.
Here you have 5 abdominal exercises that can be used as a routine ab workout. Although there are several different crunches you can do, I would suggest changing it up regularly to always make progression. Here are a few different exercises that you can use weights with and will most definitely work your abdominals.
Top 2 exercises that work your abdominals
- Deadlifts. This one is a huge abdominal builder. The force of the weight being lifted works most of the muscles in the body, including your abdominals! Use it to your advantage and always perform deadlifts as much as you can. Now when at home, use resistance bands to mimic the movement.
- Pull and chin ups. You are using your whole upper body to lift your own body weight, as well as your abdominal wall. Even when performing negatives, you’ll still get a big abdominal workout. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of this exercise, no matter how challenging it is.
I have plenty of different workouts as well as abdominal sessions in my YouTube channel.
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