🔥 The 5 Best Ab Exercises
✅ Strengthen your core by adding these five must-do exercises to your routine.
Not all ab exercises are created equal. In fact, many are simply a waste of workout time. A study conducted at the San Diego State University Biomechanics Lab examined the electromyography (EMG) activity results garnered by popular core exercises. Here’s how they stacked up, along with some of our other favourite (and least favourite) ab exercises:
💪 Don’t waste your time with:
1. ✅ The basic crunch
Why: The basic crunch is just that — basic. Don’t waste countless hours on a less-than-stellar exercise that does little to fully engage your abdominal muscles.
2. ✅ The ab rocker
Why: The ab rocker was proven to be no more effective than the traditional crunch. Actually, it was shown to be up to 80 percent less effective. Yes, it’s super easy to do, and that’s why it doesn’t work. By supporting your head, this tool actually deactivates the muscles in the neck that would normally support it. This can lead to neck pain as your supporting muscles weaken. There’s a reason these machines are collecting dust in the corner of your gym.
3. ✅ The straight-leg sit-up
Why: This old-school exercise is responsible for many back issues. It puts a huge strain on the lower back by provoking you to hurl your upper body forward in an attempt to touch your toes. No thanks.
4. ✅ The standing dumbbell side bend
Why: Isolating the obliques in this way is not natural and can add unnecessary strain to your back. (How often do you bend straight to the side to pick something up?) Also, many people use the momentum that the dumbbells create and rock side-to-side instead of properly engaging their muscles. Avoid these unless you want to look you’re rocking to the oldies.
5. ✅ The seated twist
Why: Seated twisting machines are a waste of money and space in fitness facilities. They rotate your lower back beyond its safe range of motion and can also lead to injury if you don’t know what weight to use and how to control the movement. I’ve seen many people snap from right to left with some wicked momentum — ouch!