Author: Justice Yordi
Does your ab routine consist of doing a billion crunches? Maybe you rely on planking to build your abs. Well it’s 2017 and planking is no longer cool, and crunches just don’t cut it. So what needs to change?
In my opinion, ab routines are neglected by many people, which is ironic considering that anybody would love six-pack abs. So many people automatically turn to crunches for abs, which is understandable because it’s the one ab exercise that just about everybody knows. Don’t get me wrong, if you have relatively weak abs and can only do a handful of crunches, then it’s a decent place to start. If you’re like me however, and have been doing ab exercises for a while, then you can probably do over 15 sit-ups no problem.
What You Need to Know
Let’s address a few important things before suggest any specific exercises. First, ab exercises do not specifically target belly fat. Your ab routine should not be centered around burning belly fat. Your body will burn fat as it deems fit, and the most important aspect of fat burning is your diet. However, you do have control over where your body builds muscle, which is brings me to my second point. Your abs are like any other muscle, and the ideal rep range for strength and/or muscle mass gains is around 6-12 repetitions. If your fitness goal is muscle endurance or strictly weight loss, then by all means, do sit-ups until you feel like puking (don’t actually go that far). If you want to build muscle, gain strength, and really make your abs stick out, then it’s time to change how many reps you are doing during your ab workout.
Sit-ups are Too Easy
See the picture at the top of this post? Those are my abs (sorry for showing off), and I never do crunches or planks. I do exercises with higher resistance and stay within 6-12 repetitions. That way I maximize the growth and strength of my abs. Sit-ups are just too easy.
What exercises do I recommend?
There are hundreds of different effective ab exercises you can do, and as long you do the right amount of reps, feel free to experiment and switch things up from time to time. These are a few of my favorites:
Weighted Knee Raises
To do knee raises, I will hang from a pull-up bar and lift my knees to my chest. In order to make the exercise harder and more effective, I like to hold a dumbbell with my feet as i lift my knees. Try it out with various dumbbells and find a weight that works for you.
A Russian twist is when you are in a sit-up position with your back about 45 degrees off of the floor, but instead of sitting up and down, you rotate your torso while keeping your legs in place. In order to make this exercise more intense, I do this exercise while holding a medicine ball (affiliate link to buy your own medicine ball).
An ab roller is a very good piece of exercise equipment. It’s small, relatively cheap, and it’s something you can either do at home or bring with you to the gym. Plus, it’s a great exercise. You take the roller, roll yourself flat, then use your abs to roll yourself back up. Here’s an affiliate link if you want to buy your own ab roller.
Give these exercises a try and let me know if you like them!