There are many ab exercises that can give you the firm abs you want. People who want to have firm abs usually start with the crunches because some experts believe that they are the best ab exercises. Crunches are exercises that target the abdominal muscles but they do present some risks; they can cause back injuries. Firm abs can be achieved by doing crunches, but they’re not the only exercises that will do this for you.
While it is true that crunches can do wonders on the major abdominal muscles, traditional crunches are not really complete ab workouts and can actually pose a risk to your health. Instead of traditional crunches, you will do better with exercise ball crunches. This type of ab exercise does not pose a health risk and it even is a more complete ab exercise.
Exercise Ball Crunches
To do exercise ball crunches, lie back on your exercise ball with your arms positioned across your chest. Use the exercise ball as the fulcrum as you slowly lean forward to a sitting position. Make sure that as you pull yourself, your ab muscles are the ones doing the work. Keep the exercise ball in place with your other muscles. Just as slowly, go back to a lying position.
The placement of your arms is important when you’re doing any crunch variation. In the past, you may have been instructed to place your hand behind your neck. Know that this position actually forces you to pull on your spine, increasing the risk of injury.
If you’ve taken a more recent class on crunches, then you know that a much better way is to put your arms across your chest. However, it is widely recognized today that you can maximize the benefits you can derive from crunches if you extend your arms straight above your head as you do the crunches. In fact, you hardly need to do a full crunch with this position; simply lifting your shoulders off the floor is enough to give your ab muscles a good workout.
The reverse crunch is a crunch variation that’s becoming very popular. Compared to the traditional crunch, the reverse crunch is thought to be much safer since you don’t need to rock your body or strain your spine. To do the reverse crunch, lie down with your back flat on the floor. Bent your legs slightly. Lift them off the floor, holding your tummy muscles tight. Ideally, you will want your legs to be as straight as they can be — which will be easier as you become more advanced.
Full Vertical Crunch
Another great ab exercise is the full vertical crunch and many can attest that it is one of the best ab exercises because it gives a complete ab workout. To do the full vertical crunch, lie down on your back and point your legs straight to the ceiling. Next, lift your shoulders off the floor. As you do this, make sure your legs remain pointing straight up.
If you’re aiming for fully developed abs, try doing active crunches. For instance, you can lie down on the floor and simulate cycling motions. This is very good for firming your abs and also helps give your waist a trim look. Simply begin pedaling your legs in the air. Do this ab workout in 3 sets, 12-15 reps per set. It won’t be long before you see great results.