Ab Workouts -- The Many Variations

By: Robert Thomson

Getting a flat and toned stomach is a dream many individuals strive to obtain. Whether the goal is the beautiful flat stomach that looks good in a swimsuit or the perfect six-pack abs, it all starts with diet and exercise. Ab workouts are a vital part of burning fat and creating the toning on the torso that results in the dream body.

Bicycle Ab Workout:

The bicycle ab workouts include an effective crunch called bicycles. This exercise is one of the best options to add to all ab workouts because it targets all of the abs, not just the lower or upper abs.

The bicycle works by lying flat on the ground and bringing the legs up to a 45 degree angle. The hands are placed lightly behind the head to add support. The legs are brought up off the ground and the upper abs tighten to bring the shoulders and head off the ground. Never lift with the neck, only the upper abs.

The body then turns, moving the right elbow to the left knee. The leg must move at the same time as the body turns. The process then repeats to the other side. The effect of the legs moving to meet the opposite elbow looks similar to the action of riding a bike, but the effect on the abs is that the entire area is worked.

Exercise Ball Workout:

The use of an exercise ball has long been known as an effective way to work the abs. The ab workouts on an exercise ball includes the basic crunch. The difference from doing the crunch on the ball instead of the floor is that the risk of injury is lowered.

The exercise ball is positioned under the lower back and the feet are placed flat on the floor. The legs should have a 90 degree angle to help improve balance while working out on the exercise ball. Cross the arms over the chest or place the hands lightly behind the head for a little added support.

Tighten the abs and pull the upper body forward. Do not use the shoulders or neck to move the body. The crunch uses the upper abs to create the movement. Slowly loosen the abs to lower the body back to the starting position.

The use of the ball creates pressure in the lower abs to help maintain balance while the actual crunch works the upper abs. This effectively creates total ab workouts without adding multiple exercises.

Ab workouts are often a matter of incorporating a few effective exercises into a normal workout routine. When working on the abs, it is best to focus on the muscles like any other muscle group in the body and work on a few sets of small numbers to avoid overworking the muscles. During the workout, focusing on the movement and proper form while limiting the number of movements will result in an effective exercise routine. Creating that flat, toned stomach is easy to accomplish with some little workout tricks.

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