Abs are one of the most desired and talked about muscle groups out there for many of us. In fact, it would not be too much of a stretch of the imagination to say that it’s almost like one of those things that society says is an ‘accomplishment’ if you have a ‘six-pack’.
It is, certainly, without a doubt one of Hollywood’s selling point if nothing else.
And it is precisely because of this fact that we are going to be focusing on this ever-popular body part/muscle group.
I mean, after all, who doesn’t like a sexy set of six-pack abs…right?
Ab Exercises You Can Do at Home
First up, is a particularly ‘non-traditional’ one.
Typically, we see exercises such as the sit-up, crunches, and/or various exercises on ab roller as the recommended ones. And while they are certainly useful and have their place, and by no means should you avoid them or underestimate their worth they are not the be all and end all of abdominal strength.
Therefore, we present to you the Spiderman Plank Crunch.
- Begin in plank position/push-up position/forward leaning rest.
- Slowly and in a controlled manner bring one of your knees forward towards the elbow on the same side.
- Touch your knee to you elbow.
- Now also in a controlled motion reverse the movement you did earlier and bring your knee and leg back down to its starting position.
- Now that you are back in the forward leaning rest position repeat the same movement except with the opposite knee and elbow.
- Once you have completed the motion on both sides that is considered a single rep.
- Perform as many reps like this non-stop as you desire.
So as you can see, this exercise is a little bit more complicated than something as simple as the sit-up or crunch. It requires several different motions and works multiple joints all while simultaneously forcing you to be in a position that maintains constant tension on your core, and thus never allowing you to rest essentially.
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Which is also why the beauty of this exercise is that it basically targets ALL of your abdominal muscles.
Now this next one is going to be a little more specific though. Unlike previously, this exercise definitely focuses on a specific group.
So let’s get to the…Cable Rotation.
- While standing straight-up and strong balanced posture grasp a cable handle from a cable machine.
- Take it in both your hands, and then put both your hands out directly in front of your chest. Make sure to maintain a 90 degree angle with your arms and torso.
- Keep your arms ‘locked-in’ and straight and your abs tense as well.
- Begin to rotate your upper body towards one direction.
- Make sure that your rotation ‘swings’ as far towards your direction of movement as possible. If you are able to make a full 90 degree motion from your starting position to your ending position if we are looking at you from a vertical axis then that is ideal. But just simply try to rotate as much as possible.
- Be sure to return to your starting position in as smooth and controlled of a movement as possible.
- Perform this motion as many times as you’d like, but then switch over to the other side when finished.
- Now that you are standing facing the opposite direction, do exactly as you did earlier except moving to the opposite direction you did in the first place.
- Repeat the motion as before and then return to the ‘resting’ position as before earlier…this entire process should mirror what you did on the first side.
- Be sure to perform as many reps as you did on the other side to ensure not getting lop-sided abs.
As you can see, this exercise is much more focused and targeted on one group than before.
Really, the Cable Rotation works the Obliques…although it certainly puts tension and strain on the rest of the overall group as well throughout the movement.
Right about now, I suspect that there are some of you who may be thinking that you’d like to target your abs in a different way than simply contracting them in broad movements.
And I’ve got just the thing for you guys.
The Swiss-Ball Rollout!
- Begin by assuming the same plank/push-up/forward leaning rest position that we mentioned for the first exercise, the Spiderman Plank Crunch.
- But this time the difference is that you will be keeping your hands on a Swiss stability ball instead of the ground.
- Now put tension on your abs and entire torso and maintain as straight and as ‘solid’ of a position as possible with your body, and then proceed to move the ball forward and away from your body by rolling it with your hands/arms.
- Ideally, you would want to reach all the way out and make a perfectly straight line with your entire body…from feet to hands that is. But it’s alright if you are unable to do so all the way. That is quite a motion. Just go as far as you possibly can. That’s what’s important, to challenge yourself here.
- Once you have reached all the way out you will begin to gradually and slowly and in a controlled manner reverse the motion that you just performed to get there.
- Keep going until you reach all the way back to your starting position. That is now considered one rep.
It’s true that this exercise is rather similar to the Ab Wheel or an Ab Roller…that is OK actually.
Because what the Swiss stability ball does that those other guys don’t is that it offers more of a challenge to the smaller muscles in your abs due to the inherent unstable nature of the ball.
See the ball is a sphere that can roll in any direction equally and without being obstructed. Which means that it will require extra care, attention, and effort on your part to ensure that it only moves in one axis and does not spin out of control.
Meanwhile, its counterparts…the Ab Wheel and the Ab Roller do not offer the same ‘freedom of movement’! Those guys are designed to be more stable and move in a more easily controlled motion. Therefore, they are not forcing you to concentrate as much on remaining controlled.
Make sense now?
Oh also I should mention that with our last exercise, if you find the movement too hard you can simply place your knees down on the ground and perform the exercise that way.
It will be similar to the difference between a ‘regular’ push-up vs. a push-up on your knees.
Alright, now knock ‘em out slugger!