There is a lot of hype and a lot of confusion out there about six pack abs workouts – number of claims are made about the ‘best equipment’ and the ‘most effective supplement’ for getting to elusive perfect abs. There is also a lot of confusion about what is the best six pack abs workout.
Some clarity is provided by a study conducted by the American Council of Fitness (ACE), which tells you about what exercises constitute the most effective six pack abs workout and also about the exercises that we may think of as effective for getting flat abs, but which are actually not so.
Research has shown that the most effective way to get flat abs is to strengthen the core of the body, which has the added benefit of improving posture, resolving lower back pain and improving general health.
Here are some of the most effective six pack abs workouts:
1. Bicycle exercise that is performed while lying on the back – fingers behind the head, shoulders off the ground; you perform cycling/pedaling movements with your legs bringing the knees back towards the stomach. This is recommended as the most effective six pack abs workout.
2. The captain’s chair leg raise is listed by the study as being the second most effective six pack abs workout. This requires you to hold the grips to stabilize yourself while on the chair, with the back pressed up against the pad – you then bring up your legs slowly and deliberately, towards the abs, without arching your back or swinging the legs.
3. The exercise ball is a very handy tool for strengthening the body core, and also one of the most effective tools for six pack abs workouts. The ball being positioned below the lower back, you assume the ab crunch position (arms crossed on chest or behind the head) and then use the ab muscles to lift the chest off the ball in a curl.
4. The vertical leg crunch is seen to be a more effective six pack abs workout than the traditional sit-up or the ab crunch. The vertical leg crunch requires you to lie on the ground with the legs straight up, the ankles crossed and then needs you to perform the ab crunch by using the ab muscles to bring the shoulders up and off the floor.
5. Like the vertical leg crunch is the long arm crunch, only in reverse – lying on the floor and keeping the knees bent with feet flat on the floor, you extend your arms straight behind you along the sides of the head. Perform the ab crunch maneuver to contract the abs and bring the shoulders off the floor.
6. The reverse crunch is also found to be a more effective six pack abs workout than the traditional crunch. This involves lying on the floor to perform a motion that brings the hips up and off the floor rather than the shoulders, to work out the lower abs.