In recent years there has been a revolution in the emphasis we place on our bodies. With all the diet pills, powders and potions on the market, it’s no wonder we are heavier as a nation than we have ever been in history. One of the things that we all seem to desire is a perfectly flat and well toned abdominal area. In this article we will briefly look at creating that perfect six-pack and the three best abs exercises.
There are primarily two reasons why we want to look good. Firstly we want to look good because it makes us feel good. When you feel good about your body it gives you an inner sense of pride and esteem for your ‘self’. Secondly, we want to look good to others because this makes us more attractive to them. In our culture there seems to be an emphasis on looking good and it is one of those things we value. A great body is something that is both valued and admired and looking good obviously makes you feel more ‘worthy’ and admired.
Well toned abdominal muscles (abs) or a six-pack, as it is commonly referred to, is in many ways a symbol of health and fitness. Mainly because it is probably the most problematic area of anyone’s body. We therefore value it highly and someone with six-pack abs must be incredibly committed, healthy, fit and strong – or at least that is the ‘hidden’ reasoning behind it and that is why you subconsciously want great abs. So, how do you get those great abs? Here are the three best abs exercises:
Best Abs Exercise #1 – Sit-Ups
This is the one that everybody seems to know about but the majority of people do wrong. Remember that the smallest adjustments can make all the difference and we want our workouts to be as effective as possible to get the most out of every minute we exercise. Here’s how to do proper sit ups:
Lie flat on the floor with your legs stretched out and your arms beside you. Lift your knees up by bringing your feet closer towards your body – about the distance from your heels to your carve muscle. Cross your hands over your chest and lift your body all the way up so that even your lower back lifts off the floor. Stay there for about 3 seconds and then gently lower yourself. Repeat about 20 of these in 3 to 4 sets, but don’t strain yourself – especially if you haven’t done it for a while. As you build your ab muscles you can start making it more challenging by sitting on an inclined bench or by holding a weight over your chest.
Best Abs Exercise #2 – Crunches
Once again, lying flat on your back, pull your legs towards your body slightly. With your arms crossed over your chest tighten your abs by ‘pulling’ your abdomen towards your spine as you inhale. Now lift your shoulders off the floor and don’t lift your body all the way up – you just need to lift your shoulders to tighten your abs. As you lift your shoulders you want to exhale. Stay there for about 3 seconds and gently lower your shoulders. In the lowered position you should relax your abs. Now repeat.
The key here is to focus only on your abdominal area as you do this. Flexing your abs and proper breathing is essential – remember that your breathing originates in your abdomen with your diaphragm. Repeat 10 to 20 times and do 3 to 4 sets of these.
Best Abs Exercise #3 – Leg Lifts
Your abs are a very important muscle group as it is a ‘pivot point’ in your body. With leg lifts we use this deliberately to tone our abs. Lie flat on your back with your legs extended and your arms beside you. Place your hands flat on the floor beside you and in this position, with your legs straight, lift your legs up as far as you can. Preferably your legs should be up in a 90 degree angle with the floor, but this might be difficult for some at first. Then, slowly lower your legs, but do not let your feet touch the ground. Repeat 10 to 20 times and do 3 to 4 sets of these.
These three exercises are by no means the only way to get great abs. In my opinion they are the best abs exercises, but you still have to combine them with proper cardiovascular exercise like running, swimming or cycling as it will help you loose weight while also targeting the abdominal muscles. And last, but not least, you have to control your diet. Fatty foods tend to ‘gather’ around the abdominal area which might make your workouts worthless.