Have you been doing core workouts and wondering when you will see the results?
The journey to 6-pack abs isn’t the easiest. That doesn’t stop millions of men and women from trying to achieve that chiseled look. The perception of obtaining abs has been viewed as genetic or only for the super athletic. The good news is that this isn’t the case.
Many often try and fail not only because of this mindset but because they lack in one area or another. The main issues people suffer from is a lack of a proper diet and workout routine. Having a poor diet can sometimes make or break your ability to get some definition.
Working out tends to be the most prominent problem many people face. You will often hear, “Why don’t I have abs when I do 100s of crunches a day?” or “I eat right and exercise, but I still don’t have abs.” The problem lies in the type of exercises they do or the time they’re putting in.
Today we covered the most effective core workout routines to get you shredded. The best part is, they’re all backed by science.
Note: Before beginning any diet or exercise plan, consult with your doctor.
Your core is where your body’s motion takes place. You may be surprised to learn that even the smallest movements are done through your center. When your core is weak or inflexible, your arms and legs can have impaired function.
A strong core will provide you with stability and balance. It can also help when it comes to injuries and falls when doing activities. You need your abs to perform the following functions:
• Daily activities
Sitting, cleaning, standing, bending over to tie your shoe, and getting dressed rely on your abs. You may not even notice how it relies on it until you are having trouble or pain.
• Your job
Jobs that involve heavy lifting; twisting; or standing all tap into your core muscles. Those that work office jobs are still relying on their core when they sit, use a computer, or even when answering the phone. This is because these tasks involve your back muscles. Having poor posture or not taking frequent breaks can cause you to be sore and stiff.
• Your back
Lower back pain is often affected by an inferior core. Exercises for strengthening the core may help prevent tenderness and injuries.
Almost any sport you partake in will require using your abs. Even sexual activities engage the core muscles as well.
Your core is what makes your body stable and able to move in any direction without losing your balance. Therefore, strengthening your core is often associated with the prevention of falling.
• Your posture
Having a weak core puts a strain on the spine and can affect your ability to breathe correctly, walk, and cause back pain and problems.
Building a strong core doesn’t only help with exercise, but it also helps in your daily activities. While you must work on having a strong core, you should work your hip and back muscles too. This diligence will prevent injuries and allow you to peak at your athletic performances.
Not maintaining a strong core can cause many health problems regardless if you’re an athlete or not. It should be noted that building strong abdominals will not only require exercise but a healthy diet too. While that may not seem to make sense to some, eating healthy will improve your overall health and nourish your body as you’re working out also.
Does Working Out My Abs Do Anything?
The answer is yes! Indeed, working out your abdominals won’t give you abs the same way that working out your arms and legs will. This is because you need to have a low body fat percentage to see remarkable results.
This fact doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t work your abs in the meantime. Once you lower your body fat percentage, your abdominals will start to show that six-pack look. How do you lower your body fat percentage or body mass index (BMI)?
Start by eating a healthier diet. The saying goes, “abs are made in the kitchen” for a reason. Eating a well-balanced diet is not only the way to abs but to an overall healthy lifestyle. When you have your food down, you will need to add in some cardio or HIIT (high-intensity interval training).
This, combined with your new eating plan, will reduce your body fat. When your body reaches body fat percentages of 10 to 14%, you’ll start to look ripped. However, this requires you to work on your abdominals. If you don’t practice a core workout, then you won’t have any ab definition.
It’s important to note that if you don’t have a lower body fat percentage but work your abs, it will only strengthen your core, and you won’t have the appearance of abs. You will still reap the benefits of this, though.
A study by the American Council on Exercise ranked the best and worst core workouts based on their effectiveness on your abdominals. The research covered both men and women aged between 20-45. The muscle activity was measured by using electromyography equipment to see how each exercise performed.
Ranked from best to worst, these are the moves you want to add to your core workout.
1. Bicycle Crunches
The study found that this was the most effective exercise for your core. They showed to have activation in the area where your 6-pack muscles are located.
How to Perform Bicycle Crunches
- Lie on your back with your elbows out and your hands behind your back.
- Use your abs to raise your head, shoulders, and neck off the ground.
- Twist to one side while bringing your opposite knee to your chest and use your elbow to meet it.
- Return to starting position and repeat for the opposite side.
2. Captain’s Chair
Please note that The Captain’s Chair is a specific exercise that will require you to visit a gym.
How to Perform on the Captain’s Chair
- Climb into the chair and place your back against the backrest.
- Place your arms and elbows on the armrest with your hands on the handles. Your legs should extend down.
- Engage your abs to pull your knees to your chest.
- Return to starting position and repeat.
3. Crunches on an Exercise Ball
According to the research, this version of the crunch was the third most-effective exercise. The reason it made the top three list was that it had less activity in the legs. While it didn’t show significant movement in the abs or obliques compared to other exercises, it’s considered to be more ab targeted due to the lack of leg activity.
How to Perform Crunches on an Exercise Ball
- Lie on the ball and place your hands in the standard crunch position (behind your head).
- Complete a crunch by engaging your core.
For the most effective workout, it’s recommended you combine several of the exercises listed above to make a 5-minute daily routine. This motion will help you achieve the best results possible.
Everyone’s workout routine will vary from person to person. When it comes to deciding what to add to your routine, here are three additional exercises that you will want to omit from your core workout. They provide fewer results in terms of effectiveness on your abdominals.
1. Traditional Crunch – While the crunch on the medicine ball is on the list for the best, the classic crunch makes the top of the worst. The reason being the added stability and focus on the abs when you’re on the ball rather than this old-school method.
2. Exercise Tubing Pull – Resistance bands are popular in the fitness world. However, according to researches, they don’t add anything special to your core workout.
3. Ab Rocker – Experts estimate that the Ab Rocker is approximately 80% less effective than other ab exercises.
If you are currently doing these exercises, you don’t have to cut them out. In fact, you can still have an effective workout using the standard crunch and the other activities that were ranked lower on the list. The only difference is that it will take longer for the appearance of abs.
The other issue that you could run into is the risk of injury as some of the tools and exercises performed can cause pain or injuries if not done correctly.