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Best Ab Workout Routine

The best workout for your abs does not necessarily mean that the routine should comprise the most difficult of exercises. You'd be surprised to know that the simplest of exercises, if done right, prove to be the most effective. Read this article to know more about such exercises.
The obsession with a flat tummy in case of women, and that of a six-pack in case of men has reached heights like never before. Obsessing over something is one thing, but actually working towards what you desire is a different story altogether. No doubt that, a flat tummy makes a woman look younger and more taut, and a six-pack lends a chiseled personality to a man, but the amount of effort that goes into achieving it is tremendous. The key is a balanced diet accompanied by a religious and regular ab workout.

The best ab workout routine is one which not only strengthens and firms the abdominal muscles (external oblique as well as internal oblique), but also aims at rectifying the problem areas. So, if you need to work on your upper abdominal area, your ab workout should comprise exercises which affect muscles in that area. Based on their studies and research, scientists, researchers, and many fitness experts have devised exercises which affect specific abdominal muscles and give the desired results.

Guidelines for Performing Abdominal Exercises
  • Abdominal exercises should ideally be performed 3 to 5 times every week.
  • Do NOT be overly-ambitious and start off with too many exercises or repetitions. It is advised that you start slow, but be regular and dedicated towards achieving your goal. After having reached a comfortable fitness level, you may increase the level of difficulty of the exercises and the number of repetitions.
  • Although it is a good practice, it is not necessary to do every ab exercise from the book, you may skip a few which are not really needed.
  • It is also important to keep changing your workout routine, every 6 to 7 weeks, so that you don't get stuck in your comfort zone, and the body doesn't get used to a particular set of exercises. If it does, it stops responding to the workout and you don't really see any changes.
Best Ab Workout Routine - Exercises

Side Bending
Problem Area: Obliques or Love Handles
  • Stand upright with shoulder-width distance between your feet and your knees bent slightly.
  • Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, position it along the right side of your body, and place your left hand at the back of your head.
  • Now, slowly bend sideways to the right until the dumbbell in your hand and your knee are at the same level. Hold this position for a few seconds.
  • Slowly go back to your original upright position.
  • Repeat the exercise for at least 15 times on either sides.
Crunches
Problem Area: Upper Abs
  • Lie down on your back on a yoga mat or a smooth surface. Fold your legs and place your feet on the floor, so that your knees are raised up.
  • Place both your hands at the back of your head to support your neck.
  • Slowly raise your head and shoulders together off the mat and make sure you crunch your ab muscles when you do that.
  • Remember, you are supposed to use your ab muscles when you do this exercise and not your neck muscles, lest you sprain your neck.
  • Hold in the raised position for 5 seconds and then slowly go back to the original position of lying down.
  • Repeat to do 2 sets of 15 repetitions each.
Leg Raises
Problem Area: Upper and Lower Abs
  • Lie down on your back on a mat. Outstretch your legs and place them parallel to the ground on the mat. Place your hands on the ground next to your buttocks.
  • Slowly lift both your 'outstretched' legs off the floor together and keep lifting until they are at a 90 degree angle with the ground. Hold in this position for a few seconds. Next, slowly bring your legs down without bending them, and do NOT let your legs hit the floor. Stop when your legs are at an approximate distance of six inches from the floor.
  • Repeat at least 15 times.
Reverse Curls
Problem Area: Lower Abs
  • Lie down on your back on a yoga mat or a smooth surface. Fold your legs and place your feet on the floor, so that your knees are raised up.
  • Place your hands palm-down on the floor next to your buttocks.
  • Lift your legs off the floor and gradually bring your knees towards your chest. Now slowly contract your abs and lift your buttocks off the floor.
  • Hold in this position for a few seconds before you lower your buttocks and rest them on the floor. Repeat at least 15 times.
Plank Exercise
Problem Area: Weak Ab Muscles
Plank exercises strengthen and maintain stability at the core of the ab muscles.
  • Lie down on your stomach on the floor. Now come into a plank position (hands placed palm-down on the ground in line with your shoulders, palms resting firmly on the ground, body lifted up with the help of your hands in such a way that it is parallel to the ground, feet at a right angle to the ground with only the toes touching the ground), with all your body weight concentrated on your forearms and toes. Your toes should be curled under.
  • Maintain your body posture such that your torso should align itself in a single plane, without any bends or arches in the back.
  • Don't strain your head, keep it relaxed and keep looking at the floor.
  • Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds initially. Later, you can gradually increase the time period for holding this position.
This article mentions general ab exercises. Make sure your workout aims at getting rid of excess fat from the right places and tones down the right ab muscles. Talk with your trainer and discuss which exercises would suit your requirements in the best possible way. To achieve best results, along with these abdominal exercises, cardiovascular exercises and a healthy diet is recommended.
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