Quick, what are the two most popular abdominal muscle exercises? If you answered sit-ups and crunches you are correct. Now the more important question, are they the exercises you should be using?
Let us alleviate your fears to start off with. Those two exercises are on the list of critical abdominal muscle exercises. They target the abs extremely well without putting unnecessary stress on your other body parts. One of the critical factors in avoiding injury and putting stress on your back and other body parts is using proper form. You must keep your knees bent, and do not pull on the back of your head. Putting your hands behind your head is a normal position, but it needs to be a relaxed position, not a leverage point for your arms which could lead to neck strain.
The problem with these two exercises is they only focus on a small part of the abdomen. It may be the largest and most prominent muscle, the rectus abdominis, but it does not do much for your external obliques or your other abdominal muscles. These two exercises tend to focus their work on the upper abdominals and can be better balanced by adding leg pull-ins to your routine. (Bent leg – leg raises)
You will need to add additional abdominal muscle exercises to get the well balanced, powerful abs you really want. If you want the abs of a bodybuilder you are going to want to add gorilla crunches. Make sure you have a strong grip for this exercise. You hang from a bar, and attempt to bring your knees to your chin. Since we are needing to work on our external obliques, pull your knees upwards and to the side to focus the effort outward, alternate between sides. This exercise takes major effort, but gives high results in building powerful abs.
You can add a very similar movement to your leg pull-ins and crunches to work the outer portions of your abdominal muscles. Whenever you make the effort to pull to the side instead of a straight up and down flowing motion you engage additional abdominal muscles increasing the entire area.
Machine crunches and other machine assisted abdominal exercises are extremely effective at helping you isolate muscles further and to build a powerful abdominal area. Do not neglect the importance of losing fat during your exercise efforts. Unless you reduce your body fat those tremendous abdominal muscles will not be on display. They will be hidden behind a pillow.
When abdominal muscles exercises, great nutrition, and reducing your body fat are combined you are going to develop an abdomen everyone will be jealous of. Everyone on the beach will notice your finely developed body. More importantly, a powerful abdomen is the core of your power. It gives you the support to accomplish many amazing feats with transforming your body and becoming stronger. Without the powerful base, you will have difficulty in improving many other parts of your body. Get started today creating the abs you really want.