The Truth : Abs Exercises Are Not Only for Weight Loss

Abs exercises are integral parts of the famous diet "Truth About Abs", but they are not only for getting that shaped waist and abdomen, it can also help in the following aspects:

- They can help with back problems
- They impart a better posture and sitting the right way
- They bring a sexy waistline
- Strong abs can help you perform other exercises better, examples are :
* Back exercises
* Exercises that involve lifting legs

In fact abs muscles are the true workhorses of the body, as they are essential to posture, spinal alignment and support, balance, and all movement, both everyday movements as well as exercise.

The abs exercises that serve that purpose are best performed when you do not have a layer of fat on the abs muscle, otherwise it would be a bit harder.
They are called firm abs exercises and include:


Firm Abs Exercise number 1: Torso

* Place an exercise mat on the floor, lie on your back, hands behind your head, elbows open (almost touching the floor), keep your knees bent, and place them hip-width apart.
    * Inhale, while breathing out, lift your torso from the floor and look up towards the ceiling.
    * Your elbows should be open at all times. Come halfway up and all the way up (the same level as your knees). Do 5 sets of 5 each.
    * This exercise is performed from your stomach and not your hands. So, don't push your head up because you might just strain your neck in the process.

Firm Abs Exercise number2: Obliques


    * Place an exercise mat on the floor, lie on your back, hands behind your head, elbows open (almost touching the floor), keep you knees bent, and place them hip-width apart.
    * Inhale, bend your legs up, parallel to the floor and bring your left hand out to place it flat on the floor (on your side).
    * As you breathe out, bring your shoulder blades off the floor, raise yourself up, and twist to your left.
    * Inhale again and bring yourself back to starting position. Perform the same movement on your right side. Do 2 sets of 5 on each side.
    * This exercise is performed from your stomach and not your hands. Keep your spine as straight as possible while doing this exercise.

Firm Abs Exercise number 3: Obliques

* Place an exercise mat on the floor, lie on your back, hands behind your head, elbows open (almost touching the floor), keep you knees bent, and place them hip-width apart.
    * Inhale and bring your shoulder blades off the floor. At the same time, elevate your legs off the floor, keep right leg straight, and bring your left leg toward the chest.
    * As you come up, twist your torso to the right side, hold to a second, and then come back down to the floor.
    * Inhale and come back to starting position. Perform the same movement on your left side. Do 2 sets of 5 each on both sides.

Firm Abs Exercise number 4: Waist

* Place an exercise mat on the floor, lie on your back, arms stretched behind you, keep your knees bent, and place them hip-width apart.
    * Inhale and bring your arms in front, diagonally raised toward the ceiling. As you breathe out, raise your shoulder blades off the floor and lower your arms, keeping them parallel to the floor.
    * Contract your abs, push your lower back in the floor, and hold for couple of seconds. Inhale and bring yourself back to starting position.
    * Do 10 sets of 5 each. If this exercise is a bit difficult for you, to assure that you're doing it properly, place a thick book between your knees for support.

Firm Abs Exercise number 5: Waist

* Place an exercise mat on the floor, lie on your back, arms stretched behind you, keep you knees bent (closer to the chest), and keep them hip-width apart.
* Inhale, straighten your legs up toward the ceiling and hold them there. Also, bring your arms up and keep them parallel to the legs.
* Bend your knees just a bit toward the chest as the arms come up. Breathe out and bring yourself back to starting position. Do 10 sets of 5 each.

Abs Exercise with Ball

Another types of firm abs exercise is abs exercise with ball and workouts to do at home.

Abs Exercises With Ball : 1
This exercise is similar to the crunches that are done on the floor. To do this exercise, lie with your mid and lower back resting on the ball. Support your neck with your hands. Contract your abdominal muscles, as you lift your torso off the ball, but make sure the ball is stable. You can start off with 1 set of 10 to 12 repetitions. This is an excellent ab exercise with ball for the upper abdominal region.

Abs Exercises With Ball : 2

The next of the abdominal exercises with ball is the oblique crunch. Sit in a upright position on the exercise ball, but keep your feet flat on the floor. Now slowly walk your feet forward, so that the ball is positioned on lower to mid back area. Support your neck with your hands and slowly lift your torso off the ball and twist to the right side first. Slowly lower down your torso, to repeat the same on the left side. While you do this exercise, you will have to make sure, that your head and back are in a neutral position.

Abs Exercises With Ball : 3

This is a wonderful lower ab exercises with ball. To do this exercise, lie on the floor and lift your feet off the floor, to make a 90 degree angle. Hold the ball between your legs and support your lower back with your hands. Keeping the ball between your feet, lift your buttocks off the floor and slowly return back to the starting position. It is recommended, that you do not swing your legs, when you do this exercise.

Abs Exercises With Ball : 4

This exercise targets the lower abdominal muscles. To do this exercise, sit and place the exercise ball between your legs. Place your hands behind you, for support. Now slowly straighten your legs in the air, then bring them closer to your chest. Make sure the ball does not touch the floor.

Abs Exercises With Ball : 5

To do this exercise, place the ball in front of you. Contract your abdominal muscles and pull your belly button towards your spine. Slowly roll the ball forward, till you are not straining or arching your back. Push the elbows into the ball and squeeze the abs, as you pull the body and ball back to the starting position. A word of caution is, this exercise is to be avoided if you have any back problems.

When you are doing these ab exercises with ball, it is advisable to use the wall as a prop by pushing the ball into the wall. This will provide the stability required to do these exercise. If you feel pain, while doing any of the exercises, it is better to avoid those exercises. The best is to talk to your health care professional about the exercises, before your start them.

Swiss Ball Ab Exercises

Before you do the abs:    
- Sink your back slightly when you're on the ball by rounding your entire back.
- The rest of your body, mainly your legs, will work as an anchor. But if you experience any issues or uneasiness during the Swiss ball abdominal exercises, discontinue immediately and start fresh.

Crunches

* Place the ball on the floor and lie on it with your lower back and upper hips resting on it.
    * You can keep your arms behind your head or in a crossed position over the chest. If you choose to place them behind your head, make sure your elbows are stretched out and pointing toward the sides (not the ceiling).
    * Take a deep breath and as you exhale, contract your abs so you can lift your torso off the ball. Meanwhile, you will push the bottom of your ribcage toward your hips.
    * Come back down slowly and inhale. Try to keep the ball as stable as possible so that it won't roll away. Repeat this exercise for 12 - 16 reps.

Ball Exchange


    * Lie straight on the floor and hold the ball with your hands. Stretch your hands above your head and keep the ball above the floor.
    * With feet touching each other, raise them and slowly transfer the ball from your hands to your ankles. Your legs should be straight pointing toward the ceiling.
    * Keep the ball steady by applying light pressure into the ball with your ankles.
    * Bring your hands over your shoulder and this time, the ball will go down toward the floor with your ankles.
    * Make sure you're not touching the floor with the ball. It needs to stay slightly elevated in the air.
    * Reverse the entire exercise and start again. Repeat 8 - 10 times.

Elevated Push Ups

* This exercise not only works the abdominal muscles, but also concentrates on the pecs, shoulders, and triceps.
    * Place the ball on the floor and very carefully, keep your stomach over the ball with your hands on the floor to support you.
    * While looking down at the floor, keep your face low, slide the ball toward your knees, and angle your entire upper body parallel to the floor.
    * Keep looking down and elevate yourself off the floor with your hands.
    * Bend your elbows and lower your upper body to bring it back to the starting position. Remember to keep breathing normally while doing the Swiss ball ab exercises. Repeat 8 - 10 times.

Ab Twist

* Place the ball on the floor and lie with your shoulder blades and neck on it. Keep your knees bent and the rest of the body parallel to the floor.
    * Raise your hands toward the ceiling and form a namaste gesture.
    * Bring your hands toward your left side first and twist from your waist. Your legs will work as anchors and keep you steady on the ball. Balance yourself and once you feel that the ball won't roll away, come back to the starting position where your hands were pointing toward the ceiling.
    * Do the same on your right hand side. Repeat this exercise 15 times on both the side.

The Ab Crunch

The ab crunch is one of the best abdominal exercises for building ab muscles. Start this exercise by lying down on the floor with your back facing the floor. Now, bend the knees and place your hands below the head. Raise your upper body and tighten the buttocks. Make sure that the lower back is straight. The abdominal muscles will contract. Be in this position for a moment and ten return back to the starting position. Repeat this 10-15 times per set, and perform 2-3 sets to bring the abs in the proper shape.

Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle crunches is one of the most effective abs workout for women. To perform this exercise, you don't require any weight training equipment. Bicycle crunches promote increase in strength of abs that is crucial for a healthy body. This is one of the best exercises to tone abs. Women consistently doing bicycle crunches show significant improvement in their core muscles that include the back, abs, and pelvic muscles.

Begin this exercise by lying down with your back touching the floor. With your hands resting behind the head and legs straight, lift your shoulders and neck off the floor. Bending the left leg into the chest, move it towards the right elbow. Now, extend your leg in such a way that it makes a 45 degree angle with the floor. Repeat this bicycle movement for the right leg with your shoulders off the floor. Repeat this procedure for 10-15 times for each leg.

Ball Crunches (Abdominal Exercises on the Ball)

This exercise is challenging as the abdominal crunches are performed by keeping a large stability ball underneath your back. Firstly, sit on the ball and then slide your body forward, until the hips are just touching the ball. In other words, your upper and lower back as well as your shoulders should be in contact with the ball, while the hip is slightly off the ball. The feet touch the ground, and are shoulder distance apart. Now raise your upper body by lifting the shoulder blades. You will feel a crunch in your abdomen. Be in this position for around 1-2 seconds and then slowly return back to your original position. Repeat this 10-15 times per set, and perform 2-3 sets for the best results.

Hanging Knee Raises

One of the better exercises for lower abs, hanging knee raises requires equipment such as a pull bar. Hold a high bar with both hands and pull yourself in the upward direction in such a way that your body hangs freely with your feet not in contact with the floor. Bending your legs, raise your knees and make sure that your knees are above your hips. Remain in this position for a second and then go back to your starting position. You can also use elbow straps to support your body.

Push-Ups

The push-up exercise is one of the common type of different workouts to do at home. It helps in strengthening the chest muscles. To perform this exercise, one should place the palms on the floor at a distance of shoulder-width from each other. The toes need to be kept together and the arms should be extended. The chest should be lowered until it touches the floor and then lifted back to the original position. While one performs this exercise, the chest muscles should be stretched while the body is lowered and flexed when it is raised to the original position.

The inverted Push-Up is another form of the push-up exercise which helps strengthen the shoulder muscles. The difference between the inverted push-up and the above mentioned exercise is that in the former, the legs need to be placed on a chair while performing the push-up.

Side-to-Side Lunge

This exercise is performed in order to strengthen the leg muscles. One should first stand with a shoulder-width distance between the feet, place the hands on the hips and keep the torso in an erect position. The right leg should be lifted and placed sideways, as far away as possible from the body. The knees should be bent at an angle of 90 degrees. The left leg should not be moved in the whole process. The right leg should be brought back to its original position by flexing the thigh muscles.

Body Weight Squats

Body weight squats are performed to exercise the muscles of legs and thighs, especially the hamstring, quads and glutes. Before one starts the exercise, the body should be positioned in a manner that the legs be placed at shoulder-width. The squat should be performed by bending both the knees at 90 degrees. The lower back should be arched and the body should be positioned in a manner that resembles sitting in a chair. During the descent, i.e. lowering the body, care should be taken to see that the knees don't bend past the toes. Once the body is lowered to the bottom position, it should be raised back to the original position by flexing the quads, glutes and hamstring muscles.

Deadlift

It is a weight lifting exercise performed with the help of a barbell that is placed in front. It is a good exercise in order to stretch the back and thighs. A hip-width distance should be maintained between the feet while in a standing position, to perform this exercise. One should first squat down and hold the barbell with an overhand grip outside the knees. While one lifts the barbell, the pressure should be put on the feet, especially the heels. The hips and knees should be extended while the bar is being lifted. The process of lifting the bar should be continued till the standing position is reached. While keeping the weight back to its original position, the same process mentioned above should be carried out, but in a reverse order.

Windshield Wipers

In this exercise, you are supposed to lie on your back with your legs perpendicular to the floor. Then rotate your legs all the way to the left and all the way to the right in a windshield wipers-like motion. This is one cycle. Do 10 such repetitions. But make sure your hips stay planted on the ground.

Jack-knife

For trying this exercise out, along with a conditioned ab muscle, you also need a strong lower back. Here you have to lie on your back and simultaneously lift your legs along with your upper body and try to touch your toes. Hold this position for 3 seconds. Do 10 repetitions.

Russian Twist

Lie on your back on a declined bench. Position your body so that your torso and thighs are perpendicular to each other. Then move in a semi-circular motion from left to right. This is the one of the most difficult exercises in the best ab workout for men, as there is no 'rest position'. Do this motion for 60 seconds.

Leg Raises

Lie flat on a mat, place legs straight and hands on sides or pressed under the bottom. Contract the abdomen muscles and slowly raise one leg off the floor about six to seven inches, and hold it there for a couple of seconds, or until you start feeling a strain around the lower spine. While performing this exercise make sure that the lower back is firmly on the ground. Repeat as many as times you are comfortable doing it. Perform the same exercise by raising both legs simultaneously and follow the same steps as for the one leg raises.

Arm Crunches

Lie flat on the back and raise the hands straight up and behind the head. Clasp the hands together. Keep the arms straight and close to the ears. Lift the shoulder off the floor and contract the abdomen muscles. Make sure the arms don't bend. Release the hand, keep one in the air and place the other below the head and hold that position for 30 seconds. Repeat the same process with the other hand. Repeat as many as times you want to, without feeling a strain on the neck.

Pelvic Tilt

Lie flat on the back, with legs stretched out straight. Raise and fold the knees with feet flat on the floor. Place hands on the side and contract the stomach muscles. Push the arch of the back towards the floor. Squeeze bottom tight while doing it. Hold the position till the count of five, relax and repeat six times.

The truth? abs exercises alone may let you gain six pack abs, but to keep on them you should choose the right nutrition together with the exercise.

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