What are the best stomach exercises is a question that seems to be on everybody’s mind. Every day there are more and more quick abs routines popping up all over the place.
From 8 sec. abs to the latest belly buster 3000. These companies target consumers looking for the most effective and less time consuming way to tone there belly’s. But do you really need their products to get the best stomach exercises? Read on and that answer will be revealed.
Science For The Stomach.
A recent study conducted with an EMG machine which recorded activity in the upper and lower belly as well as the obliques when test subject performed popular abdominal exercises. The activity in the hip flexors was also recorded.
Using the EMG data, they where able to determine which are the best stomach exercises. Movements that recorded the highest activity in the abs and obliques while maintaining less activity in the hip flexors where ranked higher than exercises that involved the hip flexors. The reason being that once the hip flexors become involved, it dramatically reduces the effectiveness of the movement.
The Studies results.
Movements that require constant rectus abdominis stabilization registered the highest muscle activities. While rotating or twisting movement targeted the obliques. The obliques where also called on to maintain balance. The best stomach exercises incorporates all three.
Surprisingly the basic stomach crunch is not among the most effective but it did prove to be 80% more effective than the late night infomercial gizmo the Ab-Rocker. And the Ab-Roller showed no benefits coming in ranked almost even. So why spend the 100 plus dollars on ab machines that prove to have no benefits.
The torso track was also tested. It is slightly more effective than the crunch but the test subjects complained about lower back discomfort while using the device.
The Best Stomach Exercises – Ranked From best To Worst.
The Bicycle Crunches. This one ranked the best due to its constant tension on the abs and its twisting motion on the obliques working the entire abdominal area.
Lie on the floor with your legs bent and in the air so that your lower leg is parallel to the floor. Hands behind your head, move your left knee in and touch it with your right elbow while you crunch up. Alternate for left to right for about 1 minute for each set. Use slow controlled movements.
Ranked #1 – Overall
Ranked #2 – For obliques
Captains Chair. A close second best stomach exercises, this is one of the most popular at the gym and for good reason. When your legs are dangling below you it force the entire abdominals to stabilize the core including the obliques. This is one of the only exercises that place constant tension on the obliques.
Ranked #2 – Overall
Ranked #1 – For obliques
Swiss Ball Crunches. If you really want an abdominal machine at home, the Swiss ball is your best choice. Although it recorded less activity in the obliques and overall ab area than the top 2, it also involved the hip flexors the least making it the best isolation movement of all.
Ranked #3 – Overall
Ranked #6 – For obliques
Vertical leg Crunch. Not to be mistaken with the reverse crunch (see below). There is a misconception or a myth that once you raise your legs you are only working out the lower abs. This is simply false. First let me explain how to perform vertical leg crunches and you will see why this is false.
Start by lying on your back with your legs straight up pointing at the ceiling. Keeping your lower back on the floor at all times, reach up and try to touch your toes.
As you can see by the movement the entire belly is involved and the obliques serve as stabilizers making it more effective than the reverse crunch.
Ranked #4 – Overall
Ranked #5 – For obliques
Torso Track Machine. As stated earlier, only barely more effective that the ab crunches but significantly less than the top 3.
Ranked #5 – Overall
Ranked #7 – For obliques
Long Arm Crunches. Basically the movement is the same as the stomach crunch except instead of putting your hand behind your head, you reach your arms straight above your head as you contract your abdominals. Records a little more activity in the upper, lower and obliques. Think of it as an advance basic.
Ranked #6 – Overall
Ranked #9 – For obliques
Reverse Crunch. Only slightly better than the crunch but ranked third for working the obliques. Traditionally seen as a lower ab exercise it also works the obliques. Reverse ab crunches exercise is described here.
Ranked #7 – Overall
Ranked #3 – For obliques
Heel Push Crunches. Another variation of the basic. While in the crunch position, point your toes up keeping your heels on the floor. At the top of the movement push your heels and your lower back to the floor.
Ranked #8 – Overall
Ranked #8 – For obliques
Ab-Roller machine. As stated before definitelly not worth the money or the best stomach exercises as they claim.
Ranked #9 – Overall
Ranked #10 – For obliques
Ranked #10 – Overall
Ranked #4 – For obliques
Basic Crunch. This was the base exercise for which all others where compared to. I described more in detail here stomach crunches.
Ranked #11 – Overall
Ranked #11 – For obliques
Resistant Band Pulls. The band simply adds resistance to the crunch. It is less effective as the body uses the neck muscles to counter the resistance. You perform it by holding the bands with your hands next to your ears as you perform half sit-ups.
Ranked #12 – Overall
Ranked #12 – For obliques
Ab-Rocker. Blah!!! I won’t even waist your time by describing anything about it.
Ranked #13 – Overall
Ranked #13 – For obliques
These results reflect the average response the men and women in this study had to each exercises. Some individuals responded to some exercises better than others. On this note let me suggest that you listen to your body. If an exercise does not feel right don’t do it and replace it with another.
You should try to include at least two movements that ranked in the top four. Do these 2-3 times per week with at least one day rest in between.
This scientific study shows that you do not need expensive ab machines to strengthen your abs. The best stomach exercises require only the floor and a little knowledge.