4 Smart Exercises To Fully Engage The Abs

CoachMel Exercise 16 Comments

Achieving a lean mid-section can be a drawn-out process, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

But, with the right exercises, you can get those muscles working, and move closer towards the results you want.

One big mistake you may be making as you go through your workouts, is that you aren’t fully focusing on the actual ab contractions taking place.

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Because of this, you won’t see anywhere close to the benefits you should from the effort you are making.

To recruit all the muscle fibers in the ab area, you need to zero in and focus on only those muscles contracting.

The more you can isolate them, the harder they will be working. You should aim to keep the other muscles in your body as relaxed as possible. This will help you to perform the movement pattern more effectively.

So, let’s have a quick look at four smart exercises, which you should include in your workout program, to get those abs fully engaged.

4 Exercises for Abs

1. Lying leg raise

The lying leg raise is a fantastic movement to work the lower ab muscles, as well as the hip flexors.

The key thing to remember though, is to avoid letting your feet drop all the way to the floor.

Instead, try lowering them down, so that they are just hovering above the ground, before raising them up again. This helps maintain that constant degree of tension in the muscles, and make sure you get the full benefit of the exercise.

Also, keep your back pressed flat against the floor at all times, to help prevent lower back pain.

2. Plank on an exercise ball

The plank exercise is a great choice to work the entire abdominal core. However, to increase demand on the muscle tissues, move this to an exercise ball.

Place your hands on top of the ball like you would a standard plank movement, and maintain the position from here. It’s important that you avoid letting your back drop lower, but rather, keep it flat like a tabletop. Hold for up to one minute, before resting again.

3. Weighted decline sit-ups

To help build more abdominal strength, weighted decline sit-ups are an excellent option.

For these, you simply position yourself in a decline ab bench, while holding a weighted plate across your chest. Then, lean back into the sit-up position, and complete the standard crunch movement.

This will also work your hip flexors.

4. Bicycle exercise

To finish your ab workout and target the oblique muscles, try the bicycle exercise.

For this one, try to keep your legs elevated off the floor at all times, and be sure to twist as far to one side and then the other as possible. This will fully engage your oblique muscles, and help to give you that ‘razor’ look along the sides of the stomach.

Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Place your hands beside your head. Bring your knees up to about 45 degree angle, and slowly go through a bicycle pedal motion, touching your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee.

So, that’s it… your exercises for abs workout plan. Why not give it a try, and let me know how you get on 🙂

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Comments 16

    1. Melanie

      Hi Glenn,
      I’m wondering if it might be a Yoga/Pilates-type move, and maybe why you haven’t heard of it!! But, don’t let that put you off, it’s a great exercise 🙂

      Here’s a quick YouTube video to show you how to perform the plank exercise.

      What do you think?

  1. Lisa Paule

    Hi Melanie,

    I LOVE your site, and you can be guaranteed that you have a subscriber for life in me. It is not often that one finds such great advice and tips in one site. thanks for providing such great information, and I must say this article spoke to me. I have recently lost 15 pounds, but my mid section still needs a lot of work.i will definitely be putting these tips into use the next chance I get.
    .-= Lisa Paule´s last blog ..I Want To Lose Weight- But I Still Love My Chocolate And Alcohol =-.

  2. shaik

    You would not believe it but i have wasted all day digging for some articles about this. You are a lifesaver, it was an excellent read and has helped me out to no end. Cheers,
    .-= shaik´s last blog ..children obesity =-.

  3. Patrick

    Hi Melanie!

    you definitely have a nice blog and you seem to know quite alot about the subject 🙂 I’m definitely subscribing to your blog for further reference if you dont mind hehe.

    I have one quick question also if you dont mind.. What would you consider the best exercise to isolate the lower parts of our abs? From your article I’d think number 1 & 3 are best at working the lower parts but in overall.. what’s your take?

    Thanks again and Congrats on your beautiful BLOG!
    .-= Patrick´s last blog ..How To Work Lower Abs Tips =-.

  4. Glenn

    Hello again Melanie! I just realised I didn’t reply to your question!!!
    What do I think? It is tough enough, doing press-ups really strictly would have a similar effect maybe, keeping torso and legs perfectly in line?

    1. Melanie

      It is tough, isn’t it!! Yes, that would have a similar effect. A modified plank is sometimes recommended, too, which is when you keep your knees on the floor (feet on the floor or raised) to make it a bit easier.

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