Well-defined abs is what every person you see working out wants. The only factor that guarantees this “Holy Grail” of fitness is a healthy diet. Trainers like to say that muscles are made in the gym but six-packs are made in the kitchen. Certain exercises, however, can help tremendously.
Crunches have fallen out of favor with many trainers and doctors. The exercise puts too much pressure on your neck and lower back. The abs are tense the entire time which doesn’t make your body move better. Back pain can occur from too much flexion in the spine and from the many repetitions.
The truth is that you can work your abs on every single exercise by bracing the muscle group. There are four types of abdominal muscles – the rectus abdominis (the 6-pack muscle), the internal obliques (inner sides), external obliques (outer sides) and the transverse abdominis. The last one – the muscle that creates the lines of definition on the side of your core – is the deepest of the four.
You can also make an abs move eccentric. Although not recommended daily, this kind of training can be beneficial because you are moving slower. The body is thus better learning how and what muscles to engage.
Getting a good workout when pushed for time is possible. Research has shown that intense training for a shorter period of time is more beneficial than sweating for 60 minutes on a treadmill. Do a combination of several exercises on the following list for a few minutes – and you will feel the burn. One minute of grueling moves can be comparable in its physiological effects to 45 minutes of a milder workout routine, according to a recent study.