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Ab workouts have become one of the most popular forms of exercise in recent times. For most people looking to get into shape, having a well defined and visible six pack is the ultimate goal from all the dieting and exercise. Not only does working out your abs help you to look sexy, but there are other numerous health benefits from having a strong core including improved performance in sports and for improvement of several chiropractic problems.
The most popular and basic way to exercise your ab muscles are by doing what’s known as “crunches”. There are also many different ways to perform a crunch and we will look into how to do several of these below.
1. The Basic Crunch
I’m sure most of you out there have tried this one before at one time or another, it is performed by laying on your back with your knees slightly bent and your feet flat on the floor, and with your hands either on your chest or placed behind your head, you slowly lift your upper body off the floor by contracting all of your abdominal muscles. There is no need to completely raise yourself as you will no longer be using your abdominal muscles but three quarters from upright position is sufficient.
This is the perfect exercise to begin strengthening your ab muscles before moving on to the more difficult and strenuous variations of the standard crunch. As the abdominal muscles are some of the quickest to recover, you may if you like, perform ab workouts daily. You need to remember to start slow and build up your repetitions over time.
You also need to remember to do them really slowly, and make sure your ab muscles are doing most of the work, because if you go too fast you will end up using your momentum to lift your body rather than your ab muscles.
2. The Oblique Crunch
If you really want the visible results of an ab workout you should try adding oblique crunches to your exercise workout. Your obliques are also known as your “love handles” and are found on the sides of your body from your waist down to your hips. This type of crunch also works your upper abs and will give you the quickest visual results. It is also good to add this variation of the crunch to ensure all your abdominal muscles are evenly strengthened and toned.
To perform an oblique crunch, you get into the exact same position as a standard crunch but instead of raising your upper body straight up, as you lift, you twist your torso to the left or right (remember to alternate so that you workout both sides of your body) to work out those other muscles. While doing oblique crunches, try to focus on your oblique muscles by contracting them as hard as you can as you lift yourself off the floor. Doing this will add to the intensity of the workout and strengthen them much faster.