What kind of abdominal exercises are most effective and which ones should you avoid

What kind of abdominal exercises are most effective and which ones should you avoid


One thing is to have the abs well worked and another is to show the famous “chocolate tablet”.

We must start from the premise that a well-worked abdomen does not mean that the so-called “chocolate tablet” will be worn.

While the second depends more on proper nutrition, the first is a direct consequence of the exercise.

Having this last clear, the important thing is to know what are the most effective exercises and which should be avoided to strengthen this area of ​​the body, one of the most important to enhance the physical performance of people.

The best known of all, and which is directly associated with abdominal work, is the classic exercise of having your back to the ground, with your legs pulled up and raising your trunk, which in English is known as sit ups .

Man doing crunches.
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Image caption Climbing the body to the knees is one of the most common mistakes when doing sit-ups.

However, over time it was discovered that this routine is one of the least effective for working the abdominal muscles since people often execute it in a bad way , moving the body up to touch the knees.

“By taking off the floor column, the work we are doing in the abdomen is transferred to an internal musculature such as the hip flexors,” Spanish physical trainer Juan Francisco Marco told the BBC.

“This increases the inguinal pressure and also generates a problem, due to overwork, at the lumbar level.”

The formula

Marco advises “look for exercises that focus on the abdominal muscles, the rectus abdominis, such as the crunch or curl , in which there is a shrinkage of the trunk and also works in conjunction with the oblique muscles of the abdomen, which is the lateral musculature “.

Woman doing crunches
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Image caption In the crunch you do not need to take off the lower part of the floor column.

The crunch is an exercise that resembles the starting position of the sit-up , but it differs in that you do not have to take off the lumbar spine from the floor to produce the shrinkage of the trunk.

“This is complemented by activating the transverse muscles of the abdomen, the typical belly-tugging movement, which works a lot on the well-known abdominal muscles,” he added.

This combination would be an ideal starting point.

“To begin an abdominal workout I would recommend starting with a basic exercise such as crunch and then progressing to more complicated exercises , such as adding a bit of weight, like a disc on the chest to have more resistance,” he said. Framework.

“Then finish with some isometric plates, a side plates and then subtracting support points, always depending on the level of people.”

The execution

The Spanish physical trainer clarifies that there are specific cases in which it is possible that one type of exercise is more effective than another, as happens with people who are at a more advanced level, but there are routines such as the so-called chair of the captain -supported in the arms are raised suspended legs- it depends a lot on his execution.

“It’s a great exercise, but something similar to what happens with sit-ups also happens ,” he explained.

Person with abdominal fat
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Image caption A person can have strong abdominal under the layer of fat that covers them.

“If you do it with straight legs, when you raise them until you reach the right angle between the thighs and the abdomen, what you are doing is a work of the hip flexors and less of the abdominal muscles.”

“But if the starting point is that right angle and from there you raise your thighs, if you’re doing an excellent job of rectus abdominis and obliques”.

A similar case occurs with roller shrinking, “a very good hypopressive exercise”, but that being of an advanced level requires hard and strong lumbar muscles, since otherwise it can cause injuries.

Marco also recommended avoiding two versions of popular abdominal exercises.

Women doing crunches.
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Image caption The iron is one of the most effective exercises for the abdominals.

One is the elevation of legs from the floor, when lying on your back and there is an upward movement, since “it is an exercise that involves more flexor muscles of the hip and less of the abdominal.”

This exercise is even more dangerous when the variant is performed in which a person lying down, hold his feet in the air and throw his legs to the ground, having to stop them in the dry before they make contact.

“That is an outrage since there is very serious risk of exaggerated lumbar hyperlordosis , which results in herniated discs,” said Marco.

The other exercise is that of the bicycle.

“What happens is that people stress that it shows a lot in the lower abdomen, but that is also where the flexor muscles pass and confuse the work of this region with that of the abdomen.”

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