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Remembering that you cannot lose the belly fat simply by doing abs it is still essential that you have strong abs as part of a healthy core.  Here is a list of the most effective ab movements based on research from the American Council on Exercise...

8. Ab Roller - Move into a hands and knees position with the ab roller in your hands.  Slowly move your hands away from your knees, focusing on getting your hips as low to the ground as possible.  Do not move your arms without lowering your hips or you lose the effect on your abs.

7. Toe Touches (Cherry Pickers) - Lay on your back with your legs straight up in the air, perpendicular to your body.  Crunch up and touch your toes, or ankles, with your fingers, then slowly lower your body back down to the floor.

6. Reverse Crunch - Lay on your back with your legs in the air, but your knees bent to 90 degrees.  Slowly contract your abs and bring your knees towards your chest, lifting your butt off of the floor.  Then slowly let your butt back down to the floor.

5. Long Arm Crunch - Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor like a normal crunch.  Extend your arms straight above your head, and do a crunch reaching high into the sky.  Do not let your arms move forward past your head or you lose the added benefit of the movement.

4. V Crunches (V-Ups) - Lay on your back in a flat position with your legs out flat and your arms extended above your head.  Pull your body up into a V position like a toe touch, and then slowly lower both your legs and arms back down to the floor into the starting position.

3. Ball Crunch - Lay back on the ball with your feet comfortably and securely on the floor.  Slowly lower your body back over the ball, but do not let your hips move.  Then slowly raise back up in a crunch motion, but do not let your hips drop down!

2. Hanging Leg Raise - Use either a captains chair or hanging straps.  Slowly pull your knees up to your chest, focusing on moving your hips up and underneath you towards your chest.  concentrate on using your abs to curl your hips up, not you hip flexors to lift your legs.

1. Bicycle Crunch - Lay on your back and spin your legs as if you were riding a bike.  Touch your ears with your hands, and while your legs spin bring 1 elbow up to the opposite knee as it comes in.  Try to touch your knee and elbow together every repetition.

None of these exercises are effective without proper form, so make sure that you are comfortable with them before you perform them.  Also, some of them require an abdominal strength that all people do not have, so make sure that you seek professional assistance before you attempt them.  Good luck.

5/26/2010 08:09:38 am

How bout more stabilization moves like plank, side planks and pallof presses??? Our core musculature is designed primarily to stabilize, such as resisting lumbar flexion and rotation... ;)

Love the blog Matt, keep it coming!!

5/27/2010 12:53:46 am

Good point Bobert. This was done using EKG and checking electrical innervation only on the Rectus Abdominus, internal and external Obliques. These 8 exercises showed the highest muscular innervation, as would be expected as opposed to more stabilization movements which would maintain a more minor contraction versus concentric and eccentric contractions. It was not tested to show which exercises had the greatest impact on overall health or core stabilization, which would likely have been a more appropriate test for the general population! Thanks.

12/8/2013 10:59:41 pm

Hello mate, great blog.


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