By now you’ve probably seen one of those stunning TV ads with the actors with the perfect washboard board abs, and have been wondering how they managed to attain such a magnificent physique. Well, the obvious answer would be that they probably subjected themselves to some kind of rigorous abdominal workout routine. But not all workouts are equal so the key is finding one that actually produces results and not just tire you out.
Probably the oldest and most effective abdominal training method is the floor crunch. In this position, you lie prone on the floor with your hands clasped behind your head. Then you use your hands to pull yourself up into a sitting position. The force exerted on the core by this maneuver really tests your abdominal muscles causing them to strengthen over time, giving them that coveted washboard look. This exercise can be made even more effective by raising the knees into a stationary position, or raising them in concert with the raising of your torso.
Modern-day health enthusiasts, however, have developed a number of other exercises that they feel will produce even better results than the crunch. One such innovation is called the “Spiderman.” In the Spiderman you also start out in the prone position, but instead of lying on your back, you lie face down. Then you raise your upper body up on your forearms while the weight of your lower body is supported on the toes of your feet. From this position you simulate a high step move—bending the leg at the knee and bringing it forward—just as you would if you were standing upright, alternating between one leg and the other. The tension on the abs created by this Spiderman-like position gives your entire core a thorough workout and the results are reflected in the rock-hard abs you develop.
There’s no law that says a good abdominal workout can’t be accomplished with the use of props. Some health enthusiasts have realized surprising and positive results from combining weights and other instruments that adds to the tension the core is subjected to. One such instrument is the cable. The cable can be rubber or pneumatic, as long as it produces resistance. Simply stand erect holding the cable with both hands and the legs spread slightly apart. Then, turn your body to the right, then back to the center, then to the left. Repeat the maneuver as many ties as you like—or feel comfortable with doing. The torque applied to the core from this exercise has been known to produce substantial, positive results.
For the next abdominal workout on our list, we return to the floor again. For this amazingly effective workout, you assume the same position you would as if you were about to perform the crunch exercise. Only this time, instead of raising and lowering the body continuously, you pull both your upper and lower up and hold the position. Then, with your hands still clasped behind your head, you bring your right elbow forward and touch it on your left knee. Then, alternate between the right and left for several minutes for a complete workout. You can actually feel the tension this maneuver exerts upon the core, so you know your abs are getting a good workout.
Another exercise in which the crunch has been modified in order to improve upon its effectiveness is the X. In this exercise, you once again lie on your back as if you were going to perform the orthodox crunch maneuver; instead you raise your left leg high into the air while simultaneously raising your right arm. The object is to touch the tip of your toes with the tip of your fingers. As you can see this assuming position contorts the body into a sort of giant X, thus the name of the exercise. But the X is more than just show, as it produces a lot of torque on the core and that tension resonates in some stunning rock-hard abs for you.
There is no dearth of exercises out there with numerous variations and incarnations that you can use to transform your abdominals into one like the enviable models you’ve seen on TV. It’s just a matter of having the willingness to stick with it long enough for the results to take place.