I traveled a long way to get some good information last weekend.
If you want to know what the best abdominal exercises are to do...you ask someone who has great looking abs.
The person who taught us this nutrition and exercise class is a natural world champion female body builder.
This is what she had to say about working the abdominals. You only need to do abs three times a week. There are different parts to abdominals like the upper, lower and sides, but you can't separate the abdominal exercise to the point that only that muscle group is being worked.
She said that the best thing that you can do it to simply work your lower abs because they will pull the other abdominal muscles into play and work them as well. She recommended NOT working the oblique or side abs very much. What will happen is that too many obliques will cause your sides to "thicken" up from the extra muscle. In body building, they are trying to obtain an V figure and a thickened waist is opposite to what they are trying to achieve.
I have noticed or felt like that my waist is a little thicker, and I pay careful attention to doing my obliques slowly and methodically.
She gave me four very specific exercise that she does to work her abs. They include the pull-down cable crunches, the leg raise, and decline bench sit-ups, and using the stability ball. I have included a link here so that you can see how these ab exercises are done. The only variation that I did differently than the one in this link was to the stability ball crunches. I talked to a personal trainer at my gym and she showed my how to roll the ball up near to a wall, lay on the ball with your legs extending upward on the wall, until both feet are touching the wall, and then doing crunches from there. So, it's like doing decline sit-ups except your laying on a ball and your legs are pressing upward on the wall at an incline.
The first time I tried doing the incline sit-ups, it was very hard for me to get up all the way. The pull-down cable crunches were easier. The ball crunches were challenging, and I haven't tried the leg raises yet.
It seemed to me that my lower abs were weak. As strange as it may seem, I'm very excited about that. This means that I will see a big improvement to my lower abs because they aren't as strong. In fact, I could be imagining it, but I don't think I am, my belly is already flatter from just one session.
She recommended doing each of these ab exercises in three sets of 15 repetitions, with each set being done slowly and purposefully.
I will be doing only one oblique ab exercise a week. The rest will be these lower ab exercises. If you do not have access to a gym to use this equipment, I would suggest looking online for examples of "at-home" lower ab exercises that you can do. I've already seen that there are many variations out there.
I'm so excited about learning this information and passing it onto you. With so many different ways to do abs, it's very hard to pick and choose which is the best way. This really helps narrow the field.
Well, I think that's it for now. I hope you're all having a great day!