What's the best exercise for fast abs? The answer is, it depends! Someone with more body fat to lose would benefit more from high intensity compound exercise routines designed to increase heart rate and maximize calorie burn, while someone who's already 'lean' would see the best results from strengthening-type exercises which target the abdominal area to add definition. That said, people can benefit from both 'forms' of exercise as they both work in synergy towards the common goal of increasing ab visibility.
If you ask a regular gym-goer what the best abs exercise is, there's a good chance they'll reply with the 'crunch' or 'situp'. They're not completely wrong, they're just misinformed - aren't we all! Yes, as far as isolating the midsection and feeling that satisfying 'burn', it's hard to beat the crunch. However, it's not the most effective method. There wouldn't be many people who would offer up answers like the squat and dead-lift.
After all, unless you're 'in the know', why would you? It's a leg exercise, right? It is. But! What is often overlooked though is how much stress and strain are placed upon the entire 'core' area to maintain balance and keep you stable throughout the movement. This provides the core without an excellent workout, combining both strength and flexibility, and is why I always recommend using the squat as an integral part of your workout, regardless of your goal. If you struggle with squats, use the smith-machine or dumbbell exercise variations such as the lunge and step-up until you gain strength and your technique improves.
As for sets and reps, the heavier the weight the more your core will act as a stabilizer while a lighter load will permit more repetitions which will increase caloric expenditure and aid in fat loss - choose accordingly. The benefits we've outlined above can also be achieved with the dead-lift and the plank. If you're going to use the 'plank' position effectively, be sure keep your body in a straight line and pull your tummy up and in, keeping your core tight. Don't let your hips sag down as this will take the tension off your abs and transfer it to your lower back and spine.
Finally, I want to talk about balls, medicine balls that is! Few people make use of them and are too often found sitting unused in a corner of the gym gathering dust. In my opinion, there's no better way to add resistance effectively to 'standard' ab exercises like the crunch and spice things up to keep boredom at bay. The act of holding, catching or throwing the ball during an exercise places the body, especially the core region, under extra tension which forces the body to grow and adapt.
There are literally hundreds of exercises you can use as part of your exercise routine, but what I've outlined above are what will really help you achieve that coveted washboard-look. Above all, it's important to stay consistent in your routine and treat training your abs the same way you would for any other body part. Hopefully you found this short article helpful and can apply some of the tips to your own routine.
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