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Abdominal Exercises - Best Ways To Build Your Abs

 What comes to your mind when I say the word "abs"? Do you think of the infomercials advertising "6 second abs" or the latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue?

Most people focus on training their abdominals to look thinner or sexier. There are many of us, who love the six pack abdominals look, glistening from underneath our t-shirts, or proudly exposed at the beach for all to see.

But, do you realize the importance of these muscles in everyday activities? Most yoga instructors do. That's why one of the focuses of yoga is to build your core abdominal strength.

Importance of Ab Strength for Posture

abdominals exercise, with ripped abs photo, yoga pose Your abdominals attach to your spine and pelvis, helping balance your back in good posture. Often times, when your back is not supported in the correct posture by your abdominals and back muscles, back pain occurs.

Did you know that back pain accounts for approximately 50 billion dollars in health care costs each year?!

This is not something to be taken lightly -- so remember -- one of the best ways to prevent back pain is to strengthen your abs.

It often takes a conscious effort to sit in good posture. But, even if you get into a good sitting posture, you will need the abdominal and back endurance to maintain it! How are you sitting at your computer right now? I would bet most of you are sitting in a slumped posture, some more than others. Yes?

To sit in good posture, you should have a slight inward curve in your back with your ears directly over your shoulders.


posture exercises photo, exercise for good postureLooking for posture exercises? Tips for good posture?

Click here to immediately get our free e-book on correcting bad posture, exercises for good posture, and pictures to see and truly learn the importance of this necessary benefit in our daily lives.


Abdominal Strength is Important for Balance

Without abdominal strength, you will have difficulty sitting, standing and walking. Your center of gravity is located at your sacrum or roughly just below your belly button. Therefore, your abs play an important part in keeping you balanced at your center of gravity.

Think about someone who is a quadriplegic or paralyzed from the neck down. They are not able to sit by themselves because their back and abdominal muscles are paralyzed. In other words, they are no longer able to balance themselves.

In contrast, a paraplegic, someone paralyzed from the waist down, is able to balance and sit by themselves because only their legs are paralyzed leaving their abdominal and back muscles intact. This proves that our abdominals are important for our balance.

Spend a lot of time in your office? Do you use your PC at home? One way to strengthen your abs while working on your computer is to use an exercise ball as your chair. Yep! In fact, I am sitting on my exercise ball as I write this.

If you are now sitting on your exercise ball, you can practice some balance exercises and strengthen your abs simply by rolling your hips forward, backward and side to side. Make sure to pull your stomach inward during these motions.

buy fitness ball photo showing abdominals exercise

Exercising & Training Your Abdominals

Now that you understand more clearly the importance of your abs, you need to integrate abdominal strengthening into your regular strength training. Abs should be trained like any other muscle - 8 to 12 repetitions, 3 times per week.

After a study researching abdominal exercises it was shown that the two most effective exercises that work the abdominal region are the Captain's Chair and the Bicycle Maneuver. The traditional "crunch exercise" is the 13th most effective exercise!

So If you want to build your abdominal muscles may I suggest you carry out these two exercises:


The Captains Chair - #1 Abdominal Exercise

captains chair, powerline vertical knee raises, leg lifts, chin dip machine photo

Try Powerline's Vertical Leg & Knee Raise / Chin Dip Machine  

This astounding abs-exercise is commonly overlooked, possibly because it is such an advanced abdominal exercise. It is very important to keep your lower back straight and stable. Please remember not to arch your back during this exercise, and be sure to use the correct form in order to avoid injury.

Ok, to start - place your back firmly against the chair and grip the handles tightly. Slowly lift your knees towards your chest and you will soon feel a burn after a few reps. Make sure you keep your back in place otherwise you will be working out your hip muscles instead of your abs!

The Bicycle Maneuver - The #2 Best Ab Exercise

What's great about this abdominal exercise is that you don't need any special equipment for this workout. It would be a good idea to purchase an exercise mat; however, you can just use a towel or your carpeted floor.

So lying down on the floor press your lower back on the floor and put your hands behind your head. Raise your legs to a 45-degree angle and execute a pedaling motion by touching opposite elbow to opposite knee, alternating each side. You should feel the deep burn with this exercise!

A great piece of affordable abdominal equipment that would be worth your time and money is the Proform Abs Machine (photo below).

ProForm Abs Machine 

Try ProForm's Abdominal Machine


Good luck with getting those awesome abs you deserve!

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**The above article was written by Shelley Hitz, Licensed Physical Therapist and Certified NASM Personal Trainer. You can sign up for her free Exercise Advice journal at 

**So far, we've given away over 2,544 free posture ebooks in the past two weeks! Way to go, guys and gals!