Today is ABS day

A strong core will not only look and feel better - it will also prevent back pain. Here are some of my favorite exercises.

Today is ABS day
Today is ABS day

I will never forget the day my friend wanted to pick up Zoe when his back locked up and caused him severe pain. The time the ambulance had arrived, I was as white as a sheet and close to fainting myself because I feared that he was having a heart attack. Several doctors in different countries ran numerous tests, but the diagnosis was always the same: “You should better do sports otherwise you may end up with surgery.”

Most people who develop back problems have not only relatively weak spinal cord muscles, but also poorly developed abdominal muscles. By making the abs stronger, you support the internal organs of the region and also decrease the burden on your spine. That’s why even people who are not aiming for a six-pack should work out their abs.

Here are exercises for your LOWER ABS:

Hanging Leg Raises: Hang from a pull-up bar with your feet together while keeping your torso steady and raise your legs as high as possible. At the top of the move your legs should be above the horizontal plane to the floor. If it’s too hard for you, you may do knee raises which is the same movement with bended knees.

Bench Knee-Up: Sit on the end of a bench with your legs extended and lean back 45° while gripping the sides of the bench for stability. Pull your knees toward you and move your torso towards them in the same time. Once your abs get stronger, you can hold a dumbbell between your feet.

These are exercises for your UPPER ABS:

Kneeling Cable Crunch: Kneel in front of a cable station with a rope. Grip it and place your wrists against your forehead. Keeping your hips stationary, bend at the waist so that your elbows travel down towards the middle of your thighs.

Sit-Ups: Lie flat on an exercise mat, your knees are bent. Place your hands lightly on either side of your head. Push your back down flat into the floor and gently curl your shoulders forward and up off the floor. Returning to the start position in a smooth movement.

Plank: Get into a face down position on the floor, supporting your upper body on your forearms. Your elbows are bent at 90°. Keep your body in a straight line by tightening your abdominal and oblique muscles for as long as possible. At a later stage, you can lift one arm or leg to make this exercise even more effective.

These are exercises for your OBLIQUES (external/sides):

Cable Twist: Stand with feet slightly apart, hold handle with both hands and slowly rotate upper torso away from cable machine. Make sure your arms are straight and the thumbs up. Squeeze your abs at the end of the twist and repeat the same to the other side.

Russian Twist: Sit on an exercise mat with your legs extended and the knees slightly bended, cross your ankles. Lean back about 15° to balance your body and start a smooth motion. Hold the ball or plate out in front of you, then turn your torso to the left and touch the floor with it. Repeat the same to your right side.

Side Plank: Lie on your side on an exercise mat. Fully extend your legs and rest your body on your forearm. Keep it at a straight line and hold this position for as long as you can.

I recommend to check out the Exercise Guide provided by workout labs, all the illustrations I used are from there and if you ever doubt you got an exercise right, you may find the answer on that site. Try to train ABS three times a week until you have reached a certain level. Then you may work ABS only once a week and add some shorted program to your cardio days. Make your workouts progressively more challenging by working functional, adding weights or increasing the repetitions. And what’s more, keep challenging your body by changing your routines and exercises frequently.