There is a way to build rock hard abs without the back pain that some traditional ab exercies bring you. Exercises such as crunches and sit-ups can be counter-productive to core development if they end up causing uncessary back pain. These spinal flexion moves can be great for some, but others can simply not take on such stress. Thankfully, there is a better way. Check out some of my favorite exercises which work the core in a more effective manner.
Big Compound Lifts
One of my favorite methods of working the abs are from the big compound lifts including squats, deadlifts, bench presses and rows. These multi-joint exercises will stimulate your entire core as well the other primary muscles that these exercises hit. Be sure to flex the abs while you lift to get the best bang for your buck.
To supercharge your ab work, include more standing exercises into your workouts including standing military presses, standing lateral raises and standing barbell curls. While standing, you are forcing your midsection to work overtime to stabilize the weight. One of the key points to remember is to slightly bend your knees when performing any standing exercise as this will alleviate lower back strain.
Planks are amazing exercises and have become my go-to core exercise over the years. Planks engage nearly the entire midsection. Do not let this stationary exercises fool you. While planks look simple, they are nothing but difficult and it takes time to increase the time that you can hold a plank for. Planks are also a highly functional exercise, which makes them even more impressive.
Side planks are just what the name says – planks done on your side. Side planks challenge the rotational and lateral muscles of the abdomen even further. Every ab routine should include a combination of both planks and side planks.
Ab Wheel Rollouts
Ab wheel rollouts are compound exercises working your shoulders, chest, traps, lats and legs. The most effective method of ab rollouts is to perform these slowly in order to keep constant tension on the full abdominal wall.
Push-ups are actually planks in motion. There are a myriad of push-up variations, but the classic good old push-up is such an amazing compound movement. Engage your core by stabilizing your body alignment throughout the entire motion. I love push-ups to failure to close out my chest day.