Exercise Workout Routines

This is a growing list of exercise routines. If you’re looking for something that’s not here, leave me a comment below and I’ll put one together for you.

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Abdominal Exercises

Abdominal exercises or Ab exercises are among the most popular exercises done anywhere in fitness. They are done by two groups of exercisers. The first group calls theses exercises “core” exercises. They perform them because they understand that their core (torso) is the basis for all movement and necessary for stabilization of their spine. The second group calls them “ab” exercises. They perform them because on some level they are still under the misconception that belly exercises will make their mid-section smaller either by losing fat in that area or by making those muscles tighter.

 

Benefits of Ab Exercises

When done properly, ab exercises can have these benefits:

  • Strengthen your abdominal muscles
  • Support for the spine
  • Lower incidence of back pain
  • Improved posture
  • Better athletic performance

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Non Benefits

Contrary to popular misconception, abdominal exercises do not do the following:

  • Decrease stomach fat: Fat is burned as a fuel for your whole body and the body takes if from all over. Exercising one part of your body does not take fat from that area.
  • Smaller waist: For the same reason as above, ab exercises do not make your waist smaller. You have to lose fat by a good diet and exercises. See Exercises to Lose Weight to learn more about this.

Ab Muscles and How to Work Each

There are four muscle groups. But, keep in mind that it’s hard to isolate just one ab muscle. Most are somewhat involved in all.  Just one is the prime mover getting the most work.

  • Rectus Abdominus: This muscle is responsible to contract the spine to the front. Ex. Crunch.
  • Internal Obliques: These muscles are responsible for contracting the spine on one side. Meaning, the left internal oblique brings the left shoulder toward the left hip and the right internal oblique brings it back and vice versa. Ex. Side bends.
  • External Obliques: These muscles are responsible for contracting the spine to go across your body, either laterally or at an angle. Ex. Twists and Twist Crunch
  • Transverse Abdominus: This muscle is responsible for holding your stomach in and rotate your pelvis forward. Ex. Vacuums and pelvic stabilization.

See Related

 

Mike Caton

List of Ab Exercises

This is a comprehensive list of abdominal exercises. There are some for each of the abdominal muscles. Each exercise includes: video, image, muscles used, benefits and Instructions

Make sure to also read:

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Ab Scissor

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Ab Scissor Exercise

This is a standard exercise in most gyms. Unfortunately, it’s commonly done wrong. See, this exercise is supposed to be a transverse abdominus exercise designed to help you hold your abs in and rotate your pelvis. Most people are just focusing on lifting their legs. Doing it wrong only results in strengthening your hip flexor muscles.

Benefits

Strengthens the transverse abdominus muscle that hold your stomach in.

 

Body Parts Usedtextbook drawing of the abdominal muscles

Scissor exercises are designed to mostly focus on your transverse abdominus muscles. These help hold in your stomach muscles.

 

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Instructions for Scissor Exercise

  • Lie on your back on a mat or soft surface.
  • Raise your legs straight up from your hips.
  • Your spine should be in a neutral position (no high arch) or even more flattened.
  • Tighten your ab muscles to not allow any more movement of your spine throughout the exercise.
  • Lower one leg toward the floor only as low as you can before your slow back starts to raise up off the floor.
  • Once that elevation is reached, start to raise that leg to it’s starting position while lowering the other leg to the same position.
  • Continue until fatigued.

Variations (all are good and valid options)

  • Bending the knees makes it easier if needed.
  • Raise your shoulders off the floor to increase the intensity if needed.
Similar Exercises

Sample Routine

If you were interested in a sit up workout, I suggest you instead see samples of complete ab workout routines.

Note: One exercise alone is not sufficient for any goal. All exercises should be part of a comprehensive exercise program. Also, see my list of exercises for more.

Mike Caton