Benefits of Trainings Abdominal Muscles
Yes whether you are male or female, having a flat washboard stomach is not only physically appealing but it can also be a self-esteem builder as a “look good, feel good” mentality. However, abdominals and your core have more importance than just a “six-pack” as they provide spinal support, balance, stability, and assist with proper posture. When you are training your core, it is more than just your abdominal section, as the core is made up of your glutes, hips and pelvis muscles.
These muscle groups play a major role in increasing your core strength for both athletic and everyday movements. Whether you are sitting, standing, walking, or running, having a weak abdominal section can lead to lower back problems as a result of poor posture and core support, which can possibly end up benching you not only for the big game but for any daily activity. Having a strong core section helps to improve the increase the endurance of your breathing muscles, which in turn decreases your level of fatigue.
How to Choose the Right Resistance Band:
Using a resistance band for your abdominal exercises can provide you with a challenging addition to your workout with a very simple and portable piece of equipment. As a great alternative or addition to using a traditional set of weights, bands are an inexpensive, mobile and versatile piece of equipment that will target your muscles in a unique way. Most brands, which provide loop, flat and mini-band variations will color-code their bands according to the varying degrees of tension ranging from light to very heavy (approximately 5lbs to as much as 150lbs depending on the brand, traditionally red is the lightest, blue is the heaviest, however there is no standard set color.).
Ideally, having at least three to five different bands, mixing all three of the mini, flat and loop, is best as it will allow you to create and engage in a variety of workouts depending on your strength and flexibility. You may also want to consider that some bands have handles, whereas others are just one continuous loop. Both are great options, however each has its pros and cons when executing certain exercises.
The 10 Best Resistance Band Abdominal Exercises
Using a mini-band, loop each end around the arches of your feet and assume the traditional bicycle crunch position, leaning back at approximately a 45 degree angle, with your hands at your head and elbows out. As you push out one foot and bring the opposite knee to your chest, bring the opposite elbow across to tap the knee (right elbow/left knee etc.). Continue “pedaling” your feet out and alternating elbow to knee for time or reps.
Band Russian Twist
With your legs extended out in front of you, either with feet on the ground or slightly raised, loop one end of the band around the middle of both feet and hold on to the other end with hands clasped together. Lean back at a 45 degree angle, with abdominals engaged and a flat back, focusing on your oblique muscles. Extend your arms out in front of you and keep them as straight as possible, as to keep the band as taut as possible. Rotate to the left and touch your hands as close to the ground as you can and then rotate back to the right. Repeat for time or reps.
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Resistance Band Deadlift
If you have a loop band, step on the middle of the band, allowing the loops at each end to act as handles. If you have a handle band or flat band, step on the middle of the band and grab each end. As you would a weighted deadlift, make sure that your hips are set back, knees are bent slightly, back is flat and your chest is up. While your abdominals will be working throughout the entire exercise to stabilize you, your glute muscles will be doing most of the work as you engage your glutes and push them forward as you rise up to a full standing position. Slowly return to the starting position.
Lying flat on your back (with your hands at your sides, or underneath your backside for support), use a mini-band or double loop a regular band around your ankles. Lift your legs straight up in the air with your feet as close together as possible. Keeping your back flat and your abdominals engaged, slowly lower one leg down towards the ground as far as you can without pulling the opposite leg with it. Make sure that as you lower your leg that you do not create an arch in your lower back. As you raise your leg back up, switch and lower the opposite leg in a scissor like motion.
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Standing Knee Raises
Using a mini-band wrapped around the middle of both feet, stand with your feet facing forward, slightly hip width apart. With your hands up at your head, elbows in line with your shoulders, lift one knee towards your chest and as it comes up, rotate your upper body so the opposite elbow comes towards the opposite knee. Think of the same movement as a bicycle crunch.
Lying flat on your back, you can choose to loop a mini-band around your ankles or your calves (for varying challenge). With your legs elevated approximately six inches off the ground, spread your legs open as wide as possible. In a smooth and controlled motion, crisscross your legs in a scissor like motion
Side Plank Leg Raise
Position yourself in a straight arm side plank (modify to a forearm side plank if needed). Place your mini-band just above your ankles, with your legs together, hips elevated and your body in a straight line from head to foot. Engaging both your glute and abdominal muscles, raise your upper leg as high as you can while maintaining your plank. You can either isolate the hold or slowly raise and lower the top leg. Target a 30 second plank on each side.
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You can choose to position the mini-band in one of two places, either around the ankles or around the lower thigh slightly above the knee. In a straight arm or forearm plank position, lift one leg as far off the ground as possible for a two second count and then return it to the ground. Once again targeting the glutes and abdominals for stabilization continue working the same side for desired reps or time and then repeat the exercise on the other side.
As an anti-rotation exercise, the Pallof press targets your obliques, exterior abdominals and muscles that impact trunk rotation. Securing your regular band around an anchor point, pull the band to a distance in which it is taut. Standing or kneeling (feet or knees in line with your hips) laterally to your anchor point with the band grasped in both hands, hold it at sternum height, and with your core engaged press the band out in front of you while resisting letting the band rotate your body towards the anchor point. You may choose to either isolate the hold for a period of time, or you can move the band in and out or even do circle movements.
Single Leg Deadlift
Using a mini-band or double looped regular band, place it under one foot in the arch of the foot. Standing hip width apart, pull the band up to approximately waist height with both hands in the loop. As you hinge forward, lift your opposite leg up so it is in a straight line with your back. Slowly lower yourself down towards your standing foot (your knee will bend slightly), letting the tension on the band slack (approximately calf height) and then quickly return to an upright position with a straight leg, pulling the band tight and engaging your glute muscles.
Although resistance bands are easier on the joints, it is important to give yourself proper recovery time between your core focused workouts. Incorporating the above exercises into your workout routine two to three times per week, you are bound to achieve greater core stability and increased strength that will assist in your daily living activities.
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