6 Exercises For a 6 Pack
Whilst a balanced training routine is important for overall balanced progression in the gym, the 6 pack often gets a lot of attention due to its wide appeal. A well defined midsection is often displayed on health and fitness magazines and portrays optimum strength and fitness for both males and females. Of course, we should not overly focus on the midsection while neglecting other sections of the body, and we should also realise the role cardiovascular exercise and dietary intake play when aiming to achieve an aesthetically pleasing midsection. If everything else is in place, the following six exercises will effectively stimulate the muscles of the midsection.
The traditional crunch remains a great abdominal exercise which can be performed almost anywhere.
Lie face up, knees bent and feet planted to the ground. Place each hand on either side of the head, and slowly raise your shoulders off the ground whilst contracting the abdominals. Stop once the shoulders are raised several inches off the ground and the abdominals are under peak contraction. The movement of the exercise is acute like most other abdominal exercises. Slowly lower your torso and repeat for repetitions.
Dumbbell side bend
The side bend exercises the obliques which are located to the side of the torso, as well as the abdominals. This exercise can be performed with a dumbbell or a low cable pulley. Remember to use a relatively light weight and focus on the contraction.
Stand erect with a shoulder width stance, grasping a light dumbbell. Bend slowly to the side which you are grasping the dumbbell, until the dumbbell is roughly level with your knee. Reverse the movement slowly until you are at the starting position. Repeat for repetitions.
The cable crunch utilises the same movement as the traditional lying crunch, but offers greater freedom with the resistance used. Trainees can progress onto the cable crunch if they feel the bodyweight crunch is not supplying ample resistance.
Attach a rope attachment onto a high cable pulley. Grasp the rope handles and bring them down close to the floor so you can kneel in front of the station. Kneel a few feet away from the station, and perform the crunch movement whilst grasping the rope handles above your head.
Leg raises attack the abdominals from a different angle than the crunch movements, with the pelvis being brought up towards the ribcage opposed to the other way around. The result is the same, the stimulus of the abdominal muscles.
Position yourself on a roman chair, so you are supported and your legs are free hanging. Whilst having a slight bend in the knees, bring the knees upwards so the pelvis is brought up towards the ribcage. Slowly lower your legs and repeat for repetitions. If your gym does not have a roman chair you can lie on the floor, and raise your legs off the ground whilst maintaining a slight bend in the knees.
The pike crunch is a variation of the normal crunch, with the legs kept in the air to increase the difficulty of the movement.
Lie on the floor and raise both your torso and your legs into the air so you create a V shape. Out-stretch your arms towards your toes. Now try to reach your toes with your hands by crunching forwards, avoiding any movement of the lower back. Reverse the movement to complete the repetition, and then repeat.
This exercise requires a training partner, and can be a great exercise for the abdominals, obliques, co-ordination, team work and cardiovascular.
Use a medium weighted medicine ball, which one partner holds to begin with. Both you and your partner stand five or six feet away from one another, looking in the opposite direction so you have to twist a full 180 degrees to see each other. The first partner shouts, twists (feet remain planted to the ground, only the torso twists), and throws the ball to his/her partner. The other partner catches the ball and twists a full 360 degrees and throws it back. This is repeated for as many throws as you require. Remember to change the direction half way through to ensure you have twisted both ways when throwing.