Thursday, November 4, 2010

Abs-olutely perfect exercises!!

Core strength has been linked with a host of benefits to healthy active living. It provides better physical performance, less back pain and a host of other benefits. Most of us realize that abdominal strength is one of the key elements in strengthening and stabilizing your core. But what is the most effective exercise to engage your abdominal muscles?

A recent issue of the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (as reviewed in the IDEA Fitness Journal) compared eight stability ball and two floor-based abdominal exercises to determine which activated the abdominal muscle groups the most effectively. Exercises compared included the following:

  • Stability Ball: roll-out; pike; knee-up; skier; hip extension right and left; decline push-up; and seated march.
  • Floor based exercises: crunch; and bent knee sit-up

The most effective exercise to activate the different groups of muscles in the abdomen turned out to be the roll-out and the pike. These exercises are from a more advanced group of exercises, so should only be included in a workout once an individual is strong enough to perform them with proper technique so as to avoid risk of injury.

References from the SIRC Collection:

  • Halvorson, Ryan (2010). Which Exercise Is Best for Abdominal Activation? IDEA Fitness Journal, 7(8); 15.
  • Escamilla, Rafael F.; Lewis, Clare; Bell, Duncan; Bramdlet, Gwen; Daffron, Jason; Lambert, Steve; Pecson, Amanda; Imamura, Rodney; Paulos, Lonnie; Andrews, James R., (2010). Core Muscle Activation During Swiss Ball and Traditional Abdominal Exercises. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 40(5), 265-276.

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