The Ultimate Ab Exercise
Recently I was studying periodization training for Olympic-level athletes and came across some research which talked about the most important ab exercise for activating all the muscles in the core, and it was a little surprising on what I found.
If you’ve read the articles on this site you probably know by now that doing countless ab exercises doesn’t lead to ripped abs but instead it’s much more about the diet (you may want to revisit the article 6-Pack Abs Checklist).
Nevertheless, building a strong core should be the foundation for anyone wanting to improve their health because our core muscles (upper, lower abs and lower back) come into play in almost everything we do. Without a strong core you are compromising the integrity of your spinal column and will most likely end up with lower back problems when you age.
So with that said what is the ultimate ab exercise?
Ultimate Ab Exercise: Side Plank
The Side Plank is without a doubt the most powerful ab exercise because it allows you to carve your midsection without over-stressing your spinal column. This is why you will see this exercise regularly performed in most Yoga and Pilates classes.
When comparing with other ab exercises which usually strain your neck and lower back, the side plank keeps you in check with your posture and alignment. In turn, this leads to fewer injuries while at the same time greatly increasing your core strength.
You will notice the benefits most with improvement in your posture and the ability to activate your ab and lower back muscles anytime you are training in the gym, outside playing or just lifting grocery bags. If you consciously think about how this ultimate ab exercise helped you with these movements your mind-body connection will give you even greater results (this is why Olympic-level athletes are always thinking about the movements in their head before performing them).
There is one catch though….making sure you have the proper form when performing the side plank.
Doing this exercise wrong can cause unnecessary strain and reduce the effectiveness of this exercise. I would advise doing the side plank in front of a mirror for at least the first few weeks so you can see where your head is in alignment to your body.
- Step 1: Lie on your right side and prop your body weight onto your right forearm.
- Step 2: Raise your hips until you see a straight line through your body from your ankles to shoulders.
- Step 3: Tighten your abs and keep alignment for a goal of 30 seconds.
- Step 4: Increase difficulty by raising your left arm straight in the air, and/or raising your left leg up.
- Step 5: Switch to your left side and hold for another 30 seconds. This is one set.
- Step 6: Repeat this set 2 more times with 30 seconds rest between sets.
Recommended Supplements to Boost Ab Exercise Results
As previously mentioned diet, is one of your biggest weapons when it comes to polishing off your abs. Supplements can really help with your results and these are proven to give the best results:
Whey Protein for Lean Muscle Production (Try: Cellucor IsoPro Ultra Lean)
Thermogenic Fat Burner (Try: Cellucor D4 Thermal Shock)
Appetite Suppression (Try: BSN Atrophex)
Omega 3’s for Fat Metabolism (Try: Now Omega 3)
Sports Drink for Motivation & Maximum Force (Try: USPlabs Jacked)
The Ultimate Ab Exercise: Conclusion
Remember alignment is key with the side plank. Watch your form in the mirror and keep focus on holding a tight core. You can also switch it up by resting your forearm on a bench so your body faces diagonally downwards. In the long-term you will see great improvement with your posture and your core strength which will further allow you to excel in your overall training.
What are your thoughts about this Ultimate Ab Exercise? Have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below…