We all want a great abs – a great “six-pack”. A nice, lean mid-section with abs that just “pop”. But, in order to build great abs, doing endless core exercises like situps and planks using body weight for resistance may not be the answer.
The University of South Florida published a research study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, findings that indicate that the answer to great abs may lie with strength training, not from crunches. “Numerous exercises, devices, and training approaches claim to activate the core muscles,” says study author Jason Martuscello, “but in reality our research contradicts much of this marketing.”
The researchers grouped 97 common exercises into core exercise classifications, such as traditional core, core stability, ball/device, free-weight, non-core free-weight. They found that free-weight exercises produced the greatest activation for the core muscles.
“Ball/device exercises did not increase muscle activity when compared to other exercise types without ball or device,” says Martuscello. “Core-specific, floor-based exercises—traditional core like situps, core stability like planks—utilizing body weight do not activate the core muscles.
The solution is to utilize weights, such as kettle bells or specialty equipment such as Ab Benches or functional trainers to increase resistance for your core workouts. Stop in any of our three Valley locations to learn more about weight resistance ab equipment that can help you build that six-pack!