Thursday, July 26, 2012
Building a Strong Core
Which ab exercise is most effective for building a strong core? Everyone has their favorite. They all seem to work well but let’s look at the science behind these exercises to see which ones may have an advantage.
Clark et al (2003) concluded that the stability ball crunch was more effective than 5 other ab exercises including leg raises and traditional crunches. More specifically, Sternlicht et al (2007) was able to show that placing the stability ball near the lower back versus the upper back, activated the abdominals more than the traditional crunch.
Escamilla et al (2006) tested 12 different ab exercises. The exercises that kept finishing near the top were the Power Wheel roll-out, the hanging knee-up, and the reverse crunch on a 30 degree incline.
In conclusion, a strong core is important for athletic performance and the prevention of low back pain. Train your abs as you would train your other muscles: 1 to 2 times per week. Use a variety of movements and try one or all of the following exercises: stability ball curl-up, Power Wheel roll-out, the hanging knee-up, and the reverse crunch on a 30 deg incline.