Abdominal exercises are useful for building the abdominal muscles. This is useful for improving performance with certain sports, back pain, taking punches. Abdominal muscle exercises are known to increase the strength and endurance of the abdominal muscles as well (Vispute et. al.). (Vispute et. al.) It has been a highly disputed topic whether or not abdominal exercises have any impact on the reduction of abdominal fat. The study by Vispute et. al. found that in fact doing abdominal exercise does not reduce abdominal fat. To reduce abdominal fat one must create a deficit in energy expenditure and caloric intake, doing abdominal exercises alone were not enough to reduce the girth of the abdomen (Vispute et. al.) |quote= Sit-ups will make your abdominal muscles stronger, sure. And, you may look thinner by building your abdominal muscles because you can hold in your belly fat better.
Abdominal muscles have many important functions such as contributing to breathing, they are responsible for the acts of coughing, and sneezing. As well as maintaining posture and speech in a number of species (Iscoe, 1998) The anterior abdominal wall is made up of 4 muscles—the rectus abdominis muscle, the internal and external obliques, and the transversus abdominis."The two internal muscles, the internal oblique and the transverse abdominis, respond more to increases in chemical or volume-related drive than the two external muscles, the rectus abdominis and external oblique; the basis for this differential sensitivity is unknown" (Iscoe, 1998).
Types of abdominal exercises and effectiveness
The abdominal muscles can be worked out by practicing disciplines of general body strength such as Pilates, yoga, T'ai chi, and jogging among others. There are also specific routines to target each of these muscles.
Momentaneous activity
One way to estimate the effectiveness of abdominal exercise is in measuring the momentaneous activity by electromyography (EMG), with the activity generally being compared to that of the traditional crunch. However, an exercise of lower activity performed during a longer time can give at least as much exercise as a high-activity exercise, with the main difference being that a prolonged duration results more in aerobic exercise than strength training.
The following ranks abdominal exercises from highest to lowest in terms of activity as determined by the EMG measures
Activity in rectus abdominis
exercise mean
Bicycle crunch 248%
Captain's chair 212%
Exercise ball 139%
Vertical leg crunch 129%
Torso track 127%
Long arm crunch 119%
Reverse crunch 109%
Crunch with heel push 107%
Ab roller 105%
Hover 100%
Traditional crunch 100%
Exercise tubing pull 92%
Ab rocker 21%
Activity in obliques
exercise mean
Captain's chair 310%
Bicycle crunch 290%
Reverse crunch 240%
Hover 230%
Vertical leg crunch 216%
Exercise ball 147%
Torso track 145%
Crunch with heel push 126%
Long arm crunch 126%
Ab roller 101%
Traditional crunch 100%
Exercise tubing pull 77%
Ab rocker 74%

1Compared to traditional crunch (100%)


Bicycle crunch
The bicycle targets the rectus abdominals and the obliques. Also, the rectus abdominals can be worked out with the basic crunch, the vertical crunch, the reverse crunch, and the full vertical crunch, and when very fit the individual parts of the muscle become visible; many refer to this visible separation as a six pack. By exercising the internal and external obliques the stomach can be flattened while the waist line can be reduced.[2] The long arm crunch, in which arms are straighten behind you, adds a longer level to the move and emphasizes the upper part of the abs. The plank exercise not only strengthens the abs but also the back and stabilizes the muscles.
Abdominal exercises can also be performed with the help of some machines and the captain's chair is one of the most popular machines used in gyms and health clubs. Other machines are the Ab Roller, the Ab Rocket Twister and the Torso Track. The exercise ball is also a tool that helps strengthen the abs. It may be more effective than the crunches on the floor because the abs do more work as the legs are not involved in the exercise.[5] Potentially the most effective equipment for abdominal strengthening are those that offer the least stability. Examples include the CoreFitnessRoller, bodyweight suspension training such as TRX and stability balls with or without the Halo.

Safety of abdominal exercises

Abdominal exercises also put some degree of compressive force on the lumbar spine, putting unwanted stress on the lower back. In addition, exaggerated abdominal exercise can cause respiratory problems.[6] A study of twelve exercises concluded that no single exercise covered all abdominal muscles with high intensity and low compression.[7]

  • High challenge-to-compression ratio
    • Crunch with feet anchored
    • Crunch with feet free
    • Bicycle crunch
    • Hanging straight leg raise
  • Low compression, lower challenge
    • Crunch with feet anchored
    • Crunch with feet free
  • High challenge, higher compression
    • Straight-leg sit-up
    • Bent-leg sit-up
  • Low challenge-to-compression ratio
    (not recommended!)
    • Supine straight-leg raise
    • Supine bent-leg raise
    • Hanging bent-leg raise
    • Static cross-knee crunch

The benefit of focused training on the "deep core" muscles such as the transversus abdominis has been disputed, with some experts advocating a more comprehensive training regimen.




The pectoralis major is a thick, fan-shaped muscle, situated at the chest (anterior) of the human body. It makes up the bulk of the chest muscles in the male and lies under the breast in the female. Underneath the pectoralis major is the pectoralis minor, a thin, triangular muscle.


A variety of resistance exercises can be used to train the pectoralis major, including bench pressing (using dumbbells, barbells or machines at various angles such as decline, incline and flat where the hips are above, below and level with the head respectively), push ups, flyes (using dumbbells or machines at either flat or inclined angles), cable crossovers or dips. Multi-joint press exercises are better for building muscle mass, while fly and crossovers are more suited for shaping and increasing striations[citation needed]. This muscle is often said to consist of four portions (upper, lower, inner and outer) but the pectoralis actually contracts evenly across all heads during most exercises and as such no portion can be 'targeted'.
The pectoralis can also be trained through a variety of sports as well as by all four Olympic styles of swimming, i.e. the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and front crawl. The anaerobic work capacity of the pectoralis is a major determinant of swimming speed, whereas swimming endurance is more influenced by the aerobic capacity of the deltoid muscle (apart from overall cardiopulmonary aerobic capacity).


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  • Workout Routines

  • Core Core
    Core exercises are practices designed to strengthen and develop target muscles of the midsection including the abdominal muscles, obliques, and muscles of the back. Typical reasons for exercising...
  • Abs Abs
    Usage   Abdominal exercises are useful for building the abdominal muscles. This is useful for improving performance with certain sports, back pain, taking punches. Abdominal muscle exercises...
  • Chest
    The pectoralis major is a thick, fan-shaped muscle, situated at the chest (anterior) of the human body. It makes up the bulk of the chest muscles in the male and lies under the breast in the female....
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