Not so, according to new research. Free weights are now thought to be the best way to getting a torso ripped like a wash-board.
Scientists at the University of South Florida classified 97 exercises into traditional core, core stability, ball/device, free-weight and noncore free-weight. They then compared their effects on core muscles.
They discovered that ball/device exercises didn’t increase muscle activity, and core specific, floor based activities like sit ups did not activate the core muscles.
The exercise that activated the core more effectively than anything else were the squats, deadlifts and overhead presses.
Using the proper techniques, these exercises will help you on your way to perfect abs. Here’s how:
With your arms out in front of you and your spine in a neutral position, put your weight of the heels and balls of your feet.
Push you bum out and lean backwards from the hip as you sit back and bend your knees
As you squat down, focus on keeping your knees in line with your feet. Once you have got into a deep squat return to your start position.
With feet hip-width apart, grip the bar just outside your legs and use an overhand grip.
Keep your back flat, with a neutral spine throughout, and your shoulders back and down.
Keep the bar in contact with your legs throughout the lifting motion and your hips and knees should move together transferring the bar from the ground to an upper thigh locked position.
Stand with the bar on the front of your shoulders. With a narrow grip, straight wrists, and vertical forearms, lock your knees and hips.
Raise your chest towards the ceiling by arching your upper-back and try to touch your chin with your upper-chest.
Take a big breath, hold it and press the bar in a vertical line. Don’t press it in front or behind your head. Press it over your head.
Stay close to the bar while you press the weight up and shift your torso forward once the bar has passed your forehead.
Hold the bar over your shoulders and mid-foot for proper balance. Lock your elbows.
good news for me - I can never get on with situps, I always strain back or neck. Any alternative has to be better.
I have always found sit ups perfectly adequate and never understood why people feel the need to do all these other exercises.
I have never done squats with the intention of getting a flat stomach, but this makes me think all my squats are probably doing just that. Kills two birds with one stone!
Right - these are on my new year's workout list. Anything is better than endless sit ups,