Myth: If you have the time, you should do ab workouts every day, the more the better.
Truth: Again the abs are just like any other muscle, if you train your abs intensely one day they need time to recover and regenerate. The key is to choose exercises that fatigue your ab muscles, so that they actually need recovery time.
Myth: The crunch is the best abdominal exercise.
Truth: The crunch has it’s benefits however a recent study by the American Council of Exercise (ACE) found that the bicycle exercise is actually the most stimulating and effective ab exercise, followed by the captain’s chair, then crunches on a stability ball.
Bicycle Maneuver: Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Place your fingertips lightly behind your head, keeping your elbows wide, shoulders retracted. Bring knees up to about 45-degree angle and slowly go through a bicycle pedal motion. Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. Keep even, relaxed breathing throughout.
Captain’s Chair: Stabilize your upper body by gripping the hand holds and lightly pressing your lower back against the back pad. Hold your body up with legs dangling below. Then slowly lift your knees in toward your chest. The motion should be controlled and deliberate as you bring the knees up and return them back to the starting position. For an extra challenge keep legs straight and raise them out in front of you.
Crunch on Exercise Ball: Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. Lie back on the ball until your thighs and torso are parallel with the floor. Cross your arms over your chest or place your finger tips behind your head. Slightly tuck your chin in toward your chest. Contract your abdominals raising your torso to no more than 45 degrees. To challenge the obliques, make the exercise less stable by moving your feet closer together. Exhale as you contract; inhale as you return to the starting position.