Best Abs Exercise: Banded Ab Crunch
Learn how to perform the best abs exercise, the banded ab crunch. You only need a band and your body.
The Best Abs Exercise
The banded abs crunch allows you to train your abs with minimal equipment and adjustable resistance. You don’t have to get on the floor and because of the resistance, you don’t have to perform dozens and dozens of reps.
Banded Ab Crunch: Set Up
Loop a band around a pull up bar or similar sturdy horizontal pole.
Grab the bands with a neutral grip (thumbs up). Bring your palms to your temples and hold them there firmly.
The band may rest against your forehead or may be forward of it (if you’re taller, the band is more likely to be forward of your forehead to increase the resistance).
If you would like to place a towel on your forehead for comfort, that is fine.
Bring your elbows in and forward and stand tall at the top.
If you perform the standing banded ab crunch, you stand with a hip width stance approximating your deadlift stance.
If you execute the kneeling banded ab crunch, the set up is basically the same, except you will be on your knees and the band will begin with greater resistance. You may add a towel or similar object beneath your knees for comfort.
Banded Abs Crunch: Technique
You begin not simply with normal extension but hyperextension, with a big stretch that induces traction.
Crunch down while holding the band, moving your upper torso and crunching down on your abs without bending at the hips.
Perform this exercise with a slow, controlled tempo and hold in the bottom. Return to the starting position slowly and once again get a big stretch at the top.
It’s important not to bend at the hips. Bending at the hips adds the hip flexors during the descent and the hamstrings, glutes, and back for the ascent. We don’t want to train those muscles, we want to train the abdominal muscles.
Why Train the Abs?
The muscles this exercise trains include the rectus abdominis (6-pack muscles), internal abdominal obliques, and external abdominal obliques in their function of flexing the trunk.
These four muscles, along with the transverse abdominis, are the abdominal muscles or abs. These muscles will be trained isometrically from squats, deadlifts, presses, and other lifts.
Because of this, this exercise is not for novices, as the 4 main lifts provide enough training of the abdominal muscles. This is a better exercise for intermediate and especially advanced lifters who want or need additional stress for their abs.
Perform these at the end of your workout, similar to any hypertrophy accessory lift, so 2-5 sets of 8-20 reps.
Another note, training the abs does not a 6-pack make. So this is a great abs exercise, but this isn’t the best abs exercise for a toned tummy. Proper nutrition and training, with other health habits such as adequate, quality sleep, over time, will lead to muscle accumulation and leanness that ultimately eliminates the stubborn belly fat.