Ab Exercises – Variety is the Key
Of all of the best ab exercises, the exercise bike might just be my favorite. The exercise bike is done laying on your back pretending you are riding a bicycle that is above you. The best exercise bike is a great abdominal exercise because it works the obliques and lower abdominals. This a very highly rated exercise and it’s one of the few of the best ab exercises that is really fun to do. Just make sure that you are on a nice carpeted surface or you are on an exercise mat. As with any of these ab exercises, start out with what you can do relatively comfortably and then build up, reps, time and intensity as you get stronger.
The Plank – Strengthens Your Entire Core
The plank is a very simple but remarkably effective way to strengthen your core. It’s always at the top of everyone’s best ab exercises list. Basically, you put yourself in a push-up position except for being on your hands, it’s your elbows that are on the floor with your forearms and hands extended forward. Now you’re not doing push-ups, you’re simply putting your body in a rigid plank position. Sounds simple, right? Well, this exercise works almost every muscle group in your core, front, back, and sides. Unless you are already in terrific shape, you might be a little disappointed at how short a period of time you able to do this initially. Another great thing about the plank is that you can create variations of the exercise that will help work muscle groups that you might want to work a little harder. You can take one leg off the floor and lift it a little higher or out to the side. You can also do the plank on one side or the other rather than facing the floor. Heck, you can even reverse the plank so you’re looking at the ceiling. The variations make the bicycle one of the best ab exercises of all.
The Surprise Exercise
Chin-ups. What? That’s right, one of ab exercises is a chin-up or pull-up. In fact, chin-up or pull-up’s one of the best all-around exercises you can do. You can’t do a pull-up without tightening almost every muscle in your body. A door frame chin-up bar is super cheap, but it can deliver big results.
A balance ball is another way to build up great core strength while developing a great set of abs. What’s more, being on a balance ball seems so silly that it’s going to put a big smile on your face. However, you will find out very quickly, that if used properly, a balance ball can provide a killer workout. There are a million dvd’s available that will show you a wide variety of exercises that can be done with a balance ball. Get one and get going. You’ll find out very fast that a balance ball is one of the best ab exercises.
One piece of equipment that you may not be familiar with are kettlebells. Kettlebells are bowling ball type weights with one looped handle. The great thing about a kettlebell is that it is extremely awkward, simply because of it’s design. Because it’s so damn difficult to handle, it works every part of your body. You can lift them up, over and around your body and you’ll find that no matter what you’re doing with a kettlebell, it’s very strenuous. Again, this is another very inexpensive piece of exercise equipment that provides a great workout and will help you lose weight.
Elliptical vs Treadmill – A Great Investment Either Way
Well both workout machines offer tremendous health benefits over the long-term, especially if used properly. Having one of these in your home also makes it extremely convenient to stay in shape, especially if it doesn’t turn into a depository for your dirty clothes. To that end, I would encourage you to buy a more expensive, quality piece of equipment for several reasons. Remember, you are making an investment in your health. Nothing is more important! Period. A high quality treadmill or elliptical is going to provide you with a better experience and you will be more inclined to use it on a regular basis. If you’re happy using it, it only makes sense that you will continue your routine over the long run. A more expensive exercise machine is also going to last longer and be less susceptible to breaking down. Let’s face it, if you’re not particularly enjoying the workouts and the machine breaks, what are the odds that you are going to get it repaired? Lastly, there’s the guilt factor. If you spend a bunch of money on a new machine, you’re not going to feel good about seeing it sitting there idle every day.
Elliptical vs Treadmill – The Issues
We don’t have treadmill reviews or elliptical reviews on this website. Rather, we focus on the bigger issues that need to be considered and resolved if you’re still going through the elliptical vs treadmill debate.
1. Cost – Well, you get about the same bang for the buck with either machine. Dollar for dollar an elliptical might be a little cheaper, but the difference is so slight that it should not really influence your decision.
2. Long-term benefits to your health – Again, this is just about a toss up. The workout on a treadmill is generally acknowledged to be more strenuous. However, I’ve seen people going like hell on an elliptical and I’ve seen lots of people that do no more than walk on a treadmill. So who is getting the better workout. The big issue here is to try and pick out the machine that you will enjoy and use the most. That’s the one that will provide you with the best long term results.
3. Maintenance and breakdowns – The edge goes to the elliptical machine. If you really want a treadmill to work without issue for a long time, you really should service (lubricate) the walking belt on an annual basis (more if you are putting on a lot of miles). If you don’t, the belt will wear prematurely and it will begin to balk on you when your running. The bad news is that when you get to this point, the belt may be so badly damaged that it will need to be replaced. That not something you want to try on your own. Most treadmills are motor driven as well. The motor can fail, though that is fairly uncommon. More common is a failure of the incline feature. Ellipticals are much simpler machines and typically require less maintenance and are far less likely to breakdown on you.
4. Safety – The elliptical has a big advantage here. Slip and fall on a treadmill and you can be hurt. In fact, there have even been fatal treadmill accidents. Treadmill have a safety device that will cut off the electricity in the event of a fall, but the user has to wear the device in order for it to work. I am always amazed when I hear about people dying in a traffic accident because they were not wearing a safety belt. How many years now have safety belts been mandatory? Well, it’s the same thing on treadmills. The device is sitting right there staring at you, but people still refuse to use it. You can lead a horse to water…
4. Noise – An elliptical is much quieter. There is no noise from a motor or the belt going underfoot. Likewise, your feet are not pounding on a running deck like they are on a treadmill.
5. Impact – There is a decided advantage here for the elliptical. There is essentially no impact on your feet, ankles, knees, hips and muscles when working out on an elliptical machine. While running on a treadmill is much easier on the body than running on the street, it is still far more jarring than working out on an elliptical. If you are already nursing injuries, or if you are getting along in years and you can’t take the pounding that comes with running, an elliptical machine is probably a better choice.
6. Space and mobility – Well, both machines are going to take up quite a bit of space in whatever room you decide upon. However, an elliptical is not usually nearly as heavy as a treadmill. It’s a lot easier to move when the time comes.
7. Cardiovascular workout – This may too be up for debate, but an elliptical, by the very nature of the design of the machine, provides a better cardio workout. That’s because you’re working both the legs and the arms in an elliptical workout. Now some people don’t do much besides hang on with their hands during an elliptical workout. However, many people use the elliptical as it was designed to be used and workout to really work their arms, too. Used properly, it does provide a better whole body workout than an elliptical machine.