The 10 Best Ab Straps
Benefits Of Using Ab Straps
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more space-efficient workout as well.
If you've been spending hour after hour in the gym, doing countless sit-ups and crunches, you might be asking yourself if there's a better way to get a six-pack. The answer is yes — and ab straps can be the solution you've been looking for.
One of the great things about using straps to do hanging exercises is that they force you to engage your entire core. While crunches work the most prominent muscle in your abs, the rectus abdominis, they do little for your obliques or your transversus abdominis, the deep band of muscle that stretches laterally across your midsection.
When you're doing hanging leg raises, for example, you're using your obliques to hold your body steady, while your rectus and transversus abdominis muscles pull your knees up. This saves you time while also speeding up your results.
Another problem with crunches is that they can put a tremendous strain on your back, especially if you use poor form. Hanging from a pair of straps, meanwhile, keeps your spine aligned, while also helping to elongate your torso. It's a great, low-impact way to attack your abs without catching your lower back in the crossfire.
Since most straps are padded, they're also much more comfortable than laying on the floor, especially if you plan on putting some serious time in during a session. This also ensures that your focus stays on the muscles you're engaging, rather than having your mind wander to the various other aches and pains you might be experiencing.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more space-efficient workout as well. All you need is something to hook them to, such as a chin-up bar. Once you have that, you can get a tremendous upper-body workout in, and all you need in terms of room is a standard door frame.
Oh, and did we mention that they're incredibly inexpensive? You don't need to plunk down thousands of dollars for a full home gym, or keep letting that fitness center down the street bleed you dry one month at a time. For just a little bit of money, you can get a durable, efficient piece of workout equipment.
Of course, you'll likely need some other gear — or just a killer bodyweight workout plan — if you want to beef up your legs and glutes, as well. However, if you're just gunning for that six-pack, a good pair of straps can take you most of the way there.
Then, once you're good and ripped, you can save money on clothes by just walking around shirtless all the time.
The Ultimate Guide To Hanging Knee Raises
The most common exercise you'll encounter with ab straps is the hanging leg raise, and for good reason. It's been called "the perfect ab workout," because it utilizes your entire core while also stabilizing your lower back.
To start, hang by your arms with your legs either fully extended beneath you or your knees slightly bent. Having your legs fully extended is more challenging, as it places the weight farther away from your core, forcing it to work harder.
Exhale on the way up, and hold your feet at the top of the movement for a few seconds before lowering them.
If you're going the legs-extended route, lift your feet until they're at a 90-degree angle in front of you. Exhale on the way up, and hold your feet at the top of the movement for a few seconds before lowering them. This is a harder workout, so it may not be ideal for beginners, and it puts slightly more of a strain on your lower back, so be careful if you have a history of issues.
For a lighter workout, keep your knees bent, and bring them up towards your chest so that your knees are perpendicular to your hips. Try to keep your legs tucked in towards your body, because if you extend them too far out, you'll strain your hip flexors — and chances are you already abuse them enough.
Of course, if you want the ultimate hanging leg raise variation, you'll need to keep your legs straight...and then lift them until your body forms a "V" and your feet are above your head. This takes a tremendous amount of strength and flexibility — and you'll likely want to use pull-up rings instead of ab straps — but it's one of the most challenging core exercises possible.
If you pull it off, however, it will let you accomplish what every workout warrior truly wants to do: showing off.
Other Incredible Ab Exercises
While doing hanging leg raises will go a long way towards making your core look like it was chiseled out of granite, there are other exercises that are equally effective. Varying your routine can speed up your results — not to mention stave off boredom — so here are a few others to try.
It seems easy at first, but it can be extremely challenging — and that's because it works your abs, back, and butt simultaneously.
The first is the plank. To do it, simply lay face-down on the floor in push-up position, except resting on your elbows instead of your hands. Now, hold that position. It seems easy at first, but it can be extremely challenging — and that's because it works your abs, back, and butt simultaneously.
Once you get the hang of planking, you can consider buying an ab wheel. These are little wheels with handles that let you slowly extend your body, putting tremendous strain on your core (in a good way, of course). You can roll out straight ahead of you or side to side, allowing you to target every part of your stomach.
Don't sleep on squats, either (and definitely don't sleep while doing squats). They're possibly the best full-body exercise known to man, and because they require you to hold your upper body straight while supporting a large amount of weight, they work your abs like a demon. Trust us: if you're not doing squats, you're not doing squat.