Best ab exercises for runners

Best ab exercises for runners

A strong core is important for all runners - researchers rank the best and worst ab exercises

Runners know that a strong core is vital for good performance but which stomach exercises should be included in the best ab workout?

A new study, published by the American Council on Exercise, looked into this, ranking the best and worst stomach exercises in order of their effectiveness.

The study looked at the results of several different ab exercises, from the traditional crunch to an ab roller, on 30 healthy men and women aged between 20-45. The participants were a mix of occasional to regular exercisers. The results were studied by analyzing the muscle activity during each of the 13 different exercises using electromyography equipment.

According to the study, the best ab exercises for hardening your core are:

1. Bicycle crunches

According to the study, the bicycle crunch was the most effective stomach exercise when analyzing the muscle activity in the abdominals.

To complete a bicycle crunch, lie on your back with your lower back pressed into the ground, bring your knees in towards your chest, and lift your shoulder blades off the ground. Straighten your right leg, while turning your upper body to the left, bringing your right elbow towards the left knee.

2. Captain’s chair

For this ab exercise, you’ll need to be in a gym. Using a captain’s chair or a seat-less chair with back and armrests, let your legs dangle straight down, before raising your knees towards your chest. Engaging your ab muscles, slowly lower your legs back down and repeat. One to add to the best ab workout list.

According to the study, the third most effective abdominal exercise was the simple crunch, but on a medicine or balance ball. Lie on the ball with your hands behind your head and complete the simple crunch, using your core muscles to lower yourself down and bring yourself forward.

According to the researchers, although crunches on an exercise ball generated less activity in the obliques and rectus abdominals than some of the other ab exercises on the list, as it generated less activity in the leg muscles, it was more targeted to the abs and the best overall exercise.

The worst exercises for working your core:

Researchers found the least effective ab exercises on the list were the traditional crunch, an exercise tubing pull using a resistance band, and using an ab rocker. Researchers noted: “The ab roller was no more effective than the traditional crunch, while the ab rocker was up to 80% less effective.”

For best results, the author of the study recommends adding several of the top-rated exercises to a five-minute, daily routine.

The 13 ab exercises used, ranked most to least effective, were:


Fit woman doing warm up exercises

1. Bicycle crunches

2. Captain’s chair

3. Crunches on an exercise ball

4. Vertical leg crunch

5. Torso Track

6. Long arm crunch

7. Reverse crunch

8. Crunch with heel push

9. Ab Roller

10. Hover

11. Traditional crunch

12. Exercise tubing pull

13. Ab Rocker

Best ab exercises for runners
Kian Proactive June 23, 2024
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