Battle of the AB Exercises

Nov 23, 2010
Battle of the AB Exercises

Why waste your time with exercises that don't work...find out if yours do!

So you think you know everything there is to know about ab exercises and ab machines. For your sake I hope you are right, because if you're not you may be wasting your time working your legs more than your abs. Recently a new study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research took three ab exercises and one Ab device and using Electomyographic Analysis (say that five times really fast) compared the four to find out which one worked the Abdominal wall the most,was the least problematic for your back and which one used the legs the least.


First let me explain a little about what EMG Analysis is. EMG uses a device known as Electomyograph to measure and record the electrical output of a certain muscle contraction, the harder the muscle contracts the more output it sends to the Electromyograph which can help to determine what exercises are most effective and which ones are wasting your time, it's kind of like "American Idol" but with muscles and electrodes...okay never mind it's nothing like "American Idol" The four exercises tested were the AB-Slide Exercise, you know the one were you are on your knees with your hands placed on a device that rolls forward and backward, the Abdominal Crunch, the Supine Double Leg Thrust and the Side Bridge, a favorite of Pilates enthusiasts everywhere.; The tests were done to find what exercises used your Abs most and your legs and back the least.

The Battle Heats Up!

Does the Double Leg Thrust produce Double the results?

NO, first lets start with the name "Double Leg Thrust." Now seriously if you have the word LEG in the name of the exercise then there is probably a pretty good chance your going to be using these LEGS to do some(or a lot) of the work. If you guessed yes than you are correct. Starting on your back with your knees bent in a table top position with your lower legs parallel to the floor and your arms stretched out on the floor above your head slowly extend and straighten out your legs then simply curl them back into the starting position. the Double Leg Thrust scored by far the highest on Leg activation and second on Abdominal activation, although it did do very well in also working your Internal and External Obliques, love handles. The other drawback to this exercise is the unnecessary strain on your lower back, something to be aware of if you have lower back concerns.


The Traditional Ab Crunch begins on the floor with your lower back pressed into the floor and your hands placed behind your head, slowly raise your upper torso off of the floor being careful not to pull with your arms and then slowly lower your head back to the floor. The Ab Crunch scored in at third for Abs activation and just below the Leg Thrust for Internal and External Oblique activation. The Crunch did have less activation of the legs and back though than the Leg Thrust if done correctly.

Side Bridge

The Side Bridge has you laying on your side using the forearm closest to the floor for support as well as the side of the foot closest to the floor, your body shout be completely straight. I know what most of you are saying "the Side Bridge has got to get the best score on the obliques" if you thought that than you would be wrong. While it did score the best on the least amount of leg activation, it also scored the least in Abs and oblique activation.

Ab Sliding your way to Victory

Which leaves us with the Ab Slide as out "Battle of the Abs" Champion. The Ab Slide scored highest in Abdominal activation and was tied for both tops in External and Internal Oblique activation and least amount of Leg Activation during the exercise.
If you are having a hard time carving out your abs or are just looking for something new to use to help you just attain a flatter stomach then the Ab Slider sounds like a pretty good product to look into. Keep checking out the site for more "Battle of the..." competitions where we compare exercises, supplements, equipment and a whole lot more in the months to come. If you have a battle you would like to see send us an email and we'll try to make it happen.

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