My Favorite Ab Exercise

Kelsey Lensman ATC


     Abs!! We all want them, but how the heck do you get them? Now a majority of it has to do with nutrition, but they’re a muscle just like any other muscle. What does that mean? We have to train them (and no, that doesn’t mean just bodyweight crunches)! I was guilty of this. I hated training my abs and honestly never did until about 2-3 weeks before my first bikini bodybuilding show. But, I decided that incorporating abs into my training was going to be one of the main changes I made.  I can tell you it has made not only a visible difference, but also has translated over into feeling stronger and more stable in all of my other lifts.


     Standing ab rope curls. This is my FAVORITE ab exercise to do. Why? First, I love doing them standing because you have to stabilize your entire body (not just your upper body when you’re kneeling). This makes it harder and allows you to really focus on the entire movement. Second, when going through the motion you can focus on curling your entire torso slow and controlled. This increases the range of motion and hits exactly what you want to focus on. This next reason is the main reason why it is my favorite. This greatly challenges both concentric and eccentric portions of the movement. It challenges the concentric (shortening portion) by having to curl the weight down. It challenges the eccentric by having to go slow and controlled when returning to the initial position. That is HUGE! It is tough, but it is key. This is way tougher than the kneeling rope curls.


A few keys for this exercise:

1. Begin the movement with tilting your pelvis forward so you can activate your abs before you begin the motion. This puts you in a better starting position and helps you isolate your abs throughout.

2. Change up your stance. The wider stance you have with your feet, the easier it is because you will be more stable. The narrower stance you have with your feet, the harder it is because you will be less stable.

3. CONTROL ON THE WAY UP! I can’t stress this enough. When returning to the initial position, do NOT let the weight create a huge arch in your lower back. Control the weight and return to the exact position that you started in (with your pelvis tilted forward) and neutral spine.

4. Increase the weight as you are able to but do NOT lose proper positioning! Form over ego – ALWAYS!


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