How To Make Your Ab Workout Much More Effective

Do you ever feel like no matter how many crunches you do, you never see any real difference? Because the abdomen is made up of several smaller muscles, it can be difficult to target them during an ab workout. However, strengthening your core is not only an essential part of good fitness, but overall health. "Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen to work in harmony," per The Mayo Clinic. "This leads to better balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities. In fact, most sports and other physical activities depend on stable core muscles."

If you're fluent in fitness, you know that Russian twists are a pretty common core exercise. A traditional Russian twist is done while seated, with knees bent and feet hovering above the floor (or, if you're a beginner, your heels can rest on the floor). While leaning back at about a 45-degree angle, you then squeeze your core while twisting side to side (via Healthline). There are lots of variations to Russian twists (like holding a weight as you rotate) to give you a more challenging workout or target different muscles. However, one important tip can make this exercise significantly more effective. 

A stable core in Russian twists makes the ab workout more effective

Want to build an impressive core? Your workout is more effective when you practice ab exercises correctly. A traditional Russian twist involves rotating your core side to side, but per Stack, stabilizing the core will make this workout much more effective. "You need to rethink the Russian Twist to make it a safer and more beneficial exercise," the site notes. "It shouldn't be a rotational movement where you twist your lower back. Rather, lock in your core and rotate the weight you're holding slowly from side to side without twisting."

"Maintaining this rigid position will crush your abs and stabilizers, while your obliques work to prevent your torso from rotating as you move the weight back and forth — the way your core is intended to function. Finding this stable position and maintaining it is far more effective than flailing around. It makes this an exercise worth performing."

Instead of twisting your entire core, Stack recommends rotating your hands or weights out toward your hips, while keeping your midsection stable and engaged. Avoid tapping your weights on the ground after your rotate, as this can cause over-rotation.