Workouts tend to focus on regions we need the most work on, and over the course of selecting your workout exercises, there are different routines that can yield results greater than others. Ab workouts are traditionally the workouts that are left until last during the exercise routine, but are the key to maintaining a healthy overall body.
If you were to think of the limbs of your body as limbs of a tree, then the abdominal muscles form the tree trunk. Abdominal muscles are the core of almost everything we do, therefore, keeping that core in the best shape possible with ab workouts only makes sense.
With ten different types of yoga, free weights, machine weights, resistance training, cross training and Pilates, there are many different types of ab workouts to choose from, but choosing the one that is correct for you is key to your success. Choosing exercise routines that do not fit your lifestyle, or exercises that are not fun and interesting for you will likely mean you will not choose to do them as often and inevitably defeat the purpose.
Out of those ten varieties of yogic exercises, only three provide an ab workout or focus on abdominals. Kundalini Yoga is a core workout on your abs and spine intended to free up the potential of your chakra. Ashtanga Yoga is a physically demanding yoga, intended to keep you in very fast motion focusing on your arms and chest. Prenatal Yoga is yoga for pregnant women and focuses on core work and breathing.
Free weights are a good way to exercise your abdominal muscles as some movements can target more than one muscle group, and also can add a degree of difficulty over doing the same exercise without weights. Ab workouts with weights are considered more difficult exercises, and might be too challenging for the beginner, so consider this as an exercise you may want to grow into. When beginning free weight core exercises, it is a good idea to start with the smallest weights possible like a 2.5-pound or 5-pound weight.
Machine weights and resistance training are very similar as the weight applied is both controlled and restricted. Targeting your abdominals in ab workouts with either a series of machines or a resistance machine is an easy and sometimes fun way to work on your abdominal groups. Typically, in the bigger gyms, there is a circuit to do, and people enter the circuit and move through the designated machines in a rapid paced workout routine. When starting to do circuits in a gym, it may be better to start in off peak hours so you get into the exercises without feeling pressured.
Pilates has evolved over the years to include many different types of props, but the basic fundamental exercises involved in Pilates involve only a mat and a chair. Pilates works on six principles, concentration, control, centering, flow, precision and breathing, but all of these principles focus on the core of your body, which is a great way to do ab workouts as well as conditioning the muscles around the spine and pelvic area.
As always, it is a good idea to consult a physician when planning your exercise routines, as people suffering from particular conditions may find some exercises detrimental to their condition. Regardless, ab workouts will always yield a healthy core, so (with the aid of your doctor) determine which ones are right for you and happy exercising.