The Ab Exercise You're Missing Out On
Thumbnail photo credit: Men's Fitness
The abdominals originate on the front of the ribs and inserts onto the pelvis.
When the abs contract, they pull their origin point and their insertion point closer together, which causes spinal flexion.
So, the function of the abs is spinal flexion. Or, bending your spine forward.
To train a muscle, you have to apply resistance to its function.
Therefore, any good ab exercise will require spinal flexion against resistance.
How do you apply resistance to spinal flexion?
You need the resistance to come from a 45 degree angle above your head. IF the direction is coming from directly down (like with a leg raise, which is not a very good exercise), then the resistance will not be applied to the abdominals through much of the exercise performance.
Literally, the only way to apply that line of resistance is with a cable.
A cable crunch is the BEST ab exercise you can do from an anatomical and biomechanics standpoint.
This is the line of resistance you need to aim for when you use a cable crunch,
What does the research say?
Unfortunately, there isn’t any research on the cable crunch. However, there is research that displays higher ab activity when both the upper and lower body are involved in the exercise.
So how do we add a lower body component to the cable crunch?
We do the exercise standing up. So,
Research + Anatomy + Biomechanics = Standing Cable Crunch with a 45 degree angle of resistance being the best ab exercise out there.
How many reps should you do?
The research says you should use higher reps (10–15).
That is based on the abs displaying a higher portion of type 1 muscle fibers. Type 1 muscle fibers take a greater amount of time to become fatigued. So, you have to use longer sets (ie high amounts of reps) to stress the fibers properly.