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Worst Ab Exercises

Worst Ab Exercises Ranked For Your Ab Workout


Ab exercises are great if you want to look good and have a flat wash board stomach. However, if you choose the wrong exercises it can wreak havoc on your low back. Gerald Smith investigates the worst exercises for abs that should be avoided when you train your abs.

How to avoid back pain when doing core exercises

If your body fat is already low then ab exercises can give that finishing touch to your six pack and make you look fantastic.

There are a plethora of different ab exercises available to work your lower abdominals, obliques and upper abdominals.

In fact, which ones are safe for you to do? There can be situations when a abdominal exercise can be counterproductive.

For example, if you have lower back pain there are definitely some exercises that you try to stay away from, because they can make lower back worse.

There are also some abdominal exercises that can be bad for posture…..

Going back to what I said at the start of the article, if your body fat is low ab exercises can make a difference…….

However, before I reveal the worst 5 abdominal exercises and why they are bad, lets discuss some facts about abdominal exercises.

ab exercise

Doing sit-ups, side plank, bicycle crunch, Russian twist, Ab machines alone wont burn fat!

Yes, you heard me right. A ab workout alone will not burn fat. You could do 1000 sit ups every day and the muscle will become rock hard under a layer of soft belly fat.

The reason why you wont burn your belly fat is because the abdominal muscles are too small a muscle group to get the necessary calorie burn to burn body fat.

Compound vs isolated ab exercises

Think of it like this. If you do an exercise like a bicep curl it may burn 50 calories if you do 12 repetitions in 50-60 seconds.

A bicep curl works mainly the bicep because it is an isolated exercise.

A compound exercise is an exercise that works multiple muscle groups at the same time.

So if you can do an exercise that works 5 muscle groups then you’re going to burn close to 5 times the calories compared to an exercise that works one muscle.

This means that if you are doing a compound exercise and are doing 12 reps in 50-60 seconds you are using your time more efficiently for fat burning.

worst ab exercises

Here are 5 of the worst ab Exercises ranked:

  • Hanging lifts
  • Incline sit ups
  • Side bends
  • Ab roller ab curl
  • Twisting ab machine

Worst Ab exercises for an ab workout – 5 worst ab exercises ranked

  1. Hanging leg raise

This exercise mainly works your hip flexor muscles while your abdominals stabilize. The fact that you are hanging also builds grip strength.

Unless you have a particular reason for wanting strong hands you should probably stay away from this exercise.
Lifting your legs against gravity to raise your legs up in the air causes a massive pull from your hips against your lumbar spine.

I am not saying that you will definitely injure yourself, but why take a chance?

  1. Incline sit ups

This exercise is one of the biggest culprits in causing hip flexor domination in your body. Your abdominal muscles will get activated during the exercise, but not as much as your hip flexors.

When you increase the incline during this exercise you increase the pull of the hip flexor on the lower back, which can lead to greater pain.

Please avoid this exercise as there better ones out there that will work your abdominals in a safer and more functional way.

  1. Side bends

Your abdominals help to cause rotation and bend your body to the side, and this exercise works the oblique muscles that cause you to bend in this particular plane of motion.

The problem with this exercise is that it causes your vertebrae to squash together every time you do this exercise, which could lead to back problems.

  1. Ab roller ab curl

I always hated this exercise. What happens for most people the first time they do a normal ab curl is that they may experience neck pain.

Based on the fact that some people get neck pain doing this exercise, someone had the idea to produce an ab roller to take away any neck pain…..

Sounds like a good idea right?……


First of all, the flexors in your neck don’t get any stronger……

Secondly, you end up using your arms and hip flexors more than your stomach.

This exercise is not dangerous……….. It’s just a waste of time!

  1. Twisting ab machine

The first time I saw this machine I thought that it was the greatest bit of equipment ever made. I used it in every workout without fail.

Then I realised that this machine causes your lumbar spine to rotate in a greater range than it supposed to.
Your lumbar spine (lower spine) only has three degrees of movement.

Once they are forced to rotate any more than that, the discs start to wear down and will cause chronic back problems in later years. So you should definitely avoid this exercise if you are planning perfect v line abs workout at home.


Achieving a sixpack is not easy, and it takes more work then just doing an ab workout. Combining exercises for lower abs like a basic plank can help, but you will need to eat a healthy diet that puts you into calorie deficit.

As proven in this article there are some exercise that are going to do more harm then good for your lower back. The best ab exercises will not only tone your abs, but can also improve your overall core strength.

Choose your ab exercises carefully and ensure that you use different ab exercises to target different areas of your abs.

Book a free consultation with an experienced personal trainer

If you suffer from lower back pain and you want to learn how to achieve your fitness goals without aggravating your back please book a free workout, nutrition and fitness conultation with me now.

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