Do you use an exercise bench for ab exercises? Adding decline ab bench exercises will allow you to hit the major muscles of your abdomen while building a stronger core.
Using a decline bench or incline bench positions your upper body at an angle so that it’s lower than your hips and thighs. This position requires your body to work harder since you have to work against gravity and through a wider range of motion.
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What are the abdominal muscles and their function?
Transverse abdominals: The transverse abdominis sometimes called the transverse abdominals or TVA are the deepest muscles found in the abdomen region.
The muscles wrap all the way around the trunk of your body, the obliques or muscles on the side of your abdomen, and the rectus muscles, which run down the center of your belly and are responsible for creating your six-pack.
Obliques: The obliques are made up of the internal and external oblique muscles.
The internal obliques are thin sheets of muscles on both sides of the ab area beneath and perpendicular to the external obliques. They have multiple functions in the body including supporting the ration and bending of the trunk.
External obliques start at the lower ribs and extend to the pelvis. The function of the external obliques are to assist with movements such as twisting the trunk and rotating the spine.
Rectus abdominis: The rectus abdominis is what most people focus on. They are located in the front of the abdominal wall and are only visible at a low body fat percentage. They start at the rib cage and extend down to the pubic bone.
The primary function of the rectus abdominis is flexion of the trunk but it also assists with stabilization and controlling the tilt of the pelvis.
Why is a strong core important?
Core strength is important for everyday movement. A weak core can lead to a slew of pains and injuries in your back
- A strong back: Four out of five Americans will suffer some lower back pain at some point in their lives. Having strong core muscles can prevent and alleviate it.
- Balance and stability: Your core stabilizes your body.
- Posture: Having weak core muscles can contribute to slouching. By improving your core, it decreases stress on the spine.
What additional exercise equipment do you need?
You don’t need anything but your body. But you can add:
The best part of abdominal exercises is that you don’t need any heavy weights. A couple of light weights like a 5-pound weight can add some resistance. Lighter weights can be good to allow you to use proper form.
The core workout (complete 3 rounds of the following exercises)
20 Russian twists for both sides
15 decline crunches
20 extended arm medicine ball sit ups
15 decline situps
If you find the routine easy, you can increase the number of reps, sets or rounds.
Decline ab bench exercises to build a strong core
- Start in a sit-up position. Rotate your right elbow towards your left knee and vice versa.
- Keep your back straight and your core tight while doing this exercise.
- Try not to curl your spine as you twist to make sure you avoid injury.
- Get a good twist to really work those obliques.
Tip: You can use a med ball or a dumbbell for extra resistance.
Extended arm medicine ball sit up
- Lie on a decline bench, extend your arms with a medicine ball or weight plate directly above your shoulders.
- Keeping your core tight and your arms extended, sit up.
- Slowly lower yourself to starting position.
- Lift your torso up off the back pad and bring your chest to your thighs.
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
Tip: Breathe out as you come up and make sure you’re crunching your abs. Do not pull up with your legs.
- Interlock your fingers around the base of your head or cross your arms over your chest.
- Secure your feet onto the decline bench.
- Place your hands on the back of your head.
- Begin at the bottom of the bench, slowly sit up til you reach the top then slowly release to starting position.
Additional ab exercises
There are several exercises that work the same muscles as decline situps. You can do these in place of or in addition to your fitness routine.
Plank and side plank
The plank is a bodyweight exercise that requires you to contract your core and hold them in position. The traditional plank can also be modified while still working getting an effective hold.
The side plank, which I think is harder than a standard plank, is a unilateral exercise that strengthens your obliques.
Plank exercises are a great way to work your core without having to do a crunch of any kind. The benefits of planks include your ability to brace your core while activating your glutes, hamstrings and lower back.
Barbell ab exercises
Barbell ab exercises allow you to target your abs directly and indirectly. Exercises like the landmine rainbow and landmine single-arm shoulder press target your abs and shoulders, providing for greater stability in your workouts.
Build a strong core
Decline abdominal exercises are an effective way to work your core, back and hip flexors. All help strengthen your core, which helps you develop good posture, balance and stability.
This core workout can fit into your training in a variety of ways. It’s a perfect way to start out a full-on ab workout. Or you can use it as a core-focused finisher after you’ve completed the rest of your strength training.