Ab straps are pieces of exercise equipment that somebody may use if he or she is interested in exercising their abdominal muscles. Ab straps come in different materials, but they are usually nylon or a nylon-like material formed into the shape of a loop, with enough space to stick one’s entire arm through. They come in pairs, one for each arm. Attached to the material is a metal clip, so that the ab straps may be attached to a power rack or any horizontal bar onto which the metal clips can be securely attached.
Hanging leg raises are the main use of ab straps. To begin this exercise, one has to put his or her arms into the ab straps so that the bottom of the strap is up past the elbow. After putting the arms through the straps, the exerciser must bring his or her forearm up into a right angle as if he she were going to flex the bicep muscle. If the horizontal bar above the person’s head is too, a box or some sort of reliable and stationary platform may be used so that when the legs are perfectly straight down they have something on which to rest.
Leg raises can be done in two basic ways. The first way is to bring the legs, which are not bent at the knee, forward so they form a right angle, or as near a right angle as possible, to the trunk of the person’s body. Once the legs are as far upward as they can be without bending at the knee, they can be slowly brought back to their original position so the body is perfectly straight. The other form of basic leg lifts is very similar. When the body is perfectly straight and suspended from the straps, the person brings the knees up to the chest, as if doing a cannon ball off of a diving board. It is important when doing this type of leg lift to keep the feet pointed downward as the thighs are brought up toward the chest.
When doing exercises with ab straps, or any other abdominal exercise, it is important to keep the abdominal muscles flexed during the exercise in order to maximize the effort being exerted by the abdominal muscles. It is also important not to just drop the legs back to their original position during the “negative” portion of the lift, but to lower them slowly while keeping the abdominal muscles contracted, to once again get the maximum effect of the lift.