Are you still doing dozens of crunches in the hopes of getting flat, washboard abs? Traditional crunches are old news, so let's take your ab routine to the next level with the following 5 Best Ab Exercises.
The most effective ab exercises strengthen your core as a whole – which helps prevent dreaded back pain, increases your agility and, of course, makes you look good.
In your new ab routine the focus is on quality over quantity. A few concentrated movements are always more effective than dozen and dozens of old fashion crunches ...
1) Plank: When performed correctly, a simple plank is one of the most effective ways to tighten your entire core. Proper form is key. Keep your back flat and your belly button pulled in toward your spine.
Lie face down on mat resting on your forearms, palms flat on the floor. Push off the floor, raising up onto your toes and resting on your elbows. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.
2) Mountain Climbers: This vigorous variation of a standard plank kicks the core tightening up a notch. Bring one knee up at a time, then switch. Angling your knees toward the opposite shoulder is a wonderful way increase the intensity even more.
Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground in a push-up position. Bring one knee to your chest and then back to the starting position, alternate each leg. Try this one slow and controlled for even more abdominal engagement!
3) Russian Twist: Nothing quite brings the burn like a properly done set of Russian Twists. By holding a medicine ball or dumbbell in your hands, the exercise becomes even more effective.
Sit on the floor with knees bent like in a "sit-up" position. The feet should be kept together. Keep your torso straight and your back off the ground at a 45 degree angle. Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell with both hands. (Beginners, cross your arms with hands at shoulders) Next, rotate your torso at the waist, from one side to another in a twisting motion. Move slowly for a more challenging workout.
4) Bicycles: This is a great exercise targeting the whole abdominal area. Rectus Abdominis, Transverse Abdominis and Obliques. If you were to do only one exercise, this is it!
Start on your back, bend your knees. Slowly extend one leg out bringing opposite elbow close to your knee. Keep your back in a neutral position. If you're not strong enough yet, extend your leg up higher. (this will keep your low back from arching). If you're stronger and your low back can handle it, then extend your leg out low to the floor.
5) Side Bridges or Side Plank: In yet another variation of the fantastic plank, Side Bridges are much more challenging that they appear at first glance. While the focus is mainly on your waist, due to the stabilizing nature of this exercise, you're also working your entire core as a whole.
Put your feet and legs together as you lie on your right side. Place your right arm under your body and lift your upper body so that your right elbow is directly under your shoulder. From this position, slowly raise your hips from the ground until a straight line is formed from your ankles to your shoulders. (Option to Lift your arm - advanced) Hold the position starting at 15-30 seconds and working up to 1 minute. Switch sides.
Even the best exercise routine in the world is fruitless if you throw away your results with sloppy eating. Remember to keep your meals lean by avoiding processed carbs, packaged foods or fried items. Fill up on lean proteins and fresh vegetables and reward yourself with organic, seasonal fruit. That is lean living!
Ready to take your fitness results to the next level? Call or email me today and we will get you started on an exercise program that's designed to deliver massive results. Come on, you deserve it!
To your best years yet!