Are you still doing dozens of crunches in the hopes of getting flat, washboard abs?
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. Angling your knees toward the opposite shoulder is a wonderful way increase the intensity even more.
3. Russian Twists: 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 and slightly off the floor. Keep your torso straight and your back off the ground at a 45 degree angle. Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell with both hands. Next, the arms should be swung from one side to another in a twisting motion, with each swing to a side counting as one repetition. Move slowly for a more challenging workout.
4. Knee Tucks: Some people neglect their lower abs in favor of quicker, easier exercises. The fact is that our lower abs typically need the most work, so give them the attention that they need with these Knee Tucks.
Start on your back, bend your knees with your feet on the floor and knees touching. Extend both arms overhead on either side of your ears, palms facing up. Exhale and bring your knees up towards your chest. Slowly lower your hips back down to start position.
5. Side Bridges: This exercise is another variation of the 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.