Of course diet plays a big part in a flat stomach, but with the right ab exercises you should be able to fast-track your progress. Something all of us would like.
With that being said, if you stick to a healthy and active lifestyle while working these 5 muscle burning ab exercises into your regular routine, you will be flaunting flatter, fitter abs before the warm weather hits.
The Abdominal Backstroke
And here you were thinking the backstroke was just for swimming. Well think again fellow calorie counters because the abdominal backstroke is an effective exercise for not only targeting your abs, but it also helps to tone your whole core, including your obliques.
To properly preform this exercise, sit on your mat in a reclined position with your feet on the floor, knees bent, and your hands resting on the floor to the side of your knees.
Circle one arm back behind you while maintaining your reclined position. Make sure you aren’t reclining back too far so that your feet come off the mat and your abs aren’t engaged.
Push yourself to complete 3 sets of 20 reps with each hand and you will be one step closer to sexy abs.
Side Plank Crunches
Yes. It sounds like a lot but if you want the waistline you have always dreamed of, you are going to have to push yourself.
To really target those obliques, and to give the rest of your body a good conditioning while you are at it, lie on your side with your legs, hips, and upper body off the floor. Make sure your body is being supported by your elbow, but don’t sink down in your shoulders. Staying lifted, twist and rotate your upper body towards the floor while keeping your legs off the floor and straight.
Hold your rotation for about 3 seconds and return to your starting position. To really feel the burn, do 3 sets of 12 rotations for each side.
They don’t really sound like an effective ab exercise, do they? However if you keep your abs engaged and focus on controlling your movements, these leg lifts can be just as effective as the regular crunch.
Simply lie on your back on your mat and raise one leg in the air so it forms a 90 degree angle with your body. Make sure your abs are engaged the whole time you are lifting and lowering your legs and that your back is not arching off the floor with each movement.
Lift and lower your legs in a scissor-like movement and to really feel it working your abs make sure you complete at least 3 sets of 15 per leg.
If you do this exercise properly you will be effectively toning not only your abs but the rest of your core muscles as well as your glutes, hip flexors, legs and obliques.
Not bad for a simple leg lift.
The Jack Knife
It sounds scary but if you have any sort of muscle tone to your body, this exercise shouldn’t be.
Simply lie on your back with your arms above your head, resting on the floor. At the same time lift your legs and arms vertically to meet each other at the top so you are sort of folded up and then lower back down to the floor again.
To ensure you are doing this exercise properly, don’t jerk your body or use your momentum to lift yourself up. Use straight up muscle strength and work up to more reps.
Being as this exercise is a bit more advanced than the others, if you can only do 1 set of 12 to start with, that’s fine. Just make sure that each time you preform this exercise you strive to do another rep until you have reached the goal of 3 sets of 12 reps.
If you can push yourself to reach this goal you will be kicking your core muscles, abs, and hip flexors into better shapethan they have ever been in before.
Lower Body Bicycles
This exercise is a core move in Pilates but can also be adapted for any regular exercise routine. Once again, just make sure you are not letting your back arch while doing this exercise and you are keeping your abs engaged and strong.
To work your core muscles, your abs, and your legs, simply lie on the floor on your back and bend your knees to a 90 degree angle. Then extend and lower one of your legs forward so it is parallel to the floor while keeping your abs flat and engaged.
Hold your leg straight for 3 seconds, bring it back to it’s starting position and repeat the exercise using your other leg.
To get a good mental picture of the technique, think of how you do bicycles but don’t involve your upper body. If you can complete 3 sets of 20 on each leg, you will be shaking and sweating in no time.
Finally, no matter what exercises you choose to do, make sure you pair them with a healthy diet and active lifestyle and you will be one step closer to that beach-ready body in no time. Ω
Vanessa is a lifestyle blogger whose work can be found on various websites around cyberland, including reviews on Naturaful, as well as many other lifestyle brands. The best part about her job? She gets to help her readers live their best lives.