When it comes to achieving flatter, firmer abdominal muscles – and therefore a more toned and shapely midriff – the first exercise that probably comes to mind is crunches. And while the classic crunch is all well and good and its benefits are certainly not to be sniffed at, it’s not the only exercise on the block when it comes to your stomach. In fact sticking to only one move won’t get you the results you’re after, so here are some rocking abs exercises that you might want to add to your routine.
Just as endlessly performing dumbbell curls is not going to give you all over toned and shapely arms, simply sticking to the tried and tested crunch will not produce abs that you can truly be proud of. All exercises are designed to target a different part of the body and whilst partially effective, the crunch is not hitting the spot when it comes to your entire stomach and core. Kick your abs routine up a notch this year and see what a difference the following exercises will have made when it comes to beach season!
The Siding Plank
Love them or loathe them, most of us incorporate planks into our routine but if you’re looking for something a little more extreme, buy yourself a pair of slide boards.
- Place your hands on the slide boards and adopt the planking position.
- Keeping your body even, stay in plank pose while sliding your left arm forward as far as you can reach. Position your right arm as if you were doing a push-up.
- Withdraw your left arm and move your right arm back into the plank position.
Tip: Sounds a little hardcore? Get in some practice and get used to your plank sliders by performing the move on your knees until you’re ready to step it up.
A simple but effective move that works on your transversus abdominis – otherwise known as the muscle you want to target if you’re aiming for a toned stomach. And let’s face it – who isn’t?!
- Lie flat on your mat and press your lower back into the floor.
- Breathe in while raising your arms above your head, and lifting them, and your legs, slightly off the ground. Remain in that position whilst exhaling fully.
Tip: Make sure you maintain contact between your lower back and the floor and exhale slowly – this creates tension in your abs.
The Saxon Side Bend
Named for Arthur Saxon, a famed 19th century German strongman, this was a move he often performed during his exercise routine to achieve his enviably chiseled midsection.
- Standing with your feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart, press one dumbbell over your head.
- Keep your back and arms straight while leaning to one side as far as you can without straining. Elbows should be unlocked.
- Slowly return to a straightened position and repeat on the other side.
Tip: You really don’t need to crush it with the weights. Depending on your fitness levels, aim for somewhere between four and eight-pound dumbbells.
The Over the Head Carry
A combination of core training and conditioning that utilizes kettlebells or dumbbells.
- Hold both your kettlebells (or dumbbells) and press one into a raised position over your head, keeping your arm straight.
- Walk in a straight line while keeping your hips level and your back in a neutral position.
- When you’re done change arms and repeat the move.
Tip: If you’re using dumbbells instead of kettlebells make sure they are suitable heavy. 2lbs is really not going to do much good when it comes to conditioning your core.
Medicine Ball Slams
Medicine balls are hugely effective when it comes to building core strength. Here’s just one way of adding them into your routine.
- Assume the position that you would as if you were about to do a squat.
- Quickly raise the medicine ball up over your head while inhaling.
- Breathe out sharply while slamming the ball to the floor with as much strength as you can muster.
- Pick the ball up and repeat the movement.
If you’re determined that 2016 will be the year that finally sees those flat abs that you’ve been dreaming about for so long, why not get in touch with us and see how we can help you make the dream become reality!