It’s true! Getting a six-pack is possible but hardly enjoyable! But seriously, getting a rock hard core shouldn’t mean that you give up all carbs in the name of sexy! Cue the simpler, and so much more bearable, route to toning and strengthening your core - abs exercises
To attain great, hard rock abs, it is important to target all the surrounding muscles. The following ab exercises are easy to do and you can do them in a gym or in your living room.
Sit ups and crunches - and before you groan - let me tell you that they are the best way to go when it comes to ab exercises.
#1. Sit ups or curl ups
Sit ups are difficult to do especially if you are doing them after a long time, therefore it is advisable to start with partial sit ups. They work directly on your rectus abdominis also known as six packs. They also strengthen your core including your lower back muscles and obliques. You can do them three ways - just so that you don’t get bored!!
How to do it: Lie flat on your back, relax you head, neck and shoulders. Bend your knees and raise them but keep your soles firmly on the ground. Put your hands to the side of your head and keep your elbows pointing out. Support your head with your hands but don’t pull your head. Tighten your abs and slowly lift your shoulders, head and neck off the floor. Lift up to 30, 35 degrees off the floor. Make sure to breath out when you lift yourself and inhale when you back down. Hold this position for 3 seconds lower your body to the start position.
How many: Do these 10 times, take a minute break and do it again for 2 times if you are a beginner and 4 if you are used to ab exercises.
#2. Flutter Kicks
Another great ab exercise is the flutter kicks. They are great calorie burner and one can burn around 120 calories depending on the intensity of the ab exercise, this is the amount of calorie you burn through 15 minutes of walk.
Why do this: Flutter kicks are also great cardio exercise as they increase your heart rate which helps the capillaries deliver oxygen to your muscles. The objective of doing any ab exercise is to attain great looking abs, isn’t it? Well, that’s what flutter kicks do for you!! It sculpts your ab and turn them into toned sexy looking tummy.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms on your side. Lift both heels 6 inches from the floor and kick your feet up and down in quick motions as if you were standing and kicking a ball.
How many: Do these 5 minutes, take a minute break and repeat 4 times or more.
#3. Leg Raise
The leg raise is the best ab exercise to turn your jelly belly into a toned one. They help your body burn calories faster, around 60 calories for every 15 minutes leg raise.
Why do this: The leg raise helps build your strength by making your abs and hips stronger, they make it easier for you to maintain your balance and stability and are extremely important for the young athletes and gymnasts.
How to do it: Lie on the floor and grab on to a heavy chair for support. Keep your legs straight and raise them until they are vertical, hold for 5 seconds and lower back down. Don’t let your feet touch the ground to maintain the tension on your abs.
How many: Do three sets of 12 to 20 reps with 30 seconds of rest between sets.
Do these 10 times, take a minute break and repeat 5 times.
#4. Gorilla Chin Crunches
You would not have fun if you have toned abs but flabby arms and this is where these Gorilla Chin Crunches come in - they give you both!
Why do this: This is a great ab exercise which not only strengthen your abs but also chisels your arms and upper body. All you need is a chin up bar and loads of determination.
How to do it: Place the chin up bar on a strong place where it is firm. Hang on it with your palms facing you. Your palms should be a little wider than your shoulder. Now, bend your knees to around 90-degree angle so that your calves are parallel to the floor and your thighs are perpendicular to it. Breathe out and pull yourself up, perform a crunch by bringing your knees to your chest and bring your nose to the level of the bar. Back down in the starting position while breathing in gradually.
How many: You can start with 4 sets of 12 but if you are a beginner, do as many as you can.
Plank is another great ab exercise which works on your upper and lower body and the same time.
Why do this: Plank is one of the best ab exercise which supports and improves your balance. It emphasizes on your abdominals, chest, shoulders, neck, biceps, triceps, thighs and calves and strengthens them.
How to do it: Lie on the floor on a push up position and bend your elbows to 90 degrees, now rest your weight on your arms and hold the position as long as you can.
How many: Hold a plank for about 2 minutes but if you are a beginner, you can try to hold it as long as you can.
#6. Russian Twist
Why do this: Russian twist is one of the best ab exercises that works on your obliques Obliques help to rotate your torso. It helps to make your waist smaller and brings out your abs. It also helps build your glutes and hamstrings.
How to do it: If you are a beginner you can start with holding a ball with both your hands and twist your torso to the right side until your arms are parallel to the floor. Come back to the starting position and repeat on the other side. You can gradually shift to weights once you get used to this abs exercise.
How many: You can start with 10 reps per side and gradually increase as you feel your torso strengthen.
#7. Exercise Ball Pull in
Exercise ball pull in is a great ab exercise which helps you to turn your belly into a lean stomach.
Why do it: This abs exercise helps to build abs specifically the lower abdominals including the muscles of the thigh and pelvic region.
How to do it: Take a large exercise ball, put your shins on top of the ball and come into a push up position, make sure to keep your back straight and pull in your knees towards your chest. Let the ball roll with you while you pull in your knees. Contract your abs when you pull in and then roll back into the starting position. Do not rush while doing this exercise to maintain your balance.
How many: If you’re a beginner, you can start with 3 sets of 15 repetitions and gradually increase.
#8. Side Plank
Why Do This: Side Planks are considered one of the best abs exercise and why not! With this abs exercise, you’ll be able to work both sides of your body. This will help you to identify any weaknesses in your joints and muscle. So, you’ll be able to address them before they become chronic issues. What makes this a great abs exercise is that it works the weak muscle called the quadratus lumborum, which is part of your posterior abdominal wall. This muscle plays a prominent role in averting back pain.
How To Do This: Lie down and then turn on your right side. Make sure your body and legs are straight. Place a hip circle across your thighs. With the help of your forearm, prop yourself up and form a diagonal line. Compress your rib cage and your abs and hold your body in this position for 60 seconds. After 60 seconds, repeat the process with the other side.
How Many: Drop and give me 10-12 repetitions of 3 sets.
#9. Cable Crunches
Why do it: Cable crunches are an effective ab exercise which leave a great impact on the abdominal muscles. It works on the core muscles, lower back muscles and improves stability and flexibility. It also helps prevents injuries as it strengthens the core to the max.
How to do it: Start with kneeling on the floor or sit on a bench in front of the cable machine. Hold the ropes with each hand. Your wrists should be against the sides of your head. Now, pull your elbows down closer to your thighs and contract your abdominal muscles. Breath out when you pull the ropes down and slowly return to the starting position while breathing out.
How many: You can start this ab exercise as per your convenience and increase gradually. Start with 3 sets of 10 reps each. You may like to couple this abs exercise with two other movements such as a plank (3 sets of 10 reps) and side jackknife (3 sets of 10 reps).
#10. Hanging Oblique Knee Raises
Why do it: The hanging oblique knee raise targets your side waist muscles and helps build abs.
How to do it: Insert your arms into arm straps and hang your legs toward the floor. Now bend your knees up to your right shoulder. Pause and then release your legs to hang. Then bend your knees up toward your left shoulder. Again pause, then release your legs to hang. Continue to alternate - right then left.
How Many: Aim for eight to 10 total reps, and up to three sets.
If you plan to start ab exercises, you need to start by losing that belly fat so cut down on those fatty, fried food and grab greens and proteins. Motivate yourself daily and start your workout, start with a 15 minutes ab exercise routine and increase as you feel comfortable.