Last week we started looking at our core, testing out whether we had a weakness and how we could strengthen our midsection. This week we’ll offer a 5-pack of exercises to help you build that 6-pack you’ve always wanted.
First off, let’s make it clear: ab workouts alone won’t get you there. You need a proper, BALANCED diet to pair with your BALANCED workout regimen. You can’t be eating your weight in oreos (trust me, I’d look like The Rock if you could).
Before we get to ’em, let’s remember that our core is made up of our abdominals and obliques, as well as your lower back muscles. If your lower back is weak, not only will it restrict the capability of your ab workouts but it won’t be able to hold your gut from sagging over your belt line. On another note, a fun little factoid: you can’t actually ‘isolate’ your upper or lower abs. Technically your rectus abdominus is one single muscle, so while you can ‘focus’ on upper or lower, the entire muscle is engaged to some degree during exercise.
1. Spiderman Plank
Are you surprised? You already know of our love for Spidey. And planks. Combine the two and you get an all-around attack on your core, hitting all three major muscle groups. Once in plank position, alternate bringing a knee to your elbow on each side.
2. Bicycle Crunch
One of the more well-known ab exercises, but doesn’t mean it’s not effective! Combining the bicycle leg motion with the crunch by alternatively bringing your elbows to the opposite knee cranks your obliques and upper and lower abs all at once. Reverse the bicycle to shock your system midway. One left plus one right equals one rep.
A more advanced move, and a sibling to the Fold-up, the Clothespin keeps your abs and obliques burning for the duration of the exercise. Sit straight legged on the floor with your arms out in front of you. Lean back and come to a balance on your tailbone. Focus on keeping your legs straight as you raise them up and bring your hands to your ankles. Slowly return to the starting position (not all the way back to the floor), and repeat.
4. Leg into Hip Raise
Maximize the impact on your lower abs by adding a hip raise to the top of your leg raise. Lying flat on your back and keeping legs straight with toes pointed, slowly raise your legs up until vertical. Top it off by raising your hips off the ground, driving your legs up into the air. Return you hips to the floor, slowly lower your legs to six inches off the ground, and repeat.
5. Mason Twists
Hammer it home with some mason twists to chisel out those obliques. Sitting on the floor, engage your abs by leaning back and lifting your feet off the floor, coming to a balance on your tailbone. Preferably with a medicine ball or other weight in hand, twist side to side, tapping the weight on the floor on each side. One rep is a tap on both sides.
So test out this ab circuit and let us know what you think!
What’s your favorite ab exercise?