Seriously, there’s nothing more satisfying than taking a pose and seeing that chiseled appearance with abs that are accentuated and sculpted. You can get those abs but it takes time, patients, the perfect diet and exercises for rock hard abs. Core workouts are good for developing strong abs and some are better than others. Here are a few exercises I like to include when I want the best results.
You need to target three areas, upper abs, lower abs and obliques.
You can create a circuit that will address all three areas, doing a set of each of these exercises before you rest, then start over. Start with a kneeling cable crunch for your upper abs. You’ll need a cable machine. You can improvise with dumbbells and laying on your back on a bench instead of kneeling and lowering the dumbbells behind your head with your biceps next to your ears and knees bent, then raising up into a crunch. Follow this exercise immediately with a hanging leg raise.
A hanging leg raise is more difficult and targets lower abs.
The second exercise in the set is the leg raise. If you don’t have a pull-up bar, I suggest you get one. There’s normally around $20 and fit in your doorway, store easily and are important for many different exercises. Grab the pull-up bar using a shoulder-width pronated grip—palms facing down—keeping your eyes forward. Keep your legs straight and toes pointed as you lift your legs that’s slightly past parallel to the floor. Hold for a second or two and slowly lower back to the starting position. Try to go as slowly as possible when you lower your legs to maximize the benefits.
Another piece of equipment you need for ab workouts is an exercise/Swiss ball.
If you’re short on cash and want a good piece of ab equipment, an exercise or Swiss ball should be on your list. These balance balls require you to use your core muscles to maintain balance while you do each exercise. This one works the obliques. You start by laying back on the ball with your feet shoulder-width. Put your hands behind your head. Crunch your upper toward the left, allowing your body to curl to get the most stretch. Do several repetitions and curl toward the other side.
- For a change of pace, do a jackknife sit-up and hold. It works the lower abs. Lay on the floor extending arms and legs and lift to jackknife position, attempting to touch your toes and maintain that position for three seconds.
- Try a forearm plank if you’re a beginner. Get into push-up position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms, not your hands. Keep your body straight with feet aligned with the head. Tighten all core muscles and hold for a half minute to a minute.
- Another easy to master, but tough to do exercise is the alternating heel touch. Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slightly lift off the floor and touch the right hand to the right heel, then touch the left hand to the left heel and back to the right. Do several repetitions for obliques.
- A bicycle crunch is good for all abdominal muscles. Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your legs, keeping them bent. Lift your upper body at a 30-40 degree angle as you mimic pedaling a bike.
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