Crunches, side bends, leg lifts... If you're tired of doing the same ab exercises over and over again (and perhaps without seeing desired results), well then you've come to the right place!
If your goal is to sculpt a firm, flat stomach, first understand one thing: It involves more than just exercising your abs. These moves will help shape and build your abdominal muscles (increasing your core strength in the process), but if you want those muscles to be visible (think, six-pack ab style) then you'll have to get rid of any extra fat around the area too.
This exercise primarily targets your lower abdominal muscles and also includes an isometric component for the muscles of your upper body. Begin hanging from a pull-up bar (use a step or bench to get up if you need help). Start with your legs fully extended and then use your core to lift your knees up towards your chest so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Slowly lower your legs back down towards the floor, making sure to extend your legs fully for each rep in order to get the full range of motion. Preform 10-15 reps. Photo Credit: Catarina Cowden Click here to see All The Epic Ab Exercises for a Firm, Flat Stomach
This exercise primarily targets your hamstring and glute muscles but includes a large core component because it requires a great deal of balance. Set up one side of the cable machine at an appropriate height, as pictured to the left. Grab the handle with your right hand and take a few steps backward so that the weight stack is lifted about halfway. Firmly plant your left leg on the ground and be sure to start with a tall stance, your gaze looking straight ahead, core tight and your shoulders back and down. Lift your right leg off the ground and start to lightly kick it back behind you as you begin to fold forward at your hips. Be sure to maintain your spinal alignment by keeping your core engaged at all times. Aim to extend so that your torso is eventually parallel with the ground, you may not be able to achieve the full range of motion right away though, so extend up to where you feel comfortable when first starting out. Slowly reverse the motion, pulling through your left hamstring and glute muscles while also concentrating on keeping your core engaged as you return to the standing position. Preform 10-15 reps on each side. Photo Credit: Caterina Cowden
This exercise primarily targets your lower abdominal muscles and your glutes, and if you perform it quickly enough so that your heart rate increases it can serve as a cardio exercise, too. Set up a bench, box or sturdy chair as pictured to the left. Start with a tall stance, your gaze looking straight ahead, core tight and your shoulders back and down. When you’re ready to begin, step up onto the bench with your right foot and follow through by drawing your left leg up towards your chest. Keep your core tight and engaged the entire time and focus on squeezing your abdominal muscles as your draw your left knee up. Step back down with your left leg (leave your right leg on the bench) and repeat. Preform 10-15 reps on each side. Photo Credit: Catarina Cowden Click here to see All The Epic Ab Exercises for a Firm, Flat Stomach
This is an isometric ab exercise, but it also includes a dynamic component that targets your shoulders. Start in high plank position, be sure to maintain your spinal alignment by focusing your gaze slightly forward (don’t let your chin fall towards your chest) and drawing your belly button in towards your spine to maintain a tight core. Lower onto your right elbow and then your left, then raise back up into high plank position one arm at a time, starting with your right. (You can alternate between leading with your right and left arms.) Focus on keeping your hips in line with your spine, you want to avoid tilting them from side to side. Perform for 15-60 seconds. Photo Credit: Catarina Cowden
This is also an isometric ab exercise that includes a dynamic component for the muscles of the lower abdominal muscles. Start in boat pose with your calves parallel to the ground. Gently lower the tips of your feet to the ground by flexing your knees. Tap the ground very lightly and then immediately extend your knees to return to the starting position. Repeat for 15-60 seconds. Photo Credit: Catarina Cowden Click here to see All The Epic Ab Exercises for a Firm, Flat Stomach
That means you'll need to implement a combination of cardio and strength training to create a total-body exercise routine. (Bonus points: most of these ab exercises work multiple muscle groups!) One of the most important things to understand about exercise and fat loss, is that you cannot "spot treat" certain areas.
Where your body chooses to store extra fat is highly based on your genetics. In the same sense, you can't tell your body where to lose fat first. Ab exercises build your ab muscles, but they won't specifically burn the fat surrounding the area.
So, in addition to including these eight epic ab exercises in your regular workout routine, be sure to incorporate other varied workouts so that you can build muscle and burn fat all over. For each exercise that involves a dumbbell or cable resistance, try starting with a weight that allows you to complete 12 reps, where you feel almost completely fatigued by the last two reps.
This list includes five innovative and highly effective ab exercises (I know they are because I tried them all) from Kelvin Gary, NASM certified personal trainer and owner of Body Space Fitness in New York City, as well as three of my own favorite core moves that I picked up while training and working with clients at various gyms.
If you're ready to sculpt a tight tummy, you'll love these epic ab exercises.
But before you get started, remember one more important thing: your diet plays a huge role in fat storage, too. Maybe you've heard the saying, "Abs are built in the gym and revealed in the kitchen" thrown around the gym or online fitness community before? Well it's true and it means that if you're after that six-pack aesthetic, you'll have to be extra attentive to your diet too.
-- Katie Rosenbrock, The Active Times
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