We all know that exercise and eating a proper diet is necessary to get in good shape but what does it take to get those sexy muscle abs? Doing a ton of crunches or doing exercises that are only targeting the abs area won’t cut it. To get those workout abs and make that six pack show, you MUST integrate cardio exercises. You MUST increase the intensity of your workout by using both weights and interval training.
Simply put, it means that we make our preferred cardio exercises in intervals of high intensity and low intensity. You see, when you exercise with intervals and weights, your body uses far more calories in the hours AFTER exercise than it would if you did traditional cardio and lifted lighter weights You don’t have to kill yourself and be at the gym 6 days a week but you need to do a full-body multi-joint workout such as…squats, lunges and pushups. Your workout should be intensive. You don’t want to be one of those people that are enjoying the morning paper while you exercise.
Here are 10 of the most highly effective ab exercises…IMPORTANT: You MUST be consistently doing effective multi-joint weight training and cardio workouts – incorporating some of these ab exercises in your routine. You won’t see those muscle abs but just doing ab exercises.
To develop tight abs, focus on isolating them fully by using a very short range of motion, but high intensity, during your abdominal exercises.
1. Verticle leg crunch… The vertical leg crunch is another effective move for the rectus abdominis and the obliques. To do it right: Lie face up on the floor and extend the legs straight up with knees crossed. Contract the abs to lift the shoulder blades off the floor, as though reaching your chest towards your feet. hold for 5 seconds. Keep the legs in a fixed position and imagine bringing your belly button towards your spine at the top of the movement. Lower and repeat for 12-16 reps.
2. Captains Chair This ab exercise is often overlooked. It is an advanced abdominal exercise; therefore it is very important that you keep your lower back stable. Do not arch your back during this exercise. This exercise will be highly effective only if it is done correctly. Stand on a chair and grip the handles to stabilize your upper body. Press your back against the pad and slowly lift knees towards your chest. Again make sure to keep your lower back firmly in place – otherwise you won’t be strengthening your abs, but your hip muscles. You should also feel the tightening and burning in your abs after a few reps. If you don’t, you’re probably not doing the exercise properly.
3. Exercise Ball Your Position On The Ball Sit in upright position on the ball with your feet flat on floor. Walk feet forward allowing the ball to roll under your body until it is positioned on your lower to mid-back region. Raise your hips slightly to create a position parallel to floor. Place your hands across your chest.
*Note* Your head should be in a neutral position with a space between your chin and chest. Sit in upright position on the ball with your feet flat on floor.
Leading with the chin and chest towards the ceiling, contract the abdominal muscles. Raise shoulders up concentrating on using your abdominal muscles and *not* your neck or hip muscles.. Return to start position.
Be Weary Of Cheating!
Remember to keep your head and back in a neutral position. Too much motion forward or backward of your head and back can cause injury. repeat for 12-16 reps
4. Plank The plank exercise is a great way to build endurance in both the abs and back, as well as stabilizer muscles. Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat
5. Bicycle Exercise While lying on your back, press your lower back to the floor. Place your hands beside your head, bring your knees to 45-degree angle (halfway between straight up toward the ceiling and level with the floor) & begin a pedal motion by touching opposite elbow to opposite knee, alternating each side. You will definitely feel the tightening and burning in your abs with this exercise! Repeat with of 10-20 at first.
6. Long Arm Crunch Lie on a mat and extend the arms straight out behind the head with hands clasped, keeping the arms next to the ears. Contract the abs and lift the shoulder blades off the floor. Keep the arms straight and avoid straining the neck. If you feel neck pain, take one hand behind the head while keeping the other arm extended. Lower and repeat for 12-16 reps.
7. Reverse Crunch Start by lying on your back with your legs perpendicular to the ground, knees very slightly bent and feet in the air, crossed at the ankles. Keep your arms on the floor next to you or place them comfortably behind your head. Rest your head on the floor, relax your shoulders and keep your back straight. Slowly lift your hips 1 to 2 inches off the floor, which will raise your legs and feet a few inches higher. Avoid rolling your hips backward and thus bending your back. Hold this position for just a moment.
Squeeze your abdominal muscles and keep your head and shoulders flat against the floor. Slowly lower your hips back to the floor. It’s a very small movement, so try to use your abs to lift your hips rather than swinging your legs and creating momentum. Repeat for 12-16 reps.
8. Tubing Pull Lay down on your back on an exercise mat or the floor. Secure the exercise tubing behind your head at about 2-3 feet above the floor level. Bend your knees at 45 degrees at bring your hands behind our head to grab hold of the exercise tubing. Keep your elbows level with your head as you crunch up by bringing you chin forward and lifting your shoulders off the floor. Keep your stomach muscles contracted as you do this and then return to the starting position. Repeat 10-15 reps.
9. Full Vertical Crunch In a full vertical crunch, you really work the abs by involving both the upper and lower body. Lie on your back and extend the legs up towards the ceiling. Place hands behind your head (lightly cupping it) and contract the abs to lift the shoulder blades off the floor. At the same time, press the heels towards the ceiling, creating a ‘u’ shape with the torso. Lower down and repeat for 12-16 reps.
10. Ab Roller Important! Use the correct technique to get the most out of your ab roller. Get in a comfortable position on your knees (Place a towel or mat under your knee to cushion them.) Hold the handles on the ab roller wheel Tighten your abs muscles to stabilize your core Slowly roll the wheel out in front of you keeping your stomach muscles tight Slowly return to your starting position using your abs to pull yourself upright, not your hips Repeat for 10-12 reps
Don’t forget, the ultimate key to muscle abs is the combination of proper nutrition, exercise and consistency. As always, check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
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