7 Ab Exercises Better Than Crunches
Start skipping all those crunches – they will not give you the amazing abs you really want. Doing crunches over and over will only do so much. You need varied workouts and muscle confusion. You need multi-muscle exercises to ensure you target all the muscles in the core. Targeting multiple muscles is what burns off calories and gives you that slim waistline you want. Here’s a look at three great exercises that are better than crunches.
1. Forearm Plank
Source: Physical Living
Start in the push-up position (regular plank) and lower yourself onto your forearms. Keep your elbows directly under your shoulders. Do not let your back or neck sag. Hold this position for as long as possible. Try 30 seconds today, and increase your time each day. In a month or two, you’ll be able to hold your forearm plank for 5 minutes. When the forearm plank becomes easy, add this twist. Raise up onto your hands, back in regular plank, and then lower back down to forearm plank, repeat. Remember to hold your core tight during this. This exercise does a great job in strengthening your inner core muscles that in turn result in tightening of your midsection giving you that waist you desire. Besides working on your abdominal muscles, forearm plank will improve your shoulder stability and bone strength. The benefit of involving the other muscles is the shedding of fats, a primal step in getting your perfect body shape. Additionally, your flexibility increase and your mood boosted. As you stay in that position, your balance and posture are improved too.
2. Side Plank
Source: Health Hint
Working your obliques is a good way to trim your waist and keep your core strong. Do this by adding side planks to your workout routines. Lie on your side and place your elbow on the floor, directly below your shoulders. Stack your ankles on top of each other, and lift your hips up. Hold your body straight and on its side for as long as possible. You can keep your arm on your waist, or lift it up in the air (like in the picture) for a more challenging task. Repeat on the other side. As you do this exercise, your abdominal muscles, shoulders and back greatly benefit. Mainly, this activity acts on the transverses abdominis, the deepest inner core muscle that wraps around your midsection. As it contracts, your midsection tightens making your waist get into shape. Regularly doing side planks will go a long way in toning your abs while also strengthening your back and the shoulder muscles. Always remember to contract your abdominal muscles as you do this and breathing too. So the next time you think of a smaller and tighter waist or those abs, let it motivate you to do this routine.
3. Plank with Step
Start in a plank position, balancing on your toes and palms with a slight bend in your elbows. While keeping the legs, hips, and back aligned, take your right foot and step forward, bringing it up to the outside of the right hand. Hold for 1-2 counts and then move the leg back to start. Repeat with the left leg for one rep. Many people often concentrate on exercises that work on their upper abs alone while paying little attention to the lower abs. When you get in this position and hold, you will be working on your lower abs to a larger extend and upper abs too. The involvement of your hip and leg muscles in this exercise will do miracles to your body. It goes an extra mile in stabilising joints while improving your posture and reducing back pain. It helps trim that fat too in some way and thus assisting you to achieve your goals.
4. Leg Dips
Begin on your back with the abs pulled in, your hips tilted toward the ceiling, and your feet flexed. Place arms at sides palms down, left the legs towards the ceiling while pressing into the floor, keeping legs as straight as possible. When legs are over hips, pause for a count or two and begin lowering legs to the floor slowly, ensuring that the low back doesn’t come off the floor. Simple as the steps of doing this routine sound but the array of muscles worked on will surprise you. Your lower abs, hip muscles and front and back of thigh muscles benefit from this movement. Do note that the lower abs benefit greatly and will help you tuck in that belly that may easily bulge. The quadriceps, gluteus and lower back muscles get worked on in this exercise meeting the general objective of working on multiple muscles as opposed to crunches that solely focus on the abs. It this allows you get your body toned evenly.
5. Twisting Mountain Climbers
Start in a plank position. Twist hips, drawing the right knee to the left elbow. Hold for one or two counts and then go back to the start position. Repeat with your other side and then continue on alternating sides. Being a high-intensity exercise, it does more than just work on those abdominal muscles; it gets muscles from head to toe involved. As you focus on your abs, this exercise will get you to where you want to be in just less than 30 days. Your chest, back, shoulders, hamstrings, and flexors of the hip are also involved in this exercise. Also it is an excellent way to work on your cardiovascular system. As you improve on the number of reps you do daily, the outcome grows proportionally.
6. Leg Raises
Lie flat on your back, and place your arms straight, palm down, next to your sides. Tighten your abs, and slowly lift your legs, keeping them straight, as high as you can. You’re bending at the hips. If you can, try to lift your pelvis off the floor. Slowly lower the legs back down towards the floor. Keep your abs engaged and your legs straight as you lower them. Don’t let your feet touch the floor. Repeat 15x. These exercises are probably only second to push ups with regards to working on your abs. However, they are complimentary because they work on lower abs instead. The hip flexors are also involved in this simple exercise that you can always do without the need of any equipment. Hip strength and flexibility are boosted tremendously in this exercise as well as your lower back. They are perfect for those who spend a lot of time at the desk and want to prevent lower back problems. A couple of variations exist including hip raise, weighted hip raise and others depending on your needs.
Lie face down on the floor with your legs straight. Place your arms out in front of you. Tighten your core and lift your head and feet off the ground. You can also modify with your hands on the back of your head. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 15x. For a more challenging version, flutter kick your legs while alternately fluttering your arms out in front of you. Do this for 30 seconds. Repeat 10x. At the end of the circuit, most celebrity fitness experts recommend that you do the superman exercise. It focuses on strengthening the core by working on both the abs and back muscles. It is quite simple, but the results are far reaching as regards your fitness and shape. The gluteus muscles are also engaged as you raise your legs. The various variations that exist in this exercise give you freedom to choose what is best as well as adjust accordingly. As you do repeats, the activity in your muscles is what it takes to get those abs.
Sets, Reps and Rest in Between Sets
For this routine, you can do the forearm plank and side plank and rest for thirty seconds. Next is the plank with step and leg dips before resting for 30 seconds. Twisting mountain climbers and leg raises followed by a 30-second break follow before the superman exercise. A break for a minute before repeating this two more times to a total of 3 sets will be enough for a day. Have as many reps as possible for each exercise within the three sets.
When to Perform the Routine
Doing the routine in the morning will help kick-start your day with the metabolic spike you get while at it. Ensure you fit it within your daily schedule no matter what happens. As you do it for some days, your body adjusts to the routine, and it will become easier.
The motivation for those abs should be able to get you into the routine daily but a minimum of 3 days for the week will still do. It’s about disciplining your body which will automatically adapt to the frequency you choose. Watching your dietary habits will support your quest for the fitness. In case you stop due to one reason or another, you can pick p by starting lightly and then intensifying gradually to where you were.
Various variations exist for the exercises in case you have restrictions, for instance, medical problems. Get advice from your physician and adjust your routine accordingly.
Instructions for Quicker Results
The trick lies in the intensity of the exercises and the frequency. When you increase the reps, sets and do it daily, quicker results are guaranteed. However, watch your resting time and also avoid straining yourself. The addition of aerobics will quicken your results too.
Working on the abs takes dedication to the routine as well as watching your lifestyle. An area that may compromise your efforts is the diet. As you work hard during the routine, make sure your dietary habits compliment your efforts. Within a few weeks, you will be having that midsection everybody wants, for which very few are willing to work.