1. Health

Exercises for Your Abs

These exercises for your abs incorporate dynamic moves that involve multiple muscles and help work the abs in a more functional way. By involving more muscles, you'll burn more calories during your workout, which is a plus if you're trying to reduce body fat and trim your middle.  The following exercises offer a variety of moves, from beginning to advanced, using a variety of tools to build core strength.

  • Beginners, perform 1 set of 10-12 reps of each exercise.  If these moves are difficult, start with this Beginner Abs Workout
  • Int/Adv, perform 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps
  • Get familiar with the ball and the exercises and progress slowly
Exercise Instructions
 

Ball Crunch
Lie with the ball resting under the mid/lower back and place hands behind the head or across the chest.  Contract your abs to lift your the torso off the ball, pulling the bottom of your ribcage down toward your hips. As you curl up, keep the ball stable.

Crunch & Reach
Begin with body straight over the ball,  light weight extended behind you (not shown). Contract the abs to lift and bring the weight over the head, crunching up and twisting to the right, contracting the right side of waist. Repeat for all reps and then switch sides.

Modified Plank
Begin by placing elbows on the floor and resting body on the knees. Pull the abs tight to hold your body in a straight line from head to knees without sagging in the middle, eyes looking naturally forward. Hold this position for as long as you can, relax and repeat 3 or more times.

Knee Tucks
Start in plank position on the ball, with the ball under the shins/ankles.  Roll the ball towards you with your feet, tightening the abs into a crunch. 

 

Woodchops
Attach one end of a resistance band to something sturdy and wrap the band around your hand a few times for the right tension.  Grasp the band in both hands and begin in a lunge position, reaching down with the arms  Keeping the arms straight the entire time, rotate and lift the body towards the other side while sweeping the arms on a diagonal.  Return to start and repeat before moving onto the other side.

Hip Extension on the Ball
Lie on the floor with feet heels propped on ball.  Keeping abs tight, slowly lift your hips off the floor (squeezing the buttocks) until body is in a straight line.  Hold for a few seconds and lower

 

Ball Taps
Sit on the ball with strong abs and straight spine, hands behind the head.  Contract your abs and lift the right foot, tapping it on a medicine ball in front of you.  Lower and repeat with the other foot, alternating sides.  Use your abs to keep your balance.

How to Work Your Abs

  • You can effectively work your abs with 3 non-consecutive workouts a week
  • Do 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps of each exercise.  If that's too easy, make sure you're doing each exercise correctly and using perfect form. You can add a dumbbell or plate to crunches to add difficulty.

Should I get One of Those 'As Seen On TV' Ab Gadgets?
Use your own judgment here.  Some of those little gadgets can probably help you with your form (like the ab roller), but some of them are flakier than grandma's biscuits.  You can get a great ab workout with no equipment. 

More Abs:
The Best Ab Exercises
Sample Ab Workouts
Exercises on the Ball
Ab Resources


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