When it comes to fitness, the abdominal area is one of the common problem areas for most people. Yet, as much as we want to get rid of them, often it seems like a long road that requires a lot of patience and determination.
Leg raise is one of the best ab exercises. It targets the iliopsoas (the hip flexors or muscles near the front), as well as the abdominal and oblique muscles. It is simple yet challenging as it feels easy on the first lift, but then starts to become hard on the following reps.
- Lie on a flat surface with your legs extended. Place your hands underneath your glutes and lower back to support your pelvis.
- Next, lift your legs upward. Make sure to keep your legs straight, parallel, and close to each other. Raise them until you form a big and reversed letter “L” with your body.
- Then, bring both your legs down and move them up again. Repeat.
Crunch is a well-known core exercise. While working out, it engages your midsection (which comprises your oblique muscles), the muscles in your hips, lower back, and pelvis, and most importantly, your abdominal muscles.
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent and apart from each other. Place your arms across your chest or your hands behind your ears.
- Exhale and raise your upper body using your core, not with your head or neck as it may cause you injury.
- Inhale and slowly lie down. Repeat.
This is a crunch variation of the traditional ab crunch. Like the basic crunch, your abdominal and oblique muscles are also involved. Adding this to your daily routine will help you in getting those six-pack abs.
- Lie on a mat on the floor. Bend your knees and keep them apart. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows pointing outward.
- Elevate your knees up to a 90-degree angle while you lift your upper body.
- Breathe out and twist your body to the left, making your right elbow and left knee touch each other. At the same time, extend your right leg and pause for a second.
- Then, twist your body to the right side, moving your left elbow toward your right knee while you straighten your left leg.
- Do three sets of 20 repetitions.
A flutter kick is another exercise that puts your core to work, particularly your lower abdominal muscles and hip flexors. Its movement is like a swimming stroke, but is done on dry land. It can be performed either you’re lying on your back or lying on your stomach.
- Lie on a flat surface with your legs extended. Lift your legs to a 45-degree angle as you raise your head, neck, and shoulders a little bit off the floor. Keep your arms straight on the floor, with your palms facing down.
- Keep your legs straight and close together while in the air, with your toes pointed. Next, using your core, begin to move one of your legs down.
- Lift your lowered leg, then lower your other leg.
- Continue raising and lowering your legs alternately for as long as you can.
Air cycling or bicycle maneuver is an effective way to reduce belly and leg fats. It gets all your abdominal muscles going, together with the muscles in the hip region. Like bicycle crunches, air cycling also helps you achieve six-pack abs.
- Lie flat on your back. Place your arms on both sides of your upper body, with your palms facing down. Or you can slightly lift your head and neck off the ground and place your hands behind your ears.
- Bring your knees up. Next, do a circular motion with your legs upwards just like you’re riding a bicycle.
- Stay in that position for several minutes for as long as you can.
Traditional Russian twist
The Russian twist targets all your muscles in the midsection. It does not only flatten your stomach, but is also excellent for toning your core, hips, and shoulders and strengthening your spine and obliques.
- Sit on the floor with your feet moderately lifted while you bend your knees.
- Lean back up to a 45-degree angle until you create a V shape with your thighs and torso.
- Place your arms in front of your chest with your hands clasped together or while holding a ball.
- Twist your body to one side, then back to the center, and then twist to the other side. This is one repetition.
- Continue the movement for three sets of 8 to 16 repetitions.
Forearm plank is a variant of the standard plank and is another example of a core exercise. It helps strengthen all your core muscles, as well as your lower back and shoulders. It also promotes stability.
- Lie flat on your stomach and rest your forearms on the floor. Next, push yourself up with the help of your toes until your head, neck, back, and legs create a straight position.
- Move your feet hip-width apart, then squeeze your glutes, quadriceps femoris (muscles in the front of your thighs), and your core.
- Remember to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
- Hold this position for as long as you can.
Curl-up or sit-up is like crunches, but the former works additional muscles out and its movement is fuller than crunches. Curl-ups don’t just help in tightening your belly, but also strengthens and tones your abdominal muscles.
- Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet firmly on the floor.
- Place your arms across your chest or your hands behind your ears.
- Move your upper body toward your knees without raising your feet off the surface. Breathe out as you sit up.
- Slowly return to your starting position. Breathe in as you lower yourself down.
Boat pose is actually a yoga pose. It is one of the most famous yoga poses for achieving a stronger core and lower back and toned abdominal muscles. In addition, it is alsobeneficial in relieving stress and improving metabolism.
- Rest on your sit bones with your knees bent.
- Slightly lean back, then raise your legs while keeping them straight until you form a V shape with your body.
- Stretch your arms forward with your palms facing down.
- Focus on engaging your abs muscles while doing this exercise, and maintain a flat and relaxed stomach.
- Hold this position for as long as you can.
Mountain climbers is sometimes called a killer exercise since it incorporates all the muscle groups in your body including the triceps, biceps, abdominals, obliques, and more, making your heart beat faster. Aside from cardio endurance, it is ideal for core strength and agility.
- Assume a push-up position, having your hands aligned with your shoulders.
- Using your toes as support, pull your right knee up to your chest, then place it back. Then, pull your left knee forward and push it back.
- Continue switching your knees like you’re climbing a mountain.
Skipping or jump rope is one of the simplest and most splendid ways to burn calories. Like mountain climbers, this exercise targets nearly all the muscles. Thus, aside from shedding fat, using a jump rope is also great for cardiovascular fitness, bone strength, balance, flexibility, leg strength, and many more.
- Stand straight on a flat surface.
- Using a jump rope, slightly lift your body off the floor using both your feet and do 10 skips.
- Then, skip with only your right leg and do 10 skips. Do the same using only your left leg.
- Do as many sets of 10 skips as you can.