While it’s nice having toned abs that look great when you are out at the beach, having strong abs is critical for core strength. The abs keep the rest of your body stable and strong. Stronger abs translates to improved posture, easier breathing, decreased lower back pain, and of course a slimmer waistline.
There are many ways you can work the abs, and some are more effective than others. Sure crunches and situps may cause your stomach muscles to burn, but this does not mean that they are making your core stronger. One of the best ways you can increase core strength is to engage both upper and lower abs at the same time. Working multiple muscle groups in parallel makes the body work a little bit harder thus strengthening your core more efficiently.
The following exercises are designed to work your abs and core. These exercises are designed to get your metabolism moving which in turn burns off excess fat.
See the exercises below and pass these along to your friends who are looking for a good core workout.
For maximum fat burning, perform the exercises as a circuit: Do one set of each move in the order shown, resting for 30 seconds between exercises. Then rest for a minute and repeat the circuit from the beginning. Work up to three circuit sets per workout – it’ll take some time but it’ll be a cinch later on and you’ll want to add more circuits after. Follow this interval-training program three times a week after your core workout.
Remember to include warmup and cooldown
For this interval workout, remember to include an easy 3- to 5-minute warmup and cooldown. You can run, bike, or use the cardio machine of your choice.
The Workout Plan
Start with 6 reps and work up to 10 reps per exercise
Rest as little as possible between exercise and circuits; for maximum benefit, train to rest up to only a minute between circuits
1. The Plank
Starting at the top of a pushup position, bend your elbows and lower yourself down until you can shift your weight from your hands to your forearms. Your body should form a straight line. Brace your abs (imagine someone is about to punch you in the gut) and hold for 60 seconds. If you can’t make it to 60 seconds, hold for 5 to 10 seconds and rest for 5 seconds, continuing for 1 minute. Focus on form: Don’t drop your hips or raise your butt.
2. Glute Bridge March
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Rest your arms on the floor, palms up, at shoulder level. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees (A). Brace your abs and lift your right knee toward your chest (B). Hold for 2 counts, then lower your right foot. Repeat with the other leg. That’s 1 rep. Do 2 or 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps and this is considered one set out of your circuit.
5. Plank With Arm Lift
Get into the plank position (toes and forearms on the floor, body lifted). Your body should form a straight line (A). Brace your abs and carefully shift your weight to your right forearm. Extend your left arm in front of you (B) and hold for 3 to 10 seconds. Slowly bring your arm back in. Repeat with the right arm. That’s 1 rep. Do 2 or 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps, resting for 1 minute between sets.
7. Hip Thigh Raise
Lie on your back with your right knee bent and your left leg extended. Rest your arms on the floor, palms up, at shoulder level with your hips about 2 inches off the floor (A). Raise your hips to form a straight line from your shoulders to your left foot (B). Hold for 2 counts, then return to start. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 to 15 reps on each side. To make it harder, cross your arms over your chest.