Six pack, twelve pack, washboard abs – they may look great but don’t always equal a healthy, strong and pain-free back. From now until New Years we will be blasting belly fat and building you a strong and healthy core.Â When talking about complete core strength, the traditional crunch alone is actually not the best choice for most people. Think about the movement of your spine while lying on your back curling forward rep after rep – workout after after workout. What about the muscles on your back side? Over time, neglecting these important stabilizing muscles that you don’t see in a mirror can weaken and wreck havoc on your back – causing unnecessary pain and discomfort. Obviously, this is not a good thing!
Extending your core and performing exercises that work all of your trunk muscles together can be much more effective than just flexing abdominal muscles. Below, you will find three terrific abdominal and core strengthening exercises to get you started on the road to a flat, strong and healthy, front and back side. Give these exercises a good hard try – three or four times a week. Remember, consistent hard work is key to a truly fit back and belly! Once you master these exercises I will give you three more to add to your “rep” ertoire.
The Weighted Bicycle Move
According to a San Diego State University study, the bicycle is one of the most effective abs exercises you can do, and this weighted version will have your rectus abdominus working overtime.
How to do it: Start lying on your back with both knees bent. Extend your arms overhead, bending your left arm behind your head and holding onto your right arm, just above your elbow, with your left hand. Bend your right knee and press your right foot on the inside of your extended left leg (left leg should be off the floor and low). Lift your right shoulder off the floor and turn it in towards your left leg, while you lift both legs up about 45 degrees. Lower back to start position, that’s one rep. Perfrom 15 reps on each side.
Bonus tip: Exhale as you perform the movement, and think of drawing your belly button in deeper to your spine on the hardest part of the move.
Open Knee Tucks
This move targets the lower portion of the abdominal wall (AKA the dreaded “pooch” area).
How to do it: Start lying on your back, bend your knees into your chest, point your toes together, and open knees out to the sides, keeping toes touching. Extend both arms overhead on either side of your ears, palms facing up. Lift your hips off the floor and bring your knees up towards your armpits. Slowly lower your hips back down to start position.
Bonus tip: Think of engaging your pelvic floor muscles (the ones you use to stop the flow of urine) while you lift your hips off the floor. Repeat 20 times total.
Plank Pikes (I LOVE this move!)
This move not only works your waistline, it also adds a cardio kick to your training to help you burn up more calories and slim down your abs.
How to do it: Start kneeling on your hands and knees, and then extend both legs straight behind you into a full plank position. Keeping your shoulders over your hands, pike your hips in the air as you jump both feet in towards your hands, bending your knees as you land on just the balls of your feet. Jump both feet back out to starting plank position. That’s one rep. Repeat 20 times total.
Bonus tip: The faster you go, the harder you’ll work. Pick up your pace (without losing your form) for a bigger calorie blast. (For an even better calorie burn, repeat this move again at the end of the circuit).
Photos: Courtesy of The Huffington Post
Â© Copyright 2011 Â Allison Stuart Kaplan Â www.Askinyourface.com LLC