Most of us want a sexier mid-section, a true beach body with flatter or ripped abs, but struggle to find the perfect combination of abdominal exercises to get the results we desire. We buy ab exercise equipment and accessories and try just about everything we can think of to work these stubborn muscles. Then, the day usually comes for all of us when we realize that we do not need a room full of equipment to effectively work our mid-section.
The key to working any muscle group is introducing a variety of exercises that challenge the muscles to push a little harder. I like using three different positions to work my abdominal area: standing, lying on my back, and side plank.
The first position I like use to work my abs is the standing position. There are many things you can do to strengthen your core and ab muscles while standing, including knee ups and standing oblique crunches. The standing position helps eliminate pressure on the lower back and neck which is often common with abdominal exercises done on the floor because of improper form.
The traditional floor position on my back is the second position I use to work my abs. I do not do classic sit-ups, but I like exercises like crunches, V-ups, and heels to the heavens. These exercises can help you sculpt and even rip your abs. It is important, however, to focus on your form and modify when needed. For example, if you are doing crunches, you should not feel strain in your neck. When you are doing lower leg raises, you should not feel pain in your lower back.
The third position that I find effective for developing abdominal muscles is the side plank. You can learn many side plank variations in yoga and pilates workouts. This position alone is great for core training and strengthening your abdominal muscles, but if you add a side crunch, you will really engage your core and oblique muscles even more.
If you are limited in mobility, do not be discouraged as there are other effective positions for working your abs. Hanging leg lifts, crunches and leg lifts from a sitting position, and oblique crunches from any position are a few examples. In cases of limited mobility, please consult with a doctor, physical therapist, or certified personal trainer for the best exercises to meet your needs.
Again, the key to working the abdominal muscles effectively is to do a variety of exercises such as the side plank crunch, knee ups, and V-ups. Use a variety of positions to challenge your abs to perform a little harder each time you work them. Find routines that motivate you. You will get flatter, sexier abs if you think of your abs as muscles and give them the same respect and attention you give your other muscle groups.