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Best 8 Ab Exercises You Aren’t Doing, But Should
Everyone wants those tight, six pack abs, but no one loves doing abdominal exercises. Let’s face it, they are a lot of work and sometimes it feels as if we get very little results for all our effort.
Well, the idea should be to work smarter, not harder. Doing more crunches will not get you the abs you are looking for. Everyone wants to ditch the poochie belly and get those rock hard abs. If this sounds like you, then we have the perfect set of exercises for you. Although no single exercise will get rid of the pooch, doing exercises that work all your stomach muscles, including those important core muscles, will help to give you greater muscle activity and gains in strength. These exercises are some of the most effect, targeting multiple abdominal muscles, so you get more six pack for your exercise dollar, if you know what we mean.
When you do these, focus on the muscles you are working, actively thinking about, picturing in your mind, how they are working, rather than just going through the motions. Come on! Give these a try! You know you want to rock that bikini ladies! And gentlemen, nothing is hotter than guys who aren’t afraid to take off their tank top!
1. Frog Push
This might be a bit funny looking, but it works wonders. Try to pay special attention to your abs and force them to do most of the work. Keep your lower back pressed into the floor the entire time to avoid injury.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and turned out, pressing your heels together, the way a frog would lay on its back. Take a deep breath and lift your head and shoulders off the floor, curling up over your ribcage, as if you were trying to look at your knees. Your arms should reach out from your hips to the shoulders, palms down, just an inch or so off the ground. Now as you exhale, pressing through your heels, push your legs down to about a 45 degree angle, almost as if you were trying to press the backs of your knees together. Don’t let your lower back come off the floor!
This is considered one rep. 10 reps are one set. Try to work up to 3 sets, which would be a total of 30 frog pushes.
2. Dirty Dog
This is a simple exercise that will work your entire torso. This helps to strengthen you lower back, which will improve your ability to do more complex abdominal exercises without hurting your back.
Get down on the floor on your hands and knees, like a dog. Your palms should be flat on the floor, your wrists below your shoulders. Keep your knees below your hips. Squeeze your abdominal muscles as you left and lengthen your left arm and right leg. Don’t round your back or arch like a cat, simply extend them. Keep your arm and leg parallel to the floor. Hold for a moment or two, and then switch sides. Pay attention to your back and keep it straight. This is harder than it sounds. Start with 10 reps on each side for a total of 20 movements. You will feel the burn fairly quickly unless you are in excellent shape. If you want to make it harder, hold the position for a count of 10.
3. Inch Worm
This one will work your core muscles like crazy.
Bend over at the waist so that your hands are touching the floor. Walk your hands forward until you are in a plank position. Use your abs to walk your feet forward until they reach your hands. Try your best to keep your fee as straight as possible while you walk towards your hands and keep your back as flat as possible. If you find this difficult to without rounding you back, bend your knees a bit more or widen your stance. Try to do 10, eventually working yourself up to 30. You need some space for this one, perhaps use a long hallway or do this pool side.
4. The Big U
This is actually a small movement, but it really works those lower abs.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Now lean back a little so that you can hold up your upper body with your forearms and elbows. (Your back should be off the floor) Keep your palms flat on the floor. Pull your abs in tight and lift your legs into a 90 degree angle, your knees together. Keep your toes pointed. Keeping that 90 degree angle, bring your legs over to the right, and then lift them to start, and then move them to the left, as if you were making a big “U” with your knees. This is one rep. Start with 10 reps and work yourself up to 30 reps.
5. Full Plank Twist
This twist done with the traditional plank will really work those hard to get to oblique muscles.
SEE ALSO: Best Exercises to Tighten that Belly
Start off in the full plank position, keeping your feet together. Bend the left knee across to your right side as you slide the left foot up to the inside of your right knee. Your hips will turn a bit to the left. Slide the left leg back to the star position, then repeat with the right leg. This is one rep. Start with 10 reps, working up to 30 reps.
6. Stability Ball Crunch
Not really a traditional crunch but a terrific exercise that works many muscle groups to keep your balance. Find a stability ball and let’s go!
You start this exercise in the full plank position but put your ankles on top of the ball. Using your abs, pull your knees towards your chest. Your hips will move up as the wall moves towards you, so don’t worry. Roll back to the start position. Repeat this for a total of 10 reps, working up to 30 reps eventually.
7. Backwards Plank Hover
This simple move is so much harder than it appears! You will not only work your abs, but just about every muscle in your body.
Sit with your legs in front of you, feet flexed, hands on the outside of your hips, fingers facing forward. Bring your abs in and press down through your arms so that you lift your hips off the floor an inch or two. Now bend your knees slightly (keep those heels on the ground) and inhale. Imagine pushing your belly button towards your spine and hold those abs tight! Now exhale and extend your legs, pushing your hips just an inch or so behind your shoulders. Hold for one moment, and then lower yourself back to the floor. Start with 10 reps and work yourself up to a total of 30 reps.
8. Stir the Soup
You can work those oblique muscles without doing dozens of side crunches. Just grab that stability ball again and let this deceptively easy move work wonders.
Get down on the floor with your forearms resting on the stability ball. Using your forearms, roll the ball to the left and as far away from you as you can without having it roll away from you. Now pull your abs in tight and pull the ball back around to you, making a full circle, almost as if you were using the ball to stir a pot of soup. Complete five circles in each direction. Remember to keep your back straight. The larger the circle, the more difficult this becomes. If you really want to make this more difficult, instead of keeping your knees on the floor, stand up!