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Get Strong, Sexy Abs With No Crunches and No Sit Ups
Let’s face it, no one, absolutely no one, wants to do a hundred sit ups or do endless crunches every day. They aren’t fun and they certainly are only effective only to a point.
Well, experts will agree with you! Sit-ups and crunches are definitely NOT the fast track way to get those washboard abs everyone wants. In fact, if done incorrectly, these exercises can hurt your neck and/or back. Also, don’t ever fall for that old myth that you can “spot reduce” certain areas. In other words, if you have a little poochie belly, doing 5 thousand sit ups a day won’t make it go away. You can have the strongest ab muscles in town and no one will know because they are covered with a thin layer of belly fat.
Yes, having great abs makes you look good in a swimsuit, but they are more important than that. Yes, we just said that having strong abs is more important than just looking good at the beach. Hard to believe, but true. The stronger and more stable your abdominals are, the more efficiently your arms and legs will more, the better your sense of balance will be, and it’s easier to maintain a healthy posture. They also are tremendously important for keeping your back in place and avoiding low back pain.
There probably isn’t one foolproof way to get a stronger midsection, but these variations of the plank are a good way to get started.
1. Knee to Elbow Plank
Sometimes called the Spiderman plank, the goal here is to bring your knee as close to your elbow as you possibly can. Keep your hips level as you alternate your legs for about 30 seconds. You can start off in the full plank position, which will give you a bit more room to move your legs. If you want to make this more challenging, while you are in the full plank position, bring your knee to your opposite elbow.
SEE ALSO: Best Yoga Poses for Stress Infographic
2. Forearm Plank
You can start this with in a full plank position but your arms and shoulders will be doing some of the work instead of your abs. If you are a beginner, start with a full plank. For those of you who are a bit more advanced, place your weight on your forearms and toes and lift yourself completely off the ground. For beginners, hold for 10 seconds. If you are more advanced, hold for 30 seconds. Those of you, who are super advanced, hold for one minute.
Keep a straight line from your head to your hips. Don’t let your head drop, don’t hunch your shoulders and don’t let those hips sag!
3. Leg Lift Plank
From the plank position, lift one leg about three to six inches off the ground. Keep your foot flexed and hold for about a couple seconds. Keep your hips parallel to the ground. Lower and switch sides. Alternate sides for 30 seconds (for beginners) to one minute (for those who are advanced). Keeping your body out of balance ups the challenge for your abs, while that leg lift works those glutes at the same time. Find out also 7 exercises you don’t have to do anymore.
4. Hip Drop Side Plank
The basic side plank targets those core muscles on the side such as the oblique’s and transverse abdominals, but when you add a slight drop in your hips, it makes these muscles work even harder. Return your hips only to the original stating position, don’t lift them higher.
5. Up and Down Plank
This exercise is a combo of the full plank and the forearm plank. Starting with one arm, walk from the forearm plank up to the full plank and then back down again. Do this complete cycle 5 times, then switch arms. Keep your hips parallel to the floor and focus on limiting your sideways motion.
6. Walking the Plank
You begin this in the usual plank position, arms extended straight. Then walk towards your left, using your hands but keeping your feet in place. When you reach as far as you can go, stop and hold for a moment, then reverse and walk to your right. Try to walk back and forth three to six times. Beginners can walk just half way in each direction.
Have fun, we’ll see you at the beach!