A flat fit stomach of a six pack of abs is something that most people dream of. If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to yourself to tighten up your midsection or just made a vow that you finally want to get back into shape, you want exercises that are going to give you results with maximum effectiveness. I’ve found six such exercises that target the abs and produce results more effectively than others.
I’ve made a resolution to finish an Olympic distance triathlon this year (to follow my journey and learn about these exercises and more, click here). To hit the finish line for a goal like this, one of the primary focuses has to be core strength. Whether your goal is a six pack to help you finish a race or if you just want to look great in a swimsuit, try one or all of these six ab exercises to get that “ready for the beach” look.
Check out the ShapeFit website for visual demonstrations of each of these exercises.
Weighted Hand-To-Leg Ab Crunches
Lay flat on your back with dumbbells in each hand (I like to use a plate instead of dumbbells but either will work). Keeping your arms straight, bring the dumbbells over your head while lifting one leg up in the air and have the weights meet your shin at the peak. My trainer promised me that with two sets of these my abs would feel “shredded” in about two days. She was right.
Dumbbell Oblique Side Bends
Stand straight up while holding a dumbbell or plate in one hand. Bend sideways allowing the weight to slide down your leg and then pull it back up again. I’ve found no exercise as effective for me personally at targeting the love handles. Try a couple sets of 15 and make sure the weight is heavy enough that you’re struggling to complete the last couple of reps.
Weighted Decline Crunches with a Medicine Ball
Use a decline bench to lock your legs in place. Hold a medicine ball to your chest (or over your head if you want a more challenging variation of the exercise) and complete the crunch. The extra weight of the medicine (doesn’t need to be more than 10 pounds) makes the abs work extra hard. There’s no real way to complete this exercise without fully contracting your ab muscles and that makes this a great exercise for toning and strengthening.
Exercise Ball Abdominal Pull Ins
This one is not for beginners. Start in the push-up position with your legs (your shins specifically) resting on top of the exercise ball. Using your abs to do the work, roll the exercise ball toward your arms until it’s only your feet that are on top of the ball. Roll the ball back to the starting position. This exercise will only take a few reps before you start to feel it. Plus, you’ll need balance as much as strength to complete it.
Fingers To Toes Abdominal Crunches
Similar to the Weighted Hand-To-Leg Crunch except you do this one without the weights and you lift both legs instead of just one. Start lying on your back. Raise your arms and legs at the same time and try to touch your fingers to your toes at the peak. If done properly, the only part of your body that should be touching the ground when you touch fingers to toes is the very lower part of your back.
Lying Side Oblique Crunches
Lay on the ground on one side with your knees bent at about a 90 degree angle. Crunch to your side and reach as high as possible. The legs should stay on the ground. Another great exercise for targeting the love handles.
Granted, these exercises are challenging but they do a great job of targeting the sections of your body that you want to trim and tone. Add one or all of these exercises to your workout routine and start seeing results today!