Isn’t it the same old story of a 3-month membership at the gym, equipped with a complete new sports gear (what’s wrong with trying to look good at the gym?) and good resolutions to exercise every day, and boom the 3 months are over yet you have like only 5 marks on your gym pass.
There is nothing easy about sexy abs, duh! It is hard work and discipline and must be combined with a healthy and nutritious diet to reduce body fat as only then your trained abs will begin to show. We spoke to fitness experts and gathered 5 “easy” exercises for you to try at home using easy to get utensils.
# 1: WEIGHTED CRUNCHES ON A FIT-BALL
Choose a weight that allows you to perform three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions. Position yourself on the ball (with hands crossed over a weight plate on your chest).
Begin with your lower back positioned toward the front of the ball. (Feet shoulder-width apart.) If you’re performing this for the first time, spread your feet wider for additional stability. Also, make sure you have a friend to assist you.
Next, lower your torso back on the ball. Your neck and head should be in a neutral position and never extend. Focus on your abs and contract as you raise the upper torso.
Do not swing back and forth on the ball (the ball should not rock). Focus your eyes on the ceiling and crunch tight. Lower to parallel or just a bit below and repeat.
This added resistance is extremely effective in working the abs. Let’s face it, people perform crunch after crunch and never really make a significant impact on their abs because of the lack of resistance.
When purchasing a fit-ball just remember that one size does not fit all. Follow these size guidelines:
Under 152cm 45 cm ball
160cm – 170cm 55cm ball
172cm – 182cm 65cm ball
Over 182cm 75 cm ball
#2: REVERSE AB CURL
Great exercise for the lower abdominal region. To perform the exercise, lie on a mat with your back relaxed and your hands on the floor by your hips. Keep the upper back pressed into the floor throughout the exercise. Contracting your abs, raise your legs and feet in line with the ceiling. Then, roll your hips off the floor stopping when you feel a full contraction of the abdominals and can no longer lift your hips. Slowly return to the starting position.
Exhale while lifting your hips and inhale while returning to the starting position. Make sure your legs and hips are in a straight line toward the ceiling. Place all your focus on the lower abs contracting. It may be difficult to initially concentrate on the area, but once you practice it enough with the correct mental concentration, you’ll really feel the area being worked.
#3: BICYCLE MANEUVER
Research consistently rates the Bicycle Maneuver as one of the most effective abdominal exercises.
Lie on a mat with your lower back in a comfortable position. Place your finger tips on either side of your head by your ears. Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle. Slowly go through a bicycle pedaling motion alternating your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee.
This can be a more advanced exercise. Do not perform this activity if it puts any strain on your lower back. Do not pull on your head and neck during this exercise.
The lower to the ground your legs bicycle, the harder your abs have to work.
#4: DOUBLE CRUNCH
If performed correct, you can isolate the lower and upper region of the abdominals.
Lie on the floor face up and bend your knees until your legs are at a 45-degree angle with both feet on the floor. Your back should be comfortably relaxed on the floor. Place both hands crossed over your chest or gently place your finger tips on the side of your head. Contracting your abdominals, raise your head and legs off the floor toward one another. Focus on the lower and upper ab region while you contract. Slowly return to the starting position stopping just short of your shoulders and feet touching the floor.
Exhale while rising up and inhale while returning to the starting position. Keep your eyes on the ceiling to avoid pulling with your neck. Your hands should not be used to lift the head or assist in the movement.
#5: ABDOMINAL VACUUM
The Transverus Abdominis muscle is the real deal. It’s the muscle that holds your gut tight and flat. It’s a thin sheet of muscle running along the sides of the abs and joins connective tissue behind it and is your body’s natural corset. When you suck your stomach in, you have just used your Transversus. This is the only muscle that can help pull the stomach inward.
Position yourself on the floor on all fours. Keep your back flat and maintain this position throughout the exercise.
Start by exhaling absolutely every bit of air from your lungs. Then, relax your abdomen and let it hang like a loose sling, but don’t increase the arch in your lower back. Next, pull the navel toward the spine as if I just told you to suck in your stomach as tight as possible. Continue to breathe lightly through your nostrils, but make sure you’re pulling your navel in as tight as you can.
You must hold the contraction very tight for at least 40 seconds. If you can’t hold the contraction for 40 seconds, just practice and your time will eventually improve. In time, you’ll notice the abdominal area pulled in and looking flatter. This exercise provides benefit with virtually no repetitious movement. Perform four sets of 40-second cycles.
It is recommended that you incorporate two of the exercises above into your workout program. Perform three sets of 12 challenging repetitions. After two weeks, replace the exercises with two other exercises on the list. Repeat the same process in weeks 5 and 6.