5 Exercises to work out the abs and strengthen your core

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Summer is just around the corner and you still don’t have that six pack? You’re still in time to change that! You already know it’s important to do a few things, like controlling what you eat and choosing the best supplements to help you reduce localized fat. On top of that, you can’t forget about cardio exercises, your biggest allies when it comes to losing abdominal fat and you need to let the muscle definition work become visible.

READ ALSO: 8 common mistakes while working out your abs

Take a look at these 5 exercises that you should include in your workout plan:

Exercise 1

Plank

2-3 sets of 30-60 seconds

The plank is great for working your entire core, and it can stimulate up to 130 percent more ab activity than the crunch. To make it more difficult, widen your feet and reach forward with your hands—that’ll give your core an even bigger challenge. When you reach forward, try not to tilt from your hips. If reaching forward isn’t quite hard enough, or you want to do more oblique work, bring your knees up and toward your elbows. 

We suggest a challenge to strengthen your abs and core in 30 days. On the last day, you should be able to do the plank position for 5 minutes.

You only need a few seconds a day to do this exercise. You’ll need more and more time each day to do it, and that will help you strengthen your body’s muscle mass and make you win the challenge in the end.

If you want to, you can repeat the challenge more than once.

Are you ready?

30 day challenge: Plank

 
Day       Seconds
1               20
2               20
3               30
4               30
5               40
6               Rest
7               45
8               45
9               60
10               60
11               60
12               90  
13               Rest
14               90
15               90
16               120
17               120
18               150
19               Rest
20               150
21               150
22               180
23               180
24               210
25               210
26               Rest
27               240
28               240
29               270
30               300

  

Exercise 2

Side plank

2-3 sets of 30-60 seconds

The side plank can target each side of your body, allowing you to address weaknesses and correct imbalances. This move hits more than your abs—your abductors, adductors, quads, hamstrings, glutes, upper body, and lower back all get a workout. Your ankle, hip, and shoulder should be in one line, and your chin should remain off your chest. If you need a greater challenge, raise your top leg to parallel with the ground. You can also grab a dumbbell and “sweep” the weight from under your body. You should end with your arm straight up.

Exercise 3

Bicycle crunch

2-3 sets of 20-30 reps

This movement can stimulate nearly 190 percent more activity than the regular crunch. The key is to fully extend one leg at a time and think about bringing your shoulder, rather than your elbow, up to touch your opposite knee. Visualize that contraction. To make this harder, use a medicine ball and crunch up as you weave the ball in a figure-eight pattern in and out of your legs.

Exercise 4

Reverse crunch

2-3 sets of 12-20 reps

Tuck your hands under your butt and bring your knees to your chest. Concentrate on your pelvis as you tuck it up. You should feel your lower abs kicking in as you roll your pelvis up and forward. This exercise should activate 140 percent more of your abs than a regular crunch.

Exercise 5

Vertical chair knee raise

2-3 sets of 12-20 reps

This exercise should stimulate 200 percent or more abdominal activation than a regular crunch. Amazing! Make sure your shoulders and back are posture-perfect. Raise your knees past your waistline; if you don’t move your hips far enough, your hip flexors will do all the work. For a higher degree of difficulty, do straight-leg raises or alternate legs. You can also hold a dumbbell between your legs for added extra resistance.

You can learn how to execute the above mentioned exercises in this video.

READ ALSO:

10 foods that help you lose weight

HIIT: A super effective cardio workout to help you lose fat

Exercises to lose belly fat

References:

Alex Savva, Targeted Ab Training: Top 5 Moves for Your Core, April 2013, translation and adaptation of the original version.
N/d, 30 Day Challenge Plank, n/d, translation and adaptation of the original version.

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