women

Don’t wait until summer to work on your abs, get a head start now and you’ll have a lean, strong midsection you can’t wait to show off.

Forgive us for harping on about this, but endless crunches won’t tone your turn. You need to do moves that involve multiple muscle groups, including the transversus abdominis (the deep muscles of your midsection on the sides of your waist). You also need to hit your abs from all angles. These moves do just that!

1.     Ball Crunches

Reps: 15

Benefits

Work the rectus abdominis (the six pack muscles), as well as the obliques (muscles in the side of your waist) and the transverse abdominis muscle.

How to do it

  • Lie flat on your back with your knees bent at a 90º angle and your legs resting on top of a bench or gym ball.
  • Place your hands on each side of your head (a), then push the small of your back into the floor and curl your shoulders towards your pelvis.

§   ABS: Crunch your ribcage toward your pelvis

§   Head: The movement should be fluid, not jerky – if it’s the latter, don’t lift as high

§   Elbows: Your elbows should be in line with your body and pulled back as you lift

§   Legs: Keep your legs against the ball – don’t lift them

Description: Place your hands on each side of your head

Place your hands on each side of your head

  • Raise your shoulders approximately four inches off the floor while keeping your lower back on the mat (b)
  • Hold for a second, then inhale as you slowly lower back to the floor.

Description: Resting your legs on an unstable surface such as a gym ball will work your abs even harder!

Resting your legs on an unstable surface such as a gym ball will work your abs even harder!

2.     Ab Jackknife

Reps: 12 each leg

Benefits

This move an effective ab and core exercise that works the main part of your rectus abdominis and your obliques. It also engages your hip flexors.

How to do it

  • Lie on your back on the floor. Hold a medicine ball overhead, with your arms and legs straight (a)
  • Brace your core, and then simultaneously raise your torso and right leg, as you bring the ball towards your right foot. (b)
  • Lower your body back to the starting position and repeat on the opposite leg.

Description: Ab Jackknife

Ab Jackknife

3.     Plank Pike-up

Reps: 12

Benefits

Your abs and lower back are the main targets here, but your shoulders will benefit, too.

How to do it

  • Rest your shins on a gym ball with your palms on the floor beneath your shoulders, so you are in a press-up position (a)

Description: You are in a press-up position.

You are in a press-up position.

  • Pulling your abdominals up and in, roll the ball towards your hands, lifting your hips up and keeping your head between your arms (b)

Description: Lifting your hips up and keeping your head between your arms

Lifting your hips up and keeping your head between your arms

  • Once your body forms an inverted “V” shape, stop, pause, then roll back to the start.

4.     Overhead Side Bends

Reps: 10 each side

Benefits

A great exercise for hitting your obliques and tackling problematic love handles. You should also feel a strong side stretch with each rep.

How to do it

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended overhead and hands together
  • Keeping your belly button drawn in, slowly lean to left and hold for one count (a)
  • Return to the start, and then repeat on the right side (b)

Description: Overhead Side Bends

Overhead Side Bends

5.     Half-Kneeling Rotation

Hold: 30 seconds each side

Benefits

Releases tension in your hip flexors, mid-section, and spine.

How to do it

  • Kneel on your left leg, with your right foot extended in front of you, a bar on your shoulders.
  • Maintaining a tall spine, turn towards your right knee, keeping your raised knee in-line with your hip. Hold for 30 seconds then switch legs.

 

Description: Half-Kneeling Rotation

Half-Kneeling Rotation

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