Everyone strives for the chiseled abs and flat tummy, and some still think it requires thousands of boring crunches to achieve them! One thing remains certain: no matter how developed your abdominal muscles are, they will never make a visual impact with a layer of fat covering them. Your diet alone may be the deal breaker when it comes to achieving your very own six-pack. A combination of consistent diet and exercise is necessary to rid your belly bulge. If your diet is to blame, maybe you need help from the fully integrated health, supplementation and fitness program VIVO 360°! If you are looking for a way to get off the floor and spice up your dull ab routine, keep reading.
There’s no need to go beyond three (3) exercises per session. Be sure to include one crunch variation, one reverse crunch or double crunch variation, and one exercise using a twisting motion. This will allow you to target and engage all of your core muscles.
If you’re a beginner, it is best to perform these exercises without any added resistance/weights. It is also recommended that you execute each exercise with a slow tempo, while you focus on your form and the contraction of the targeted muscle.
If you already started to establish your core, try adding some resistance/weights to increase results. You can even do a combination where you do some reps with added resistance and some without. For example, 6-12 (with added resistance) and 13-15 (unloaded).
Swiss Ball Crunch: Basic, yet effective exercise when focusing on full contraction of the abdominal muscles. Sit on an inflated Swiss Ball, aka Exercise Ball, with your feet shoulder width apart. Slowly roll forward so that the ball is now positioned at your lower-mid back. With knees bent and arms crossed at chest, slowly bring your chest forward with your hips down. Focus on the concentric portion of the exercise (the lifting portion).
Cable Crunch: A more advanced movement, but when performed correctly can be one of the best exercises to build the thick blocks that make up your six-pack. With a Rope and a cable pulley machine, kneel in front with your legs about shoulder width apart. Grasp the rope and keep arms at about ear level. The idea is to use your abs only to pull the weight downward. Imagine you are trying to bring your elbows to your knees. Using your abs for control, slowly allow the weight to rise to the starting position, and repeat.
Incline Weighted Crunch: Using an incline crunch bench and a small weight plate. Hold the plate at your chest and focus on the concentric portion of the exercise (the lifting portion). Word of caution – this exercise has a tendency to target the hip flexors. In that case you may need to begin with no weight, and try the touch training technique to ensure contraction of the abdominal muscles. Touch training is where you would touch your finger to the targeted muscle group while performing an exercise.
Reverse Crunch or Double Crunch Variations
Hanging or Supported Straight Leg Raises: Keep your back straight, chest out and shoulders back. With a slight bend in the knee, raise your legs then slowly return to starting position and repeat. Focus on using your abdominal muscles to raise your legs against gravity.
Seated Knee-Ups: Sit on the edge of a flat bench. Grasp the bench close to your body for stability. Simultaneously bring your knees and torso together, focusing on contracting the abdominal muscles. Slowly return to starting position and repeat.
Twisting Motion Variations
Lying Side Crunch: Performed the same as a regular crunch, except your knees should be angled to the right or left. Perform 13-15 reps on one side and then repeat on the other side.
Swiss Ball Lying Twist: Lie with your back flat against the floor. Raise your legs and hold a Swiss Ball between your feet. Slowly twist the ball from side to side. Perform 13-15 reps per side.
Cable Crunch…………….2 x 10-12 reps
Supported Straight Leg Raise…………2 x 13-15 reps
Swiss Ball Lying Twist……………..2 x 13-15 reps per side