Hot weather; less clothes. Beach weather is already here. The hot weather motivates people to get in the best shape that they can. Flat or toned stomachs are the foundation of a fit body. Although not everyone strives for a chiseled midsection, most people who exercise do aim for a firm and toned tummy. This article will highlight five of the best exercises that you can do to sculpt your stomach.
Ab exercises help you to build muscle in your stomach area. As a previous article that I posted here stated, ab exercises do not burn stomach fat. After doing ab exercises for a few weeks, you notice that your stomach gets firm, and that muscles start to peek out from under the skin, especially if you have low body fat. In order to get six pack abs, or a super toned stomach, we need to diet, do ab exercises, and get rid of body fat by doing cardio.
Although personal opinions may differ, here are five of the best exercises that you can do for your midsection:
This is an old time classic. As the video shows, contract your ab muscles to pull your knees into your body. Start the movement by pulling your belly button. Once you master the contraction, you can stick a dumbbell between your knees to make the exercise more challenging. This exercise hits the lower part of your abs, as well as the sides of the abs. Aim for 15 to 20 reps when doing this exercise.
Planks are severely underrated as an ab exercise. They should be the foundation of your ab training, as the exercise works the whole midsection. If you have never done planks before, you need to be able to do them with just body weight, prior to adding weight. Once you master the body weight plank, gradually add weight. Not only will these give you a killer midsection, they will make you much stronger! Try to hold these for 30 to 60 seconds.
The sides of your abs (obliques) are aesthetically important, and the bicycle crunch targets the obliques. Considering that the love handles are on the sides of your stomach, it would be in your best interest to do an exercise that targets the sides. Focus on technique, as opposed to repetitions. Aim for 20 reps when doing bicycle crunches, depending on your fitness level.
The stomach vacuum is an obscure, but effective exercise. This technique is widely used in bodybuilding. If it’s good enough for bodybuilders, it’s good enough for you! For beginners, hold this vacuum for 20 seconds, for three sets. Work your way up to holding the vacuum for 60 seconds, by adding 20 seconds per week. This is an exercise that you can do on a daily basis; however, if you are a beginner, do this exercise every second day.
5. Cable Crunch
This is a great exercise to hit the front of your abs, mainly the upper section. Focus on technique, as opposed to weight. A lot of people use poor technique, and barely target the muscle that they are trying to exercise. Use light weight, and use your abs to curl your body down and bring the weight stack down. Aim for 12 to 15 reps of the cable crunch.
Pick two to three of the exercises above, for three sets, and incorporate them into your ab day. Finish by picking your favorite swimsuit and heading down to the beach!
Woman with abs via shutterstock