3 Ways to Tone Your Abs Without Crunches
Everyone wants flat abs. Who doesn't aspire to wear skinny jeans or pencil skirts without worrying about spillover spots? Unfortunately, as much as I want my abs to look like Jennifer Aniston's, I refuse to spend hours staring at ceiling, counting as I painstakingly whittle my waist into shape.
In my quest to find alternate ways to engage my abs, I realized that getting off the mat may actually hold some additional benefits. In fact, the core exercises below will help you get a flat stomach while also working additional muscle groups. (You're welcome). Try these three moves to tone your midsection.
Ab Move #1: The Plank
How to do it: Lie facedown, with your stomach to the ground, with your forearms under your shoulders (your legs should be extended straight behind you). Push up with your arms and toes so that your body makes a straight line from your head to your feet. Keep your abs tight, back straight, and look straight ahead of you. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.
Bonus! This move engages up to 20 muscles (crunches work about 6-7)
Ab Move #2: Oblique Twist
How to do it: Using a 5-10-pound bar, place the bar on top of your shoulders and stand with your feet should width apart. Twist slowly to the left, about 90 degrees, keeping your abs tight and your back straight. Return to the front, pause and take a deep breath, and then rotate to your right. Keep your feet facing the front the entire time.
Bonus! This move works your obliques, the muscles that run laterally on the sides of your abdomen. Tone them, and they create a natural corset to help define your waist.
Ab Move # 3: Side Bend
How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your right arm over your head. Putting weight on your left leg, turn your right foot out at the hip. Lift and bend your right knee so that your thigh is nearly parallel with the floor while simultaneously bringing your right elbow towards your knee. Return to starting position, repeat 15 times, and then repeat with the other leg.
Bonus! Lifting your leg will help tone hips and butt at the same time.
By: Mara Betsch
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