I love feeling the burn of an exercise because I know I am making physical changes in my body. Abs are my favorite muscle group to work out perhaps because they are so difficult to reach that it makes it a huge accomplishment. Tight abs look freaking amazing, but it really does feel amazing too. One of the biggest times I notice tight vs. flabby abs is laying in bed. I like it when I can not feel my stomach resting on the mattress! Having a flat tummy also looks great in clothes. Here are some of my most favorite ad exercises. I hope that you love them too and that you see and feel positive results.
My 3 Favorite Ab Exercises
1.) My most favorite ab exercise hands down is one that requires a certain piece of equipment called a glute ham developer (I really do not know why it is called a “glute hamstring developer” when it is an awesome ab machine). So,you rest your butt and lower back on the semi-circle pads and hook your feet into the rollers. You can get so much movement bending really far backwards and then lifting upright, that it builds muscle really quickly. It is my FAV!! You can also hold weights or a medicine ball to amp it up. They had one at a cross fit gym where I went to for personal training and got strong abs fast.
My son got me a great sit up bench as a really good substitute. It allows me to pull up at an angle causing gravity to aid in weighing me down for a powerful pull. I get a great ab workout on this bench being able to use it in two different positions! These adjustable and sturdy ab benches are a great addition to any fitness lover’s home because they speed up the muscle building process faster than regular floor sit ups.
2.) My second favorite ab exercise is a Medicine Ball Overhead Throw Sit-up. (My TRX trainer fondly refers to these as “Throw ups” – ha ha.) This exercise is my second most favorite because you don’t necessarily have to focus on using your abs because the movements in this exercise cause you to squeeze your muscles just from the tossing and catching the ball. It is also a great workout that incorporates many other muscle groups along with your abs. Here is what you do:
Start with your feet and back on the floor with your knees bent. Hold the medicine ball at your chest with both hands. Lift your shoulders off the floor, then roll up into a sit-up. When you reach the top, throw the ball up in the air and catch it at your chest. Then, roll back down to the starting position. You will feel the crunch of course, but you will also feel your core clenching to throw and catch the medicine ball. I do them until I feel a huge burn and then duplicate that number into sets. (Of course I also add in sets of Russian Twists to this exercise to get all my ab muscles.)
3.) My third favorite ab exercise is a good old fashioned plank! That’s right, planks are a good all over workout but they strengthen your core immensely. I like to hold planks on my forearms for a bit and then rock back and forth on my toes. I like to do a straight arm plank for a bit then add in lifting each arm out in conjunction with the opposite leg. This act of balance and strength requires a strong core so pull your belly button back toward your spine and try to work up to a 1 minute plank with perfect form. (photo credit)