5 ABtastic Exercises

Abs. We’ve all got them…somewhere buried deep down under a few layers. Right? The highly coveted six-pack is no easy feat. And whether it is shredded abs you crave or an overall leaner look, we’ve got some moves to help you get one step closer to feeling AB-solutely Fabulous! (It’s important to note, that these are most efficient paired with a dose of your favorite cardio. Fat burning is key to toning your core.)

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1. BICYCLE CRUNCH will keep you riding high on ab-burning pride. This exercise works your side abs, oblique muscles and rectus ab muscles (the muscles in that run down the center).

How to do it the right way: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and feet on the floor. Position your knees at a 90-degree angle to your thighs. Pull your left knee to your right elbow as you extend your right leg. The right shoulder should lift off the floor as you crunch. Do the same on the opposite side. The key is a controlled slow motion. Resist temptation to speed up!

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2. CRUNCH WITH REACH will leave your abs burnin’ and heads a turnin’. This is similar to a regular crunch, with an ab-scorching variation that targets abdominal muscles and lower back

How to do it the right way: Lie on your back with your legs up towards the sky. Reach up with your fingertips aiming for your toes. Crunch upward and lift your head and shoulders off of the floor. Lower back down slowly to the floor and repeat.

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3. CRUNCH is the most popular of ab exercises. This move is often confused with the traditional sit-up, but it differs in form. The crunch works your rectus ab muscles and the oblique muscles.

How to do it the right way: Lie down on floor with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Rest head and neck on your hands to prevent neck strain. Lift your shoulders up to the ceiling using your ab muscles. Ease back down towards the ground slowly.

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4. THE PLANKS, aka the HIGH PLANK and LOW PLANK, are the most revered and reviled of ab exercise. However there is no denying these moves are effective. This combo strengthens your entire core, upper muscles and lower body muscles too!

How to do it the right way: The HIGH PLANK is the less challenging of the two. Get into a push-up position with your hands directly below your shoulders. Contract your abs and hold for 30 seconds. Make sure your spine is neutral. This ensures best form. The LOW PLANK is a more advanced variation of the former plank. Get into the high plank position, but prop yourself on your elbows. Make sure your elbows are in line with your shoulders. This is key to proper form. Hold for 15-30 seconds for both moves or longer if possible.

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5. LEG RAISE is a great ab exercise for beginners. Done correctly and regularly you’ll tone lower ab muscles, one of the hardest areas on the body to shed fat from and tone.

How to do it the right way: Lie on your back with your legs stretched out. Bend legs and raise them, as you point your toes. Straighten legs and raise them to the ceiling slowly utilizing your core. Lower your legs slowly to about an inch above the ground. Repeat 5 times and rest. If you are ready for more, go for another two sets!

 

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