Myth: You can get a 6-pack by doing sit ups and crunches.
Fact: Sit ups and crunches strengthen your abdominal muscles, but you won’t SEE your muscles unless you eat clean and burn off the fat with a bit of cardio exercise.
In my last two posts, I shared with you what the buzz word “core” actually means (much more than flat abs) and how you can strengthen it (link). I also shared with you the secret for “flat” abs as mentioned above and gave some tips for clean eating and cardio recommendations (link). As promised, I have put together a workout for you to strengthen the core muscles so that when you apply the clean eating tips and put in some cardio time, you’ll have something to show off!
Short on time? Then you want to make use of the minutes you’ve got by doing exercises that strengthen more than one part of your core at a time. These exercises also create a strong foundation for many daily activities like loading heavy items into your trunk, unloading heavy carseats from the back of your vehicle or even shoveling snow. They also give you an edge in many sports like golf, tennis, biking and skiing.
Here is the workout. Simple, but challenging.
The first few exercises are variations of the crunch. Make these exercises MOST effective by utilizing a big range of motion. In other words, exaggerate the movement like you are a mime actually climbing a ladder or playing tug of war. Here’s a great video demonstration of the first three exercises.
The next three exercises are plank, oblique shredder and side plank. These work far more than just your abdominals. They incorporate your back, your glutes (butt), your obliques (sides) and your shoulders. There is a side plank modification to make it easier shown in the diagram.
The following videos demonstrate and teach the exercises.
The exercises on your belly work your back and your glutes mainly (which are a part of your core.) There are modifications shown in the diagram and here are some video demos.
The last exercise takes time to build up intensity. The video demo shows you where to start. Try the first level and see if you can hold it for 30 seconds. Add time or go up in difficulty as you get stronger. That’s why the recommendations are given in a range assuming some will start with longer times and more repetitions than others. Start with an amount of time is challenging, but that you are able to hold true to form. That will give you the best results.