We all want tighter abs, and with summer on its way, it's time to take our workouts up to the next level. If you are looking for ways to get your stomach to resemble Gwen Stefani's, with everyone staring in awe, then look no further. Here is a list of my top 10 exercises to burn fat, and gain muscle in your abs:
10. Spiderman plank crunches
This move seriously works your abs, as you are using your core to stay balanced, while transferring from one leg to the other. Your abs will be contracting each time you lift your leg to your elbow, and, although this may not look particularly hard, you will feel it after just a few reps. It will also help with your flexibility as you push to try to touch your elbow with your knee.
9. Swiss ball crunches
Crunches on a Swiss ball are far more difficult than on the floor! Your abs are working to support you and keep you steady on the ball, and that's before you even start the crunches! If you've never tried this exercise before, I strongly recommend it, as you will feel it far more than a 'normal' crunch. Sadly that does mean that it will hurt even more than a 'normal' crunch though.
8. Shoulder tap plank
Planks are well known for being great for working the abs, but this exercise takes it to the next level. As you transfer from one hand to the other, you have just one hand at a time supporting your body, which makes your abs work even harder than in a 'normal' plank. This works your abs and triceps, and you feel it immediately.
The bicycle is both loved and hated by most people. Loved because of the results it gets, but hated because of how much it hurts. This works your abs, and obliques (which are the muscles down the sides of your stomach). Because of the speedier nature of this exercise you will be burning a lot of fat doing this, so it's a great exercise to add to your regular workouts.
6. Side plank dips
This exercise hurts within a few seconds, so if you are a beginner, don't be afraid to lower onto your elbow instead of your hand. It targets your obliques, so will tighten up your mid-section perfectly. It seriously hurts though! It will feel odd because you are isolating an area that doesn't often get isolated in workouts, but go with it and you will see fantastic results.
This targets a large number of muscles, so it goes without saying that it's a great exercise. It works the abs, quads and hamstrings, along with the muscles in your middle and upper back. The v-up is very tricky to get quite right as you need to make sure that you are doing it correctly to avoid hurting your back, but you will know when you've got it right because your stomach will tell you! If your back hurts instead of your stomach, then stop and watch the video again, and alter your positioning. Done correctly, this will get you on your way to a six pack.
4. Swiss ball rollout
This is hard! If you're a beginner then I would advise that you perhaps wait a while before trying this, and maybe hold the plank instead. This works the abs, internal obliques and lats (the broad muscles that run from the shoulders to the lower spine, and attach to the abdominals). As with almost all good abs exercises, this involves a lot of core stability, and even though I've been exercising for a long time, I still struggle to do this more than just a handful of times. It's a great exercise that will really push you!
3. Abdominal windshield wiper
I have to be honest; this is one of the hardest abs exercises I have ever done. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it because this move alone will give you abs of steel! It works your upper and lower abs, as well as your hip flexors, so can also improve your flexibility...perfect! Take this slowly; it is incredibly difficult. You can build your reps over time. If you've never done this before then don't be upset if you can't even handle two reps; it is incredibly difficult.
2. Russian twists NB: This video demonstrates the Russian twists without any weight, but, as with all exercises, adding weight will make it even better
This is similar to rope pulls, and will have you aching just as much, if not more! Because you are leaning back in the seated position, your abs are contracted the whole time, so the twisting is effectively a bonus abs workout on top of that. After just a few reps you will be desperate to stop, but once you see the results, you will be itching to do more. This exercise is fantastic at working the obliques, and with toned obliques your waistline will look instantly smoother and more streamline. Don't think that because you are sitting down, that this will be easy though!
1. Alternate leg raise crunches and through NB: This exercise is the first one in this video
This exercise would be hard enough without the 'through', but that part is what has taken it to the number 1 spot on my list. The twisting involved in the toe touches works your obliques as well as your abs and middle and upper back. It even works your quads and hamstrings too. This exercise isn't for the faint-hearted, but you will see results from it. Remember to maintain good form with your back throughout this exercise, and your abs will be burning by the end. Click here to see my top 5 exercises to get a bangin' booty and wobble-free legs! Remember to always warm up before, and cool down after a workout, and most importantly remember that these moves alone will not tone you up. A healthy lifestyle is the most important thing to fat loss. To really see results, you need to mix these exercises up with some skipping or running. That way you will be burning fat with the cardio, and building muscle with these exercises.
To get the best results your diet needs to be clean, and your workout needs to be dirty!
More crunches aren't a substitute for a bad diet. If you want those abs, you need to be eating clean!