Can you believe it’s almost June? It’s that time of the year where we’re frantically prepping our Summer bodies! Many of us want to tone our abs or simply lose a few pounds. At the gym, I see girls doing crunches and sit-ups, but they don’t see results because those are not the most effective exercises for overall abdominal toning. You’ve probably heard of the phrase “You can’t spot-reduce, you can only spot-tone?” Well, crunches and sit-ups put focus on the front and sides of your abs but they help build muscles in those areas only. They won’t help you look skinnier since you still have the layer of fat covering your sought after waistline. It’s crucial to target all the muscles of the core along with other body parts for effective fat burning. Here are five moves that are more effective in helping you achieve killer abs:
I love this move. It’s my go-to during every gym session. Not only will it tone your abs, it will also work out your butt, thighs and arms. The plank helps train muscles to stabilize the spine and pelvis so you can avoid back pain and improve posture. It also burns more calories than crunches because it works more muscles.
Lie face down resting on your forearms and palms flat on the floor. Raise your body up, keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Try holding this position for 1 minute, then rest. Repeat for 2 more sets.
2. Mountain Climbers
This is one of the best moves to strengthen your entire core. Like the plank, this move will benefit your arms, legs and booty.
Get down in push-up position and make sure your body stays parallel to the ground. Start moving one leg at a time towards your corresponding arm and move in intervals. Climb slowly for 30 seconds and emphasize the movement, then go as fast as you can while maintaining proper form for another 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
3. Sliding Crunches
I’d actually never done this move until a few months ago when I encountered it in a bootcamp class at New York Sports Club. Boy, let’s just say I was hooked! This move not only took strength and core muscles, but it tested my patience with my own body. So if you get frustrated, don’t give up! This move is best done on hardwood floors or any surface that you can easily slide on with a towel.
Get in push-up position with the towel underneath your feet. Start dragging the towel all the way towards your chin then push back out. You can also add side twists after you’ve mastered the original. Do as many as you can in 1 minute, repeat 2 more times.
I know this is your least favorite exercise… It can be quite brutal, but it gives you serious results. Burpees work out your abs, arms, chest and legs. It’s the ultimate full-body exercise. So the next time you’re at the gym, don’t slack on your burpees.
Start from a squat position with your arms in front of you. Push your legs back into a push-up stance, and immediately come back up into a squat. Then jump up high and land back down into squat, and repeat. Do as many as you can in 1 minute, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat for 2 more sets.
5. Leg Raises
This is on every trainer’s top list of ab workouts. Leg raises concentrate on the lower abdominal (yes, that little pouch you see when you’re wearing a tight dress), and hip flexors.
Place your hands under your glutes with your palms facing down. Keep your legs as straight as possible. Then raise your legs slowly until they’re perpendicular to the floor. Hold at the top for a second, then slowly lower your legs back to the start position. Do 3 sets of 15 reps. You can add a dumbbell between your feet for added resistance.
Good luck and I can’t wait to see your fabulous Summer bodies! What are your go-to ab moves?