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7 Best core exercises for abs

A strong core is incredibly important—both for a strong back and your mobility— the ability to allow you to move better in everyday life.

Your core muscles are composed of your upper, lower abs, obliques, back, hips and gluteal muscles, and working these muscles during ab routine will benefit you greatly.

Here is why...

Working the abs will not only strengthen your core muscles, but will also help reduce the fat around your belly. 

core exercises to reduce belly fat

Belly fat is the most dangerous types of fat in your body, and having excess of them can be harmful to your health.

So much so that Harvard Public Health recently reported that, for every 2 inches of additional waist size, you raise your risk of cardiovascular disease by 10%.

So, spending a little extra time performing a few moves to work those muscles in your midsection is not solely for the aesthetics, but can possibly save your life and improve your health in a great way. 

Secondly, working your abs will strengthen important muscles that help support your spine.

This is partly the reason why your core muscles are incredibly important—You can think of them as the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower half, says Harvard Health.

And they are constantly involved in everything you do.

Whether it is mopping the floor, bending over to tie your shoe or running, the necessary motions either originate in your core or move through it.

Those muscles in your core also provide support for your spine, so keeping them balanced and strong is hugely important for having a healthy back that is less prone to injury.

That's right. Working the abs can lead to less back pain.

Today I have 7 super effective moves that will specifically target and work these important core muscles.

Here’s a list of the abs exercises from this workout:

  • Dynamic Plank
  • Down Dog Knee Up
  • Mountain Climbers Cross Body
  • Down Do to Plank
  • Side Plank
  • Plank Jack
  • Horse Stance Dynamic

Ab Workouts Routine

Exercise Reps Sets
Dynamic Plank 10-12 2-3
Down Dog Knee Up 10-12 2-3
Mountain Climbers Cross Body 10-12 2-3
Down Do to Plank 10-12 2-3
Side Plank 10-12 2-3
Plank Jack 10-12 2-3
Horse Stance Dynamic 10-12 2-3

 

One thing you probably noticed from this workout is that there are no crunches or sit-ups.

This is not by a mistake!

According to a study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) that compared 13 different abdominal exercises and ranked them based on muscle activation, "crunches and sit-ups" scored very poorly and were amongst the least effective exercises.

Shocking. I know.

Another source, Men’s Health Magazine also reported that it actually takes about '22,000 crunches to burn 1 pound of belly fat'.

Ouch!

That's a lot of crunches just to burn one pound of belly fat.

For those 2 reasons, I decided not to include those two popular abs exercises.

As research have it, you get more bang for your buck by performing proven and more effective moves. 

Before jumping into this workout, here is one last thing. 

Although these moves are extremely effective, but you can’t out exercise a bad diet.

So, make sure your diet matches your effort in the gym.

This will also help you get to the ideal body fat percentage (around 10 to 15% for women) you need to start seeing your abs.

Let’s get ready to do this killer abs routine.

1. Dynamic Plank

Dynamic plank exercise for strengthening your core

How to Do it:

  1. Get down into a push-up position. Bend your elbows to support your bodyweight on your forearms instead of your hands.
  2. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to your ankles. Embrace your core by contracting your abs and ribcage.
  3. Press your body up into the top position of a push-up by extending your arms one at a time.
  4. Pause then reverse the movement and return to your elbows. Continue for the prescribed number of repetitions.

2. Downward Facing Dog to Leg Up

Downward Facing Dog to Leg Up

How to Do It:

  1. Begin in downward facing dog, then raise your right leg to move into down-dog split.
  2. Bend your right knee and pull it toward your forehead.
  3. Straighten the leg back, tighten your abs then bring the knee outside your right elbow. Straighten the leg again, then bring the knee toward your left elbow. Repeat 10-12 times. Switch legs and repeat.

3. Mountain Climbers Cross-Body

Mountain Climbers Cross-Body

How to Do It:

  1. Get down into a pushup position with your body forming a straight line from head to heels.
  2. Contract your abs and brace your core, pick up your right foot and slowly bring your right knee toward your left shoulder.
  3. Then quickly return to the starting position and alternate to the other side. Continue for the prescribed number of repetitions.

4. Downward Facing Dog to Plank

Downward Facing Dog to Plank

How to Do it:

  1. From a push-up position with your arms and legs fully extended (wrists directly under shoulders). Brace your core and abdominal muscles.
  2. Slowly exhale and shift your weight backward by pushing your hips up and back. Continue moving until your body forms an inverted V, allowing your head to hang loosely between your shoulders.
  3. Keep your arms and legs extended, and be sure to maintain a neutral (flat) spine. Hold for 1 to 2 seconds. 
  4. From downward-facing dog, move forward back into the push-up or plank position. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then continue back and forth for the prescribed number of repetitions.

5. Side Plank

Side Plank Exercise

How to Do It:

  1. Lie down on your right side with your legs straight. Prop yourself up with your right forearm so your body forms a diagonal line. Rest your left hand on your hip.
  2. Embrace your abs and rib cage and hold for 60 seconds, then switch side.
  3. If you can't make it to 30-60 seconds. Be sure your hips and knees stay off the floor.

6. Plank Jack or Plank Mogul

Plank Jack or Plank Mogul

How to Do It:

  1. Get down into a plank position with hands aligned directly under shoulders and abs tight, body straight from head to heels.
  2. Bend knees and jump feet up slightly and about a foot to the right.
  3. Jump feet back to the starting position and repeat to the left. Continue for the prescribed number of repetitions 

7. Horse Stance Dynamic

Horse Stance Dynamic Exercise for Abs

How to Do It:

  1. Get down into a kneeling position on all fours with your hands and knees hip and shoulder width apart. Breathe out as you lift your left arm and right leg up until it is parallel to the floor (click here to view to exercise).
  2. In a controlled fluid movement, breathe in and bring them in underneath your body, rounding your spine up towards the ceiling. As you breathe and move, imagine you are creating a 'bellows' effect in your stomach. Do the prescribed number of repetitions (above)
  3. Repeat the same steps using your right arm and left leg for the same repetitions. 

Conclusion

These seven exercises not only target your abs, but also your entire midsection including your core, lower and upper abdominals, obliques, Transverse abdominis  and stabilizing muscles for the lower back.

Besides toning your stomach, performing these core exercises can strengthen your lower back and improve your posture.  

Add one or two exercises from the list to your daily workout routines to tighten your stomach and slim your waistline.


Leave a common below to let us know which one of these ab exercises is your favorite. We look forward to hearing your feedback!




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