For men, the road to sleek washboard abs is often paved with seemingly insurmountable hurdles and dashed dreams. An unfortunate fact of life is that over time it becomes more and more difficult for men to sculpt and maintain this aesthetically pleasing physical feature. And it isn’t just the guys who are interested in showing off a flat stomach. While most women strive for a flat stomach in their exercise routines, many are also enjoying the benefits of toned and defined abdominal muscles. And just like the guys, the mountaintop becomes ever more difficult to reach due to the relentless march of the aging process.
The difficulty in maintaining a strong physique is a direct result of the body slowing down over time. It often seems the only way to combat the negative effects of a degrading metabolism involves more working out. But as the old saying goes: it’s better to work smarter, not harder. The same can be said for sculpting tight abs.
With that in mind, here are seven of the top exercises that can help turn flab into slab.
Girls and guys may feel a little self-conscious when first performing this routine — until they see the results. All that’s needed to complete this exercise is a sturdy chair and the willingness to look weird in front of a roommate or significant other.
- Situate the chair in the center of a room and place both hands on the front edge with your fingers facing the same direction as your knees.
- Raise your toes 2-4 inches off the ground and constrict your abs.
- Lift off of the chair and hold the position for 5-10 seconds. Lower and repeat the process for one minute.
This oblique-working exercise may look easy on paper, but it’s more difficult than meets the eye. That’s because it requires excellent balance.
- Kneel down and lean to the right side, placing the palm of your right hand on the ground.
- While maintaining balance, raise your left leg and extend it. Extend your left arm and point to your toes.
- Move your let hand to the back of your head and adjust your elbow so it is pointing directly up.
- Slowly raise your leg to the height of your hip and extend your left arm above the leg.
- Shift the left side of your ribs towards your hip.
- Lower your body to the original position and repeat six to eight times. Two sets of six to eight reps are recommended for this exercise.
In and outs
This is another effective and quick workout routine.
- Sit on the ground and place your hands on either side of your body.
- Lift your legs and bring your knees to your chest, using your posterior for balance.
- Extend your legs outward and then bring them back. Repeat this process 25 times.
(note: raising your legs as high as possible eases stress on the lower back during the workout routine)
Many save this particular exercise for last, as it is the very definition of an “abdominal burning” routine.
- Sit on the floor, bend your knees and interlock your fingers, one hand to the other.
- Pull your knees to your chest and lift your legs off the floor, twisting your core from side to side as fast as possible while simultaneously tapping your hands on either side of your body.
- Complete 40-50 reps.
This is another balance-based exercises that also works the oblique muscles.
- Assume the “plank” position by lying face down on the floor, raising up on your elbows and fully extending your legs. Make sure the points of your toes are touching the ground.
- Lift the leg and arm of one side of the body off the floor and turn until you are in a sideways position.
- Move the off-the-ground leg up and down at a regular pace to perform the routine. You can increase the workout by moving the leg back and forth as well as up and down.
The prone plank
This is a simpler plank-based exercise than the side-leg raises.
- Assume a standard pushup position
- Hold this stationary position for 30 seconds. After building enough strength, try holding the position for one minute.
This classic body resistance exercise not only works the legs, but the abs as well.
- Stand with your legs shoulder length apart and point your toes forward.
- Slowly descend using your legs, hips and knees.
- Stop descending once your knees reach a 90-degree angle.
- Return to the starting position and repeat. One set of 12-15 reps is ideal for this exercise.
These are just seven effective exercises that can help achieve six-pack abs. There are many more exercises out there that go beyond the standard crunches and deliver superior results.
Kristina is a health professional with over 7 years of experience helping clients with their diet and fitness challenges. Need a personalized plan? Check out www.fitium.com today.
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