As spring approaches (at least I hope it is...) and everyone seems to be working on getting in shape for summer, I thought I’d focus my Friday post on one of my favorite muscle groups to work-- ABDOMINALS! Everyone wants a sexy stomach to look down come swimsuit season, but there is a lot of truth in the fact that summer flat stomachs are made in the winter. Now is the time to focus in on all those problem areas if you want to feel confident in the swimsuit dressing room.
In my experience, light weight exercises requiring not much more than your own body and an exercise mat are the most effective when sculpting abs. At most, I’ll use a 5 lb. weight for some exercises, but this is definitely one area where I do not advocate heavy weights, at least for girls aiming for a feminine look. Here’s a photo demo of my 5 go-to ab exercises that have yet to fail me in results!
Stand feet apart. One arm straight up and other by your side. Keep one foot turned out slightly. Slowly bend down toward that foot keeping the other arm straight up in the air (I do turn my wrist a little bit to keep my shoulder in line), then stand up again. Add light weights when you’re ready. Repeat 12 times for a set.
Stand feet apart with both hands straight out in front of you. Slowly twist to one side, back to center, to the other side, back to center, and so on. Add a light weight for increased effectiveness. Repeat 12 times for a set.
Begin in a side plank position, then lift your hips up and down. Keeping your balance can be a little tricky, but you will feel this in no time! Repeat 12 times for a set.
Keep your abs activated the entire time with your hands by your sides and shoulders and heels lifted off of the floor. Pull your knees in and lift your upper body to “crunch in” and then straighten back out again. Some call these V-ups, but any true athlete knows that you’d have to keep your legs straight the whole time for that. ;) See if you can do 20! And don’t feel bad if you need to take breaks in between.
Start on your back with legs straight out, sort of like how I began the previous exercise, except put your hands under your lower back for support. In this exercise, lift only your lower body with legs straight out in front of you, and then lower again. Never put your legs all the way down though to keep your abs engaged the entire time!
Of course, none of these exercises will show results if not done in conjunction with a healthy diet. Add these into your regular fitness routine, and I think you will see your stomach changing slowly and surely!