Abs... we all want them. They're rock-hard, sexy and are the perfect accessory to your bikini.
But how do you get them? And better yet...keep them?
Below are some of my favorite core exercises, plus some tips to keeping my stomach muscle lean and healthy.
Get into a normal push-up position but instead of resting your weight on your hands, bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Contract the muscles in your core as if you were preparing to be punched in the gut. Hold for at least 30 seconds. I like to use the stopwatch on my cell-phone. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat. Work your way up to holding for 1 minute.
Using the standard plank position, bend your knee up to your elbow on the same side of your body (i.e. right knee to right elbow.) Repeat on the other side. That's one rep. Do 25 and work your way up to 50. Be sure to keep your body in a straight line, and not raise your butt in the movement.
Lay on your back and bring the soles of your feet together so that your knees open into a relaxed position. Engaging lower and upper abs, inhale and come to a fully seated position, straightening, though not arching, your back. Exhale as you return to the starting position, with your back on the floor. Repeat for 25 reps, and as you build strength, work your way up to 50.
Lay on your back and bring your legs straight up so that they are perpendicular to the floor. Slowly lower your legs down so they're about 60 degrees from the floor and hold for 3 counts. Make sure to breathe. Bring your legs back up to the starting position, then slowly lower your legs down again, to about 45 degrees from the floor. Repeat, this time lowering your legs so they'r hovering just above the floor, and hold for 3 counts. Want to make it even harder? At the end of the last movement, when your feet are just above the floor, quickly move each foot up and down about 20 times.
*While engaging in the leg raise, make sure the lower portion of your back is pressed firmly against the floor. If you need to bring your legs up from the ground a bit more, so as not to arch your back and injure yourself, please do.
How do I keep my abs?
While muscles may be torn at the gym, they're formed in the kitchen. What you're consuming outside of the gym is just as important, if not more, than what you do inside. So stick to a clean eating plan. Stay away from simple carbs (except honey, as it's anti-bacterial), artificial ingredients, and even...sorry folks...alcohol.
You can still be heathy and have fun...trust me. In fact, being healthy is more fun!
Are you having success with these ab exercises? Do you have core routines you swear by? Stay tuned for more targeted fat-burning exercises and meal plans!