Crunches Alone Won’t Get You Washboard Abs. These 5 Exercises Will!
You probably haven’t heard or done spider crawls but you really should. A variation of the plank, this move is a great dynamic mobility warm up. It works all of your core muscles and involves all three actions of your abdominals: flexion, rotation and anti-extension. The spider crawl tones your abdomen while burning fat. As a bonus, it also challenges your back muscles, working your rhomboids, trapezius and latissimus dorsi.
To do a spider crawl start in either the plank or push up position. Stabilize yourself, suck your abdomen in and make sure there’s a straight line from your neck to your heels. Hover your right leg and slowly take your knees outward to the side until your knee meets your elbow. Go back to the plank/push-up position and do the same on the opposite side.
The plank is probably one of the only exercises where you’re strengthening your entire core. This move, which requires you to work several muscles of your upper body, core and lower body to stay balanced, is exceptionally good at toning your rectus abdominis, obliques and lower back. Planks are the best for developing your core’s anti-extension function. Anti-extension stabilizes the core, prevents spine injuries, improves posture and is the best way to optimize all other types of body movements.
To do a plank, start in a press up position. Bend your elbows and make sure that your weight is on your forearms, not your hands. Form is crucial when doing planks so make sure that your body is creating a straight line from the top of your head to your ankles. Resist taking your glutes too high or dipping them too low. Improve form and balance by tensing your abdominal muscles.
Reverse crunches work on both your lower abdomen and lower back as it is a combination of a crunch and a hip raise. This move is a god-send for women who are trying to slim the area under their belly buttons because reverse crunches target hard to reach lower ab muscles as well as the transverse abdominus.
Lie with your back flat on the mat, your hands can either be clasped on your nape or palms down on the side of your trunk. Pull your knees closer to your body, both your feet off the ground. With your knees up to your midsection, your heels near your butt and your toes pointed, slowly lift off of the mat as if you’re peeling your back off of the mat. The force for this move should come from your abs. And then slowly go back to the starting position. The key to getting the most out of this move is to do it deliberately, and the slower you can do it the stronger your abs are going to get.
Cable rotation is great for golfers, baseball players, tennis players and all types of athletes who do racquet sports. That’s because it targets and strengthens your oblique muscles which can both strengthen and stabilize your swing.
Stand holding a cable with both hands out in front of you. The cable should be just under shoulder level. With hands straight, feet hip-width apart and planted firmly on the ground and your knees straight but not locked, rotate your upper body to the left. As you rotate be sure to engage only your abs, your knees shouldn’t be rotating with you.
5. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Exercises
So you want washboard abs, huh? Well, you could be planking your way to the high heavens but if your belly still has some fat that six pack will remain hidden under it. Abs, or any muscle for that matter, will remain hidden under layers of fat unless you lower your total body fat percentage.
The best way to burn fat is to do both strength training and cardio.
You don’t even need to run for hours, just spend 20 minutes a day 3-4 days a week doing high intensity interval training exercises and you’ll burn double the amount of calories a typical cardio session would. Before you know it, you’ll be displaying those abs at the beach.