With a tight core and sleek abdominals you look better in clothes, bathing suits and have better balance. Even if you continue to carry more weight than you’d like, a strong core will help you carry your body with more self confidence and a great sex appeal. So let’s talk about the exercises that work best for you.
The first step is to remove crunches or sit ups from your current program. While they are traditional, they also consistently train just the large abdominal muscle down the center of your body – rectus abdominus – by pulling the rib cage. Over training this muscle without thoroughly improving the strength of your back, will increase the curvature of your spine, increase the weight load on the lower back and increase your risk of lower back injury and pain. (1)
Stop doing the crunches and sit ups!
Instead, let’s start with a Plank movement. This exercise will strengthen your shoulders, abdominals, obliques (side planks) and back muscles. Because it takes about 20 minutes to finish both planks and side planks, the exercise is time efficient and effective.
Your core muscles are not just the abdominals that people notice, but also the opposite muscles in your back that also help to stabilize your body and spine. The plank will help to strengthen those muscles between your hips and chest in the front and back, without the added weight load on the lower back.
Get started by putting yourself in the push-up position, with your elbows directly beneath your shoulders and your forearms pressed into the ground. Keep your body as straight and as still as possible. Work up to holding this position for 90 seconds 5-6 times.
Side planks have a similar focus but your body is on the side. Start by lying on your left side, left arm under your shoulder and feet on top of one another. With your body straight, lift your hips off the ground so you are straight as a board facing sideways. Work up to holding this position for 60 seconds on each side 5 times.
You can address the lower abdominal muscles by lying on your back, shoulders and arms pressed to the floor. Raise your knees and press your feet to the floor. Lift your hips off the floor and hold for a few seconds. Now lift your left leg off the floor straighten the knee and raise it over your head. Replace the left leg and repeat with the right leg. That is 1 repetition. Work up to 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
If you start with these core exercises you’ll notice a difference in your strength, balance and ability to complete the program in just 2 weeks. In just 2 weeks you’ll begin to feel stronger and more self-confident. It’s a great way to improve your health and your physique!
(1) Clinical Biomechanics: The Mechanics of Torso Flexion: Sit ups and Standing Synamic Flexion Manoeuvres
Women’s Health 10 Abs Exercises Better Than Crunches
Womens Health Magazine: Flatten Your Belly with This Killer Ab Workout
Real Simple: 6 Easy Lower Abdominal Exercises
Todd Durkin: Why Crunches and Sit ups are BAD and What to do instead
Mail Online: Why Sit ups can be BAD for your body