Summer is fast approaching (well it is here in Australia), which means so is bikini season! To help you get bikini-body ready I have put together 8 of the best ab exercises to help you strengthen and tighten your core. Perform 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions of each exercise with 30-60 seconds rest between each set 1-3 times per week. Combine these exercises with a healthy diet and exercise program and you will see great results.
Equipment: Barbell (can also be performed with a dumbell)
To perform the landmine, place one end of the barbell securely into a corner. Stand at the opposite end of the barbell, holding it at chest level. Slowly move the barbell back and forth across your body, keeping your core tight and restricting other bodily movement. You can add weight/s to the bar for an extra challenge.
2. 3/4 sit up
Lay down on the floor on your back with your knees bent and secure your feet. Place your hands beside your head, contract your abdominals and sit up so that your torso is perpendicular to the ground. When you come back down, only come 3/4 of the way before sitting back up. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.
3. Stability Ball Roll Out
Equipment: Stability Ball
Kneel on floor or mat facing stability ball within arms reach. Straighten hips with subtle bend. Also straighten arms with slight bend. Lean foward and roll ridged arms out over ball. Roll foward as far as possible. Raise body back up by pulling arms back until kneeling upright in original position. Repeat.
This can also be performed from a standing position to make it harder.
Get into pushup position on the floor. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold the position for as long as you can. Your goal should be to hold it for two minutes. Start out slow and work your way up.
Modifications: To make the exercise easier, perform on your knees. To make the exercise harder, perform on a stability ball or place a weight plate on back.
5. Cable rope crunch
Equipment: Rope cable attachment
Kneel below high pulley. Grasp cable rope attachment with both hands. Place wrists against head. Position your hips back. With hips stationary, flex at your waist so that your elbows travel toward your thighs. Return to starting position.
To target the obliques as well, bring your opposite elbow to opposite knee when crunching.
6. Stability Ball Knee Tucks
Equipment: Stability Ball
Lie on top of the ball. Tighten your abs & slowly walk your hands forward until your things/shins are resting on the ball. This will resemble a push up position. You will want the ball either under the shins/ankles (easier) or with the tops of the feet (harder). Bend the knees and roll the ball in towards the chest, contracting the abs. With abs tight, exhale as you tuck your knees into your chest. Inhale as you return to the starting position.
To make this exercise harder, keep your legs straight and lift your hips up towards the ceiling, this is also known as a stability ball pike.
7. Hanging knee raise
Equipment: Something sturdy to hang on to.
Grasp and hang from high bar with slightly wider than shoulder width overhand grip. Raise legs by flexing hips and knees until hips are completely flexed or knees are well above hips. Return until hips and knees are extended downward. Repeat.
To make this exercise harder, keep your legs straight when raising them. To target your obliques twist while bringing your knees up to your chest.
8. Bicycle crunch
Begin by lying on your back, placing your hands behind your ears. Do not put your hands clasped behind your head. Lift your legs in the air and bend your knees so that your legs form a 90 degree angle. Move your legs in a bicycle motion. When your left knee is closer to your body, reach your right elbow to it. When your right knee is closer to your body, reach your left elbow to it.
To make this exercise harder, perform with your arms and legs out straight.