3 Core Exercises to Tighten and Tone Your Abs
If you have a Pinterest account, then I'm sure you know "Abs Are Made In The Kitchen". To be able to see your ab muscles, you have to get rid of the fat that covers them.
Proper nutrition is the best way to say hello to the stomach muscles. We still want to strengthen and tone those babies though, so here are 3 core exercises to tighten and tone your abs.
ACE (American Council of Exercise) did a study of which abdominal exercises was the most effective. They found that the bicycle was the most effective, with nearly two and a half times the muscle activation as the plain old crunch.
This exercise targets the rectus abdominus (aka the 6 pack muscle you think of) as well as the external obliques (love handles).
To get in position to perform the bicycle, lie on your back, place both hands behind your head, feet off the ground with legs bent at 90 degrees. Next, bring your left knee towards your chin as you rotate your right elbow towards your left knee (DO NOT push on your head), and repeat side to side for the desired amount of repetitions.
This move targets the transverse abdominus which is sometimes called the corset muscle because it keeps the abdominals held in tight. I just call it your Spanx muscle. Those muscles also act as back support and to help control breathing when lifting.
Exhale all of the air out of your lungs, expand your chest, then suck your stomach in as far as possible. Think about trying to pull your belly button into your spine. When you are just starting out, try to hold this contraction for 20 seconds. Rest 60 seconds and then do it one more time.
This move can trim inches off your waist once you get good at it. It is a secret though! Keep it on the down low.
3. Side plank
A great move for overall body strength and toning the obliques (love handles). Lay on your right side first, place your right palm on the ground, lift your hips up off the ground, and hold your body in a straight line. It is a little easier if you do this same move on your forearm instead.
If either of those are too hard, try the modified version. Lay on your right side, right palm on the ground. Instead of your legs being straight, pull your feet behind your knees, and push your hips up in the air with the side of your knee staying on the ground.
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