Different people build strength and sculpt abs differently. Some prefer training them through sports like tennis, swimming, and gymnastics, others may prefer attaining them through martial arts classes. Skipping through the plethora of exercises that’ll help sculpt and strengthen your six-pack abs, here are 7 proven core exercises from Evolve Daily’s list that will help increase your core strength and sculpt your abs in the process:
1) Reverse Crunches
The reverse crunches target your upper abs as well as your lower abs. Unlike traditional crunches that involve bringing your body up to your knees, you are required to bring your legs towards your body instead when performing this exercise. Here’s how to perform a reverse crunch:
- Start by laying flat on the floor with your belly facing the ceiling and your knees bent at a 90 degrees angle.
- With your knees together, raise your feet off the ground, while your shins remain parallel with the floor
- Contract your ab muscles while inhaling and tilt your pelvis to bring your knees towards your chest in a controlled manner.
- Repeat the same as you are returning to your starting position and avoid swinging your legs or using the momentum created to help perform the movement.
Tip: You can either cup your ears or press your hands into the ground for extra stability when performing the exercise.
Planks are one of the most straightforward core exercises to perform, that targets your back and shoulder muscles. This exercise helps strengthen the core muscles in stabilizing your body, improving mobility, and overall athleticism. Here’s how to perform a plank:
- First, get into a push-up position, and align your elbows with your shoulders. You should be able to draw a straight line from the top of your head to your toes when you’re in the proper position.
- Hold the position for as long as you can without loosening your core or letting your hips sag, keeping your back in position, squeezing your glutes, and keeping your core muscles tight as you hold.
3) Russian Twists
The Russian twist is one of the most effective exercises you can do for your upper abs and obliques. Here’s how to perform a Russian twist:
- Get into the sit-up position with your heels on the floor, and your knees slightly bent. Keeping your back straight, and your shoulders pulled back, rotate your torso to your right side until your left fingertips can touch the floor.
- Take note that the twisting motion should be done using your abs, not your shoulders. Now, rotate to your left side, touching the floor with the fingertips of your right hand, doing the same for the other side.
Tip: This exercise can be made more challenging by holding on to weights while performing it. Adding weights to an exercise allows you to continuously overload your muscles with stimuli that promote strength and muscle growth. A pair of kettlebells typically works best.
4) Bicycle Crunches
This exercise targets your obliques and abdominal muscles. Here’s what the exercise looks like:
- Start by laying down with your lower back pressed to the floor.
- Once ready, put your hands behind your head and slowly bring your knees towards your chest and lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Take note to not pull your head or neck while performing this exercise.
- Straighten out one of your legs and twist your torso towards the knee that’s still bent, touch it with your elbow and repeat the motion on your opposite side.
Tips: Do this exercise slowly to get the most out of it when you for each rep reps slowly and make sure you’re not cheating by swinging your body.
5) Scissor Sit-Ups (Alternating V-Ups)
Here’s a great way to target your lower abs. This exercise makes it easier to cheat when performing sit-ups, so you’re forced to work your abs muscles. Here’s how to perform scissor sit-ups:
- Get in position by laying on the floor with your shoulders slightly off the floor.
- Once ready, tighten your abs and lift your heels off the floor.
- Finding your balance, start by crossing one foot over another, and returning to the original position. Repeat this motion until you finish your set.
Tip: To get the most of this exercise, perform it in a slow and controlled manner. Make sure to also control your breathing while doing so, as this prevents you from gassing out too early.
6) Tuck And Crunch
This exercise allows you to target most of the muscles in your abdominal region when performing crunches. It involves raising your legs as you perform crunches, focusing only on using your abdominal muscle and restricting other muscle groups in the exercise. Here’s how it goes:
- Get into a crunch position and raise your legs with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Raise your knees towards your chest, simultaneously raising your torso as you perform the crunches. Repeat this motion until you finish your set.
- Avoid pulling on your neck or jerking your body while performing the exercise.
7) Hanging Knee Raise Twist
This exercise targets your lower abs and core. It can be done easily, providing a great burn and increasing your mobility at the same time. You can raise the difficulty of this exercise by adding ankle weights. Here’s how it goes:
- Grab a pull-up bar or abs hanging machine and start with a resting hang position.
- Slowly raise your knees to the side while flexing your waist on each twist.
- Return to the start position and perform the motion on your opposite side.
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