Working your abs can be rough. It makes breathing all hard to do, it makes your face all red, and it makes your stomach feel like a jar of jelly. As fun as that might sound in theory, most ab workouts don’t live up to the hype. I once heard that Usher does 1,000 sit-ups every day to maintain his six-pack (which is more like a 12-pack), and that honestly sounds psychotic to me. Who has that kind of time? I mean, except for multimillionaire, voice-of-an-angel singers — who else has that kind of time? I sure as heck don’t.
And while I also don’t have anything near what you’d call a six- or 12-pack, I do have a sturdy core that helps me maintain healthy balance and posture every day. I used to do your typical crunches with an occasional plank thrown in; sometimes I’d mix it up with some reverse or oblique crunches, too. But since I’ve been switching up my workouts more and more lately, I’ve learned some insanely impactful abdominal routines that have trimmed my waist and made my gut feel stronger than ever. Here are five of my favorites that I do a several times a week to keep up a solid core.
(What are some of your favorite ab exercises? Leave them in the comment section below!)
Bend your knees slightly and flex your feet as you lay flat on your back, pressing your spine into the ground, arms relaxed by the sides. Touch heels to the ground, maintaining bent knee shape, and raise them back to beginning placement for 20 reps x 3 sets.
Using an 8- or 10-pound medicine ball, sit in a V-position with bent knees and touch the ball on each side of your body for 10 reps per side x 3 sets.
Medicine Ball Lifts
In the same bodily position as Russian Twists, lift an 8- or 10-pound medicine ball straight over your head and then bring back in to your chest for 15 reps x 3 sets.
Lay flat on your bad with your legs flat on the ground. Hold your arms straight over your chest with hands clasped together. Sit up completely, maintaining hands pointing straight toward the ceiling during the entire movement. Lay back down with hands still extended toward ceiling and repeat for 15 reps x 3 sets.
Alternating Leg/Arm Planks
Holding a plank on your forearms, stretch your left arm and right leg straight out; hold for 5 seconds. Switch arms/legs and repeat motion, holding for 5 seconds. Do 10 reps per arm/leg combo x 3 sets.