ABS-olutely Essential Exercises: Five Core Workouts To Get You In Shape

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The core is your body’s powerhouse, so dedicated exercises that focus on this section of your body is crucial if you want to stay fit and engage in other physical activities. Below are five easy (to learn) workouts to help you build your core strength.

1. Low Abs Reverse Crunch

This exercise targets the lower abs specifically. Lay on the ground with your arms above your head, holding onto a beam or a pole. As you slowly tuck your knees (think about taking a bite out of your knees), you exhale and contract the abs. Start to lower your legs as you inhale, but DO NOT lower your back down all the way to ensure you keep the core engaged.

2. Low Abs Reverse Crunch Alternative

Similar to the low abs reverse crunch, roll the hips up, driving your knees toward your face. Once you finish the “knee bite,” you then perform a heel push to the ceiling as you exhale and contract hard. Again, this exercise targets the lower abs specifically.

3. Heel Touches

In a sit-up position, crunch up to get your shoulder blades off the ground, keeping your chin tucked into your chest. Reach from side to side in a slow controlled manner as far as you can, touching your heels. This exercise simulates a side oblique crunch and works the upper abs as well.

4. Bicycle Crunch

This exercise works the entire ab complex. It’s important to make sure that you keep your body in a straight, tight line as opposed to rocking back and forth on your shoulder blades as you perform the bicycle. Start with a slow crunch up and across. Drive the elbow to the inside of opposite knee. Bring your shoulder blades up off the mat and go up and in. There’s no rush—just focus on slow reps. Remember, breathing is KEY!!!  Exhale as you contract.

5. Lying Crunch Reach Through

These are designed to work the upper/middle ab complex. Similar to the bicycle, this exercise must be done with shoulders up, chin tucked and a nice tight line with NO jerking of the upper body.  Stack the hands on top of each other and keep them low to the crotch to help keep your shoulders low and the abs engaged. Go for slow, controlled and steady reach throughs as you exhale for a hard contraction on each crunch.

6. Toe Touches

There’s no need for any added weight with this exercise. This workout focuses on the upper abdominals. Bring your shoulder blades off the ground and reach for your toes with a slow, controlled crunch. Lower yourself back down, keeping the shoulder blades off the ground and then right back up. Release hard exhales on each contraction as you reach up and touch your toes. Breathe in a shallow inhale as you lower back down. The less air you take in, the easier it is to exhale on the contraction.

Chris DiVecchio, #FL2Master
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