Do you want strong abs, but you’re getting bored with planks and crunches? Or maybe you feel you’re your results have stalled or you simply need a new challenge? Luckily, there are hundreds of ways to strengthen all four layers of abdominals. Here are five exercises to get you started.
Standing oblique twists: Hold a dumbbell (3-10 lbs.) in your right arm, bent to a 90-degree angle. Touch your left foot out to the side. Inhale, and on your exhalation, bring your right elbow and your left knee towards each other, then return to the starting position. Repeat 15x on the first side, and then reverse sides. Bonus: this one works your balance, too!
Lateral bend: Stand with your feet a little wider than your shoulders, feet parallel, with a dumbbell (8-15 lbs) in the left hand, arm down by your side. The right hand is behind the head. Without twisting the body, side bend, reaching the left hand holding the dumbbell towards the left ankle. Then return to standing. Repeat 15x, and then switch arms. Tip: squeeze the obliques on the way back up.
Squat to side kick: Stand with feet shoulder distance, toes pointing forward. Squat with your weight back in the heels, hands by the face in a blocking position. Upon standing, shift the weight onto the right leg, and kick the left leg out to the side, with the foot flexed and the leg parallel to the ground. Punch the left arm out to the side as well. Repeat 15x. Reverse sides. Challenge: do an additional 15 reps on each side holding the kick position for 3 counts.
Figure 8s: with medicine ball- Sitting tall, lift your feet so that your shins are parallel to the ground. As you lean back slightly, keep your chest lifted and spine long. Take a medicine ball into figure 8s around your legs, as you do small scissors with the legs. Make sure to keep your eyes lifted, and your chest up so you don’t collapse into the lower back. Continue for 30 seconds. Tip: focus on keeping your abdominals pulled in deeply, and build up some speed.
Scissor taps with upper body lifted: Lie on your back with arms and legs stretched up towards the ceiling/sky. Curl your upper body upwards, and touch the right hand to the left foot as you lower the left arm overhead, and the right leg toward the ground. Then switch, tapping the left hand to the right foot as you lower the right arm and the left leg. Switch back and forth continuously for 30-45 seconds. Make sure to keep the abs pulling in and the upper body curled up away from the ground. Focus- scissor the legs as far away from each other as possible without letting the pelvis rock around.
Amy Bishop, Fabletics Master