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Core Exercises For Gorgeous Abs

Posted Sep 07 2010 8:49pm

These are challenging core exercises which will sculpt your abs beautifully as well as make your core amazingly strong.

Beach Scissors

To strengthen all your core muscles, especially the sides of your abdomen, lie on your left side, propping yourself up on your elbow.  Your whole body should remain in a straight line.  Raise your right leg as high as possible, keeping it straight.  Hold for 3 seconds.  Return to starting position and repeat.  When you are finished, do the same on the other side.

If this is too difficult, do this exercise while propping your head on your hand with your body on the floor.  This easier version targets your obliques and hip flexors.

Bicycles

A well-known exercise that works great for your abs and obliques.  Lie on your back with your legs straight and your hands under your head. Hold one leg up about six inches off the ground and keep it fully extended.  Pull the knee of your other leg in toward your chest, and touch it with your opposite elbow. Now begin “bicycling” touching each knee with the opposite elbow as it comes in toward your chest. Be sure to extend each leg fully before bringing it back in to your chest.  Doing these in slow and controlled repetitions will strengthen your mid-section more so than doing them fast.

Burpees

Another well known exercise.  This one targets the core, as well as the shoulders, triceps, pectorals, quadriceps, glutes, and calves.

Start by first standing with your feet together.  Go into a squatting position and place your hands on the ground in front of your feet.  Kick both feet back so that you land in a push up starting position.  Perform a push up.  Jump your feet back up toward your chest, which places you back in the squatting position.  Jump up extending your arms over your head.  Push yourself hard and do as many reps as possible.

Crunch It Ups

A great exercise for your upper abs, sit on the floor with your knees bent.  If you are a beginner, place your feet under a piece of furniture.  The further your butt is from your feet, the tougher the exercise.  Crossing your arms and keeping them in front of your stomach, bring your upper body up enough to touch your elbows to your thighs near your knees.  Then lean backwards until your shoulder blades touch the ground.  Try to do 100 reps.

Flutter Kicks

Lying on your back, place your hands under your butt and hold your head up. Keeping your legs straight and together, lift your feet into the air about six inches from the ground.

Then raise your right leg up to three feet in the air while keeping your left leg six inches above the ground.  Switch legs by raising the right leg and lowering the left.  Keep repeating the movement until you reach muscle failure.  This exercise can be done either fast or slow, but keep the motion very controlled.

You can make flutter kicks a little harder by placing your hands on your chest.

This exercise targets your lower abs and hip flexors.

Hanging Leg Lifts

These leg lifts will target your abs, forearms, and hip flexors.  Find something high to hold onto, such as a pull-up bar, tree limb (my personal favorite), or swing set.  Something strong enough to hold your entire body.  Preferably something high enough to keep your feet from touching the ground, but you can bend your knees if necessary.  Grab hold of the structure and hang.  While hanging, bring your knees up toward your chest.  Then let them back down without swinging your body.

Bringing your legs to your sides, one after the other, will place more emphasis on the muscles along your ribs and beneath your ribs.

For the incredibly strong athlete, do this exercise with your legs straight.  Bring your feet as close to your hands as possible and then lower them again without swinging your body.

Hello Darlings

Similar to Flutter Kicks which target the lower abs and hip flexors, lie down on your back with your head up and your hands either under your butt or on your chest (hands on chest is more difficult).  Keeping your legs straight, lift your feet into the air about six inches above the ground.  Open your legs as wide as possible, then bring them back together crossing the ankles.  On each rep, alternate the foot on top.

Jack Knives

This is a very difficult exercise which requires good coordination and strong abs.  If you can do them, you’ll have a good workout for your abs and hip flexors.

Lie flat on your back with your feet six inches off the ground and your arms extended straight up over your head.  Keeping only your butt on the ground, simultaneously bring your chest and legs up, keeping them straight until your hands touch your feet.  Then lean your chest and arms back and bring your legs down until both your shoulders and feet are just a few inches off the ground.

Plank

This simple yet effective exercise strengthens the entire core.  Start out if a push-up position, but lower yourself down to your elbows.  Your elbows should be bent to a 90 degree angle, shoulder-width apart, with your forearms on the ground.  You may want to place your elbows on a pillow.  Hold this position for one to two minutes.  Be sure to keep your butt down and your body straight.  Rest 30 seconds.  Repeat.

Russian Twists

For your abs and obliques, sit upright with arms crossed and knees bent.  Lift your feet off the ground.  Twist your waist so that your left elbow touches your right knee.  Then twist the other direction so that your right elbow touches your left knee.  Keep twisting without lowering your legs.

V-Ups

One of the best exercises for your abs, lie flat on your back with your arms to your side.  Keeping only your butt on the ground, bring your chest and your knees up toward each other, almost until they touch.  Then lean your chest back and straighten your legs out so that both your shoulders and feet are just a few inches off the ground.

Step ‘em up by doing side V-Ups (also targets obliques). Lie on your left side with your left arm out straight in front of you on the floor, palm down.  Place your right hand on your head.  Keeping your legs together, bending only at the hips, bring your knees to your right elbow.  Your legs should now be at a 90-degree angle to your upper body.  Lower your legs back to the ground slowly, without letting your feet touch the ground before your next rep.

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