Whether you are getting ready for bathing suit weather or just want to look and feel great every day, we have the best abdominal exercises that you should be doing. We know – ab exercises can really hurt! But once you do these 8 amazing lower ab exercises for a week or two, you will feel better, stronger and more confident. Give these 8 exercises a try, starting today.
1. Abdominal Hold.
This exercise looks goofy to execute, but it will whip you into shape in no time! In order to do it, sit on the edge of a chair. Make sure you are using good posture! Put your hands on the edge of the chair and point your fingers toward your knees. Make sure that you are holding your abs tight as you lift your toes 2 to 4 inches off the ground. Next, lift your butt off the chair. Hold yourself like this for 10 seconds, then relax and repeat!
2. Side Crunch.
It looks so darn easy… but it’s really not! Not only does this exercise work your abs, but it also tests your balance. To do the Side Crunch, kneel on the floor. Lean all the way over to the right, and put your right palm flat down on the floor. Next, extend your left leg and point your toes. Keep that balance! Now put your left hand behind your head and aim your left elbow up towards the ceiling. Lift your left leg as high as your hip and extend your arm above your leg. Face your extended hand while moving the left side of your ribcage toward your hip. Return to your start position and repeat 5 times.
3. The Prone Plank.
Planks are a tough exercise, but the more you do them the easier they become… sort of! Planks are also great because you can do them anywhere and they require no equipment.
To execute the Prone Plank, get down on the floor and position yourself as if you were going to do a pushup. Make sure that your hands are lined up under your shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds while contracting your abdominal muscles. Be certain that your head is properly aligned with your spine. Once 30 seconds is up, relax. Then repeat!
4. Low Belly Leg Reach.
Ouch! No pain, no gain! And we promise that this exercise will work. Let’s get started!
Lie down on a mat, and put your legs in the air, bending them to 90 degrees. Place your hands behind your head, and keep your abdominal muscles tight. While your knees are stacked over your hips, lift your shoulders off the mat and crunch up. Hold for 5 seconds while you inhale. Then, exhale while extending your legs to a 45 degree angle. Squeeze your lower stomach in as you hold this position for 5 seconds. Repeat this motion for 2 sets of 15 reps. You can do it!
5. The Cobra.
The Cobra is a “feel good” abdominal exercise! It will really help you to stretch out and relax. To do The Cobra, lie with your face down on the floor, and place the palms of your hands alongside your chest. Now slowly lift your head, shoulders and chest off the ground, pulling your shoulder blades together. Hold for a few seconds, lower yourself back down to the floor and repeat.
6. The Teaser.
The Teaser was inspired by a great Pilates workout! Simply lie down on your back, place your legs in the air and bend your knees to a 90 degree angle. As you inhale, make sure that your abs are tight. Lift up your arms and place them over your head. Exhale, and as you do this, swing your arms forward. Straighten your legs, and make your body form a V shape. As you go back down to the floor, bend your knees to 90 degrees again and place your arms over your head. Repeat.
7. Advanced Leg Crunches.
To execute this tough move, lie on your back. Bend your knees and place a 2 to 5 pound dumbbell (your choice) between your feet. Put your hands palms down under your butt. Use the strength in your abs to bring your knees into your chest. At the same time, lift your hips, head and shoulders a bit. Return to your starting position and repeat!
8. Scale Pose
We saved the best for last! This move helps strengthen your core and even helps to build better posture! To do it, sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Place your hands on the floor, palms down next to your hips. Tighten your abdominal muscles as you push into your hands and lift your body off the floor. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds and return to your starting position before trying it again. It’s truly a challenge, but you can do anything you put your mind to!