A firm core is a common goal for people working out. Call it what you will; a tight tummy, six-pack abs, a toned mid-section. The main thing is that the middle section of your body looks tight with muscles that support your body, provide strength for athletic activities, and prevent any jiggling. So how can we go about achieving that?
Sadly you cannot simply just work the muscles. While toning up the core is one piece of the puzzle, it is still only a piece. You also need to focus on burning excess fat to ensure you can see all the hard work you will put into training your core with ab exercises.
But let’s not put the cart in front of the horse! First we shall focus on ab exercises to start toning up and then we have other articles about diet and cardiovascular activity you can use to help melt away those pounds.
Hard-Core Ab Exercises
Ideally you should be working your core twice a week. Some people like to do a little more which can be fine but you should not exceed three workouts per week; the muscles simply cannot recover from it properly and while hypertrophied muscles might seem smaller, you will not have the same tone.
This workout is designed as a circuit. The idea behind a circuit is for variety, to keep the heart rate up for more calories being burned, and to repeatedly hit the muscles from all angles. We are using ab exercises that work the front abdominal wall, the oblique muscles, and also stabilizing muscles along the entire core. The circuit should be performed 2 to 3 times through taking no rest between exercises and 30 seconds to 60 seconds between circuits. Each exercise will be performed for 30 seconds so no need to count reps.
- Swiss Ball Knee Thrusts – Assume a push-up position with your hands placed on top of a Swiss ball. Alternatively drive each knee to the top of the ball, touching lightly, and then straightening the leg back out.
- Three-Way Crunches – Assume a normal crunch position on the ground. Your first crunch should be straight up, the second should be while twisting to the right, and the third should be twisting to the left.
- Walking Planks – Start in a standing position. Bend over at the waist and touch your hands to the ground with palms flat. With your feet in the same position start walking your hands forward one at a time until you are in a push-up position. Pause then take a few more hand-walks forward (as far as you can go), pause and then return to the push-up position. Pause there and then walk yourself back to a standing position.
- Woodcutter – Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Clasp your hands together and hold them at head height on your right side (imagine holding an axe). Chop down across your body towards the outside of your left foot, touching your elbow to your knee. Do five chops to one side and then five chops to the other side. Keep alternating until time is up.
- Clam Crunches – Lie on the ground and extend your hands over your head so you arms are flat on the ground. Simultaneously raise your arms and shoulders off the ground while raising your legs. Touch your fingers to your toes as the clam closes. Then lower both arms and legs back down but stop when both are 3-4 inches off the ground and reverse direction to close the clam again.
This is a great workout for firming up your core with a group of ab exercises that will definitely hit you from all angles.