Though you cannot spot reduce when losing weight, you can work on toning certain areas after your overall body workouts. Among the most popular exercises are ab workouts, in which the abdominals get a workout in the hopes of getting something resembling a six-pack on the stomach. If this is your goal, you should consider some of the most effective ab workouts.
One of the most popular exercises is the bicycle, which you start by lying on the floor with the legs bent at the knees, and hands behind the head. Contracting your abs, bring your left knee up to your chest while pulling up your head slightly upward so that your right elbow touches the left knee. Your shoulder blades should be lifting just up off the floor. Straighten that leg, and then turn to the right, bringing that knee up to your chest and your head slightly up. Your left elbow should touch your right knee, at which point you should straighten that leg and start again. You should continue this bicycling motion about 15 times, working out both the obliques on the sides of the torso, and the six-pack muscles on the front of the abdomen.
If you do not like the idea of the traditional crunch, you should check out modified versions, such as the exercise ball crunch. This move involves the legs, and can be considered gentler on the back than regular crunches. To begin, press your lower back against the exercise ball, putting your arms up above your head. Contract the abdominal muscles while lifting the torso upward, and then return to the starting position, repeating about 15 times. You may be surprised that though this movement is considered slightly more effective than most other ab workouts, it is still relatively simple, and is not rough on the joints.
Another different take on the typical crunch is the vertical leg crunch, during which you lie on your back with your legs straight in the air above you at a right angle. The legs should be crossed at the ankles, with the hands behind the head. The next step is to contract the abs so that the shoulder blades just come off the floor, similar to a regular crunch but with the legs straight and in the air. Do these ab workouts about 15 times, working both the obliques and the rectus abdominis.
Practicing these unique ab workouts a few times per week will put you on the track to having great abs, whether you eventually get a six-pack or just a stomach that is more toned than you are used to. Of course, you still need to lose any fat on top of the muscles by doing cardiovascular workouts, such as running or swimming a few times per week. Supplementing such activities with these ab workouts should allow you to see results within months.
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