The universe is filled with mystery. Intricate blends of pleasure and persistence. When we feel that pleasure we want to pursue it. We crave it. Sadly, when we realize how hard it gets to achieve that pleasure time and time again we get depressed and quit! Bitterness ensues and it takes years to try again.
It is important to understand that I am about to give you my 5 favorite ab exercises. That is not to say these will give you a six pack. The only thing that will accomplish the vastly sought after “wash board abs” is good and consistent eating habits. If you want to experience the pleasure and self-confidence of having nice abs, you must commit to a good diet. PERIOD
Now that we have that out of the way, here we go!
- Plank. Strength before fancy stuff. Always. I am not reinventing the wheel here. I am reinforcing and reminding you to practice your plank. A two-minute plank is all we need to achieve a solid strength foundation but it has to be good form guys. No butts in the air. No sagging. If you feel lower back pressure then you aren’t locked. Not all planks are created equal. An active plank is when you are squeezing your ankles together, you have thigh muscle activation, and you are squeezing your butt. All these things will aid you in keeping your spine neutral. Follow the Pilates rule, you should be shaking if you’re planking.
- Dead Bug. Oh yes. This one is the one that reveals all. You must be able to brace sufficiently for lifts of any kind, even body weight. The dead bug teaches you how to do that. Begin by lying on your back with your feet in the air and arms pressed up towards the ceiling. Feet are squat width apart. Inhale a deep breath through your nose into your belly and expand your ribcage outward. When you get your full breath blow it out forcefully and squeeze your ribs downward into the ground. This is called a lock. Your lower back is to the floor, your ribs are down and you will be shaking if you are weak in the abs. If you are strong then you may lower your legs until the shake ensues. Aim for a two-minute hold before you add in fancy stuff.
- Hip flexor crunch. TFW special right here. You didn’t realize hip flexors are part of the core? I attribute a lot of my deficiencies to poor mobility and weak hips. Throwing in a hip flexor intense exercise to your core routine will change the game for you. Sit on your butt and try to maintain a good posture. If necessary, put your hands on the floor to help. Then extend your legs out with your toes pulled towards you and bring them back in.
- Leg lowering. I like to tell people to focus on the eccentric portion which is the lowering. Everyone in the world is obsessed with the concentric part of ab work but with any exercise, it is good to train eccentric from time to time. Get your legs up the easy way to start and then lower them slowly and under control. Once you have the hang of it, you can hop onto a bench to add difficulty.
- Hanging knee raise. This one is advanced and can get super elite if need be. However, there are ways to start building strength in it if you are new. I would start on two chairs or bars instead of a pull-up bar. The bars or chairs will build up strength in your arms and teach you to hold your body weight up statically instead of just hanging. It is easy to hang on a bar and activate very little. It is quite the contrary for holding your body up on a bar. Start with just holding your weight up without sagging your shoulder blades down. When you master that, then add in the knee raise.
Ok warriors. Here is your final tip. I know this list isn’t the sexy stuff. We aren’t hanging upside down or holding a partner to our chest and doing Turkish get ups. The point is, if you actually want to look sexy then you need to master the basics. Use the video to help guide you and let me know if you need any more help!
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