May 28, 2013 // Category: Fitness Advisor

Most dream of having sculpted abs, but it’s not an easy goal to reach. The abdominals are used in virtually every movement from running and lifting to bending and jumping. While cardio exercises will whittle away your middle by torching calories and burning fat, you can achieve a flatter and tighter stomach with the right strength exercises. And crunches aren’t the only way. Try these non-crunching exercises to get results: 

Plank: This traditional exercise starts in the standard push-up position: face down, hands shoulder-width apart and balancing on your toes with the abs contracted. (To modify, you can start on your forearms instead of your hands and/or drop your knees to the mat.) The most important thing is to keep your body straight from head to heels (or knees if modifying). Maintain the position for 15-30 seconds by engaging the abdominal muscles and holding the position, being mindful not to let you chest or lower back sag. Use a mirror to check your form. As your core muscles improve, you will be able to hold this position longer. Gradually increase your time up to a minute or more. To increase the difficulty, try lifting one leg to create a balance challenge.

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