Although traditional crunches are a favorite at the gym, it's important to regularly change your routine if you want to tighten tummy muscles. Adding some of these unusual moves are a great way to modify your existing ab workouts. Be sure to pair these strength-training exercises with a healthy diet and regular cardio for best results.
The ballet twist is a great warm-up exercise before beginning the rest of your ab workout. This modified side crunch requires that you stretch and twist your oblique abs while on the mat. To do this exercise correctly, you may need a buddy who will hold down your legs until you've mastered the move.
This classic Pilates mat exercise requires that you fully engage all of your ab muscles. To correctly complete the hundred, you must raise your head and legs slightly while you are on your back. You should then begin pumping your arms up and down for one hundred counts. The key to this exercise is to pull your ab muscles towards your spine while keeping them fully engaged.
Stability Ball Pike
Adding a stability ball to any of your normal ab routines will increase their effectiveness. The stability ball pike, however, is an advanced ab exercise that will require upper body strength and balance to complete. This four-stage exercise ends in a partial handstand with your feet balanced on the edge of the stability ball. Completing this exercise engages the rectus abdominus, transverse abdominis, and oblique muscles.
Medicine Ball Trunk Rotations
If you don't want to hit the mat, try these standing medicine ball rotations. This exercise uses a twisting motion and the weight of a medicine ball to whittle your waistline. Although it is an intermediate-level exercise, you can make it more difficult by extending the medicine ball further away from your body; just be sure to keep the ball at shoulder height to avoid unnecessary strain.
Side Plank with Bent Knee
If you're a beginning exerciser, try a side plank with bent knee to your exercise routine. This plank modification requires you to use your ab muscles to completely straighten your spine while you're supporting your body weight with an elbow and your knees.
Seated Side-Straddle Stretch
Try targeting your oblique muscles with a seated side-straddle stretch. Not only does this exercise help strengthen oblique muscles for a smaller waistline, but it also strengthens the erector spinae. This muscle helps support the spine. Regularly exercising this muscle, combined with overall strengthening of your core, can help prevent back injury.
Supine Pelvic Tilts
Supine pelvic tilts require that you lie on your back and use your ab muscles to arch your back. The key to getting the most out of this exercise is to complete it slowly and thoroughly engage your ab muscles. This movement should always be controlled, and you should avoid lifting your hips or allowing your tailbone to leave the floor.
For this exercise, you'll need a sturdy chair and some upper-body strength. While sitting in a chair, use your arms to grasp the edge of the seat and push your body up so you no longer have contact with the seat. Then, to work your abs, slowly lift your knees up several inches. You should hold this position for as long as you can before carefully lowering yourself back into the chair.
To update the traditional crunch, try a side crunch to fully engage your oblique muscles and give your hips a workout. This exercise requires that you balance on a knee and hand while lifting and extending your other arm and leg. The balance required to complete this move makes it trickier than a traditional crunch.
You may be familiar with the Cobra if you've ever taken a yoga class. Not only does this move exercise your ab muscles, but it is a great way to stretch at the end of your ab routine, too. While beginners will need to focus on properly elongating their ribcage and arching their spine, advanced exercisers should attempt to lift their thighs and hips off the floor during this exercise.
Before trying to complete any of these exercises, be sure you know how to do them properly to prevent injury. If you are new to exercising or any of these moves, it may be worth booking a personal trainer for a few sessions to help you with your form. No matter which exercise you choose, be sure to fully tighten tummy muscles and switch ab workouts regularly to get the most out of your time.
Calculate your Body Mass Index
Use Our Calorie Calculator To See How Many Calories You Should be Consuming.