If you’re looking to exchange your muffin-top for a slimmer midsection, you’ll need to do cardiovascular activity regularly and devote some time to strengthening your abs with resistance exercises. Luckily, if you do the right exercises in the right proportions, you can ensure optimal results and maximize your workout efficiency. The following exercises will provide you with the right guidance to strengthen the abdominal muscles and get you back in your skinny jeans!
Do 3 sets of each of the following exercises at least two times a week and always aim for failure on each set:
1. Ab Rows
- This exercise strengthens the muscles of the lower abdominals (rectus abdominis) and hips (iliopsoas).
- Start by sitting down on the floor with your feet extended out in front of you.
- Place your hands behind you for support and pull your knees in to your chest (exhale).
- Without letting your feet touch the floor, return your legs back to the starting position (inhale) and then continue to pull your knees in repeatedly without ever touching the ground.
- As you become more advanced, try performing the same exercise without allowing your supportive hands to remain in contact with the floor for a more intense workout.
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2. Knee-Up Crunches
- To develop the muscles of the lower abdominal area (rectus abdominis).
- Lie down on your back, lift your legs off the ground and cross your feet.
- Keeping your legs up at a 90-degree angle, place your hands behind your head and crunch up until your shoulder blades come off the ground (exhale), keeping your head looking up at the ceiling.
- Slowly return back to the starting position (inhale) and repeat.
3. Bicycle Crunches
- This exercise is used to develop the front muscles of the stomach (rectus abdominis) and side muscles of the stomach (obliquus externus abdominis).
- Start by lying flat on the floor with both knees bent.
- Bring both knees up off the floor until your upper leg is parallel with the floor.
- Crunch up until both shoulder blades come off the ground and then twist your upper body so that one elbow touches your opposite knee (exhale).
- Slowly return your upper body to the starting position and then repeat on the other side.
- Continue alternating each side until the desired number of repetitions is achieved.
4. Leg Raises
- Targets the muscles of the core (rectus abdominis, obliquus externus abdominis, erector spinae) with special emphasis on the pelvic (iliopsoas) muscles as well.
- Lie on your back with your hands placed on the floor on either side of you.
- With your toes pointing forward, lift both legs up at the same time until a 90-degree angle is reached at the waist (exhale).
- Slowly lower your legs back down to the starting position (inhale) and repeat the motion just before your feet touch the floor.