There are few people out there who wouldn't wish for a flatter belly or more toned ab muscles. That explains why the abdomen is so often the main focus for plenty of people, whether they're beginners or seasoned workout veterans. But many become disheartened after hundreds of crunches that seem to yield no results and sometimes end up putting unnecessary strain on their backs. For that reason, let's take a look at several alternative ab workouts that are just as effective and much safer overall:
1. Overhead Circles with a Medicine Ball
A perfect exercise for both stretching your joints and strengthening your abs, overhead circles are done by grappling a medicine ball firmly above
2. Elbow Planks
Planks, in general, are great for building abdominal muscles, despite the fact that they require no movement on your part. While the traditional plank in push-up position works well too, the elbow variation is even better for your abs, as long as you perform it correctly. In this respect, it's important to keep your back flat at all times and aim for holds of about 20-30 seconds in the beginning, after which you're free to go up to one minute as you continue to build strength.
3. Seated Leg Lifts
One of the simplest yet most effective exercises you can do, seated leg lifts simply require that you remain on the ground with your legs fully extended and then slowly lift them up one at a time. Once one leg is fully extended, try to hold the position for about 5 seconds before releasing it. Then repeat the procedure with the other leg for a total of one minute's worth of alternation.
4. Single-Leg Forward Reaches
This straightforward exercise tones your abs by challenging your balance skills. You need to put all your weight on one of your feet, then extend both your arms and your other leg fully in opposite directions. Once achieved, holding the position for 10 seconds is paramount, after which you can switch to your other leg. Try to do 10 repetitions for each side before moving on.
5. Split Squats
Squatting is another basic exercise that can do wonders for your abdominal muscles, particularly if you opt for split squatting. This version of the classic exercise involves getting into a lunge position, where both knees are tilted at 90-degree angles. You then raise your body up by pressing through your heels. Maintain a straight posture and do around 10 reps per leg for best results. If need be, you can also increase the difficulty of this exercise by adding dumbbells to the equation.
Whether you're an avid workout fan or just someone who's recently started taking better care of his or her own body, toning your abs is probably one of your foremost goals. Luckily, by employing the tips listed above you can do so without resorting to crunches and their assorted risks. Keep in mind that, if you're ready to take things to the next level, there are dedicated gym operators like the Five Seasons Family Sports Club who are always open to welcoming new trainees and setting them on the path of self-improvement.