If you think that doing countless crunches will get you the six pack abs, listen pal, you are banging your head against the wall. Although, the crunches are the most common and popular abs exercise, it won’t help you uncover abs singlehandedly. The ideal abs workout should have variety of exercises that targets all the regions of your core—upper and lower abs, obliques, transverse abdominis, and lower back muscles. And, your favorite crunches only hit upper and middle abs.
We, by no means want to say that crunches are completely useless. Yes, they are an important exercise for the abs development. But, to completely rely on it for complete abs development is foolhardy. So, here are eight abs exercises that will help you develop enviable midsection.
Dumbbell Pushup Row
This exercise routine combines two challenging exercises to deliver great fat torching benefits. And, the amount of effort you will have to put in holding your torso in position, would give your obliques a great workout. This great combination will help strengthen muscle, burn fat, and shred your physique. Plus, it will hit give you a very challenging cardio.
Place a pair of dumbbells on the floor, slightly wider than the shoulder width. Now, get in a pushup position and grab the dumbbell handles. Now, do a traditional pushup, lower your body to the ground until your chest is just inches off the ground and explode back into the starting position. Once you have reached the starting position, pull the dumbbell in your right hand up to the side of the chest. Hold the contraction for the second and slowly lower the dumbbell to the ground. Now, repeat the routine with the left dumbbell.
There are certain things you need to keep in mind, while doing this exercise. First, your body should be straight like a rod, the midsection shouldn’t sag down, and neither should your hips stick up in the air. Also, when you pull dumbbell by your side, your torso shouldn’t rotate.
Dumbbell Curl to Squat to Press
This is another compound exercise that works multiple muscles at the same time. Not only such exercises revs up the metabolism and heart rate, but also helps you in getting more in less time. Such combinations are particularly well suited for modern hectic lifestyle, when you have to make every minute of your day count.
Hold a pair of dumbbell and let them hang at arm’s length by your sides with palms facing outwards. Now, keeping your upper arms stationary, curl the dumbbells upwards. Remember that your elbows should remain by your side. As soon as you have curled weight as near to shoulder as possible, push your hips back and lower your body into a squat, until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Now, explode back to the standing position and at the same time, press weight over your head. This is one repetition.
If you want, you can change the order of the exercises in the routine. You can start with a squat, come back to the initial position, do a curl and without lowering the weight, execute a shoulder press.
Cross Over Lunges
Although this predominantly works your leg muscles, but the amount of effort needed to stabilize your body during the exercise thoroughly works your core. Also, being a challenging exercise, it is excellent for your cardiovascular health as well.
Take a pair of dumbbell and hold them by your side at about arm’s length. The palms should be turned inwards, facing each other. Now, take a step forward and to the side (see the video for better understanding). Your leading foot should be just in front of your back foot. Lower your body, until the front is bent at 90 degree. Pause at the bottom of the movement for a second and rise up. Take a step backwards and return to the starting position. Repeat the movement for the other leg.
Dumbbell Squat Thrust
This is another fat torching combination which combines two of the most challenging exercises. The combination of squat and burpees used in this routine will not only help in shedding fat faster, but will also build stamina and explosive lower body strength.
Stand with your feet around shoulder width apart, arms by your side holding a pair of dumbbells. You can opt to do this routine without weights as well. Push your hips back, bend your knees and go down as low as you can into a squat. Lower the dumbbells to the floor and kick your legs back to assume the pushup position. Stand up and jump.
Overhead Split Squat
This modification of the classic squat will build muscles and burn calories at the same time. Though, the obvious muscle targeted is the legs (here), it will also work your core. Throughout the movement, you have to brace your abs which you will notice is pretty taxing for them.
Hold a pair of dumbbells over your shoulders. If you have a better fitness level, than you can opt to do this exercise with a barbell. Squeeze your abs, you have to maintain it throughout the exercise. Now, take a staggered stance with left foot in front of your right foot. While keeping your torso straight, push your hips back, bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat. Pause at the bottom of the movement for a second and explode back to the starting position.
To make this exercise even more challenging and to get a testosterone boost, you can opt to add an overhead press to the exercise routine. As you rise out of the squat position, push the weight overhead.
Planking Frog Tucks
This is an innovative and unique ab specific exercise that will work your lower abs, obliques and lower back. Though, on the surface, it seems pretty easy to have any great effect on your midsection, but believe me, doing it with right form is as challenging as any other decent abs exercise.
Take a pushup position with your body absolutely straight from your head to your heels. Now, bring your right foot forward and place it next to your right hand or as close as you can. You have to prevent your hips from sagging or rising. Hold the position for a second and return your foot to the original position. Repeat with your left leg. This is one repetition.
The crossover dumbbell step-up is a dynamic exercise that works your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, and engages your core. The movement will improve the hip mobility and flexibility, and will give you a sweat drenching challenge.
Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length by your sides. Stand with your left side, placed onto an aerobic step that’s at knee height. This is your starting position. Place the right foot onto the aerobic step by crossing it in front of your other leg. Press through your right heel and raise your body onto the step until both legs are straight. Raise your right leg further by folding at right angle from the knee. This will engage your core. Pause for a moment and lower your body back to the starting position. Perform the required number of reps with your right leg and then switch side.
Barbell Hip Raise
The chances are that you might never have done this exercise. Even, you won’t have seen anyone doing this exercise in your local gym. But, the experts believe that this simple exercise can build muscle, boost strength, and improve athletic performance.
Sit on the floor with your upper back against the stable bench. Your knees should be bent and feel should be planted flat on the floor. Now, place a padded barbell across your hips and grab the barbell with an overhand grip, about shoulder-width apart. Lean back against the bench so that your shoulder blades are near the top of it. Start the exercise by pushing through your feet, extending your hips vertically through the bar. During this movement, your entire weight should be supported by your shoulder blades and your feet. Remember your core should be engaged and your glutes have to be squeezed during the exercise. Go as far up as possible and slowly reverse the motion to return to the start position.