Of course, when we think about sit-ups or crunches we immediately think of the need for rock hard abs. But here are 3 exercises other than sit ups that will give you the mid-section you have been craving.
Remember push-ups? A Plank is a push up without pushing up. Instead, your elbows will be at a 90-degree angle and your weight will be resting on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Planks works your abdominal muscles, (using your stabilizers) and is one of the best exercises to develop a strong core. Keep your body as rigid as possible, suspended above the floor, with your hips aligned with your back. Squeezing your abdominal muscles, hold that position for 30 seconds at a time. You can hold out and try to get to 1 or 2 minutes, once you have practiced more. The longer you can hold your plank, the better your abs will look and feel. Continue until you can reach a zen-like time of 5 continuous hours of plank. Just kidding, but if you are able to do that, then perhaps you wouldn’t need to read this section.
There is a magical exercise called the squat. The squat is the basis for a host of amazing exercise activities such as the burpee, a stationary jump, and part of the Olympic lifting program. The squat itself utilizes some of the biggest muscle systems in your body, the quadriceps, the glutes and, the calves. It also strengthens the hamstrings, which is a common agitator of lower back problems.
A good squat starts standing up, your feet shoulder length apart, faced a little outwards or inwards, whichever you prefer. Bend your knees and position your hips as if you are about to sit down. As you lower your glutes, keep your back straight and keep your head up, looking forward. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, making sure your knees don’t cross over your toes. When you squat down keeping your abs tight, you will feel it working your abdominal muscles. Yes, squats do a great job at carving out not only a strong back and legs, but a solid core, as well.
The mountain climber is a type of exercise that occurs when you are at the highest point in the push-up position, that is, when you cannot push up any farther. Your arms should be extended, with your elbows bent just slightly outward, so as to prevent hyperextension. Shift your weight to your hands rather than your feet. Drive one knee upward toward your chest while squeezing your core. When your first leg returns to your starting position, drive the opposite knee to your chest. Continue this at a reasonable but brisk pace or until your abdominals are sore. Remember to keep your hips from bouncing up and down. A good starting time for these would be 45 seconds to 1 minute, repeating 3 to 4 times. You will definitely be sore the next day.
While these are just a few of the many exercises you can do, keep in mind that each body is different. Use your knowledge of how your body works and adjust accordingly. Those with certain injuries will have to make some modifications. You can always seek the help of a qualified fitness trainer, as well.