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One can argue that abs are the hardest muscle to develop. Developing big arms can be done by lifting heavier weights. Strong legs and glutes can be achieved through a combination of squats and leg-focused exercises. A muscled back, while difficult to monitor, is the result of weight-related, back-centric moves.
However, an effective ab workout relies heavily on a whole slew of factors. Because abs are blanketed by cushioning on your stomach, back, and oblique, in order to achieve washboard abs, you’d need to eat a proper diet. Aside from that, you’d need to work on strengthening your core. Your core consists of the hips, shoulders, neck, lower back, and most importantly, your belly.
In order to obtain that beach-ready abs, sticking to the standard sit-up isn’t enough. It takes core strengthening for a tight and toned tummy. It may seem like a lot of work—and it is—but we’ve got your back. Check out our rundown of the 14 effective core exercises that will enable you to achieve ab goals.
1. The Plank
The one exercise that is essential to a strong core is the plank because it works your whole body with a focus on your abs. In order to do a plank, use a mat, do the push-up position but be on your elbows and forearms, and then squeeze and tighten for as long as you can.
2. Side Plank
Just like the regular plank, the side plank works your whole body but is focused on your oblique. To target your left oblique, lie on your left side with your legs extended and stacked from hip to feet. The left elbow should be directly under the shoulder. Then, lift your hips and knees from the mat, without sagging or bending the torso, and hold that position for 60 seconds. Do this on your right side, as well.
Deadlifts are a full-body exercise that works the oblique and central abdominals because the core balances the body during each rep. Hold the barbell with both hands in a symmetrical grip, keep your chest up and tight, then lower the barbell slowly just below your knees. Repeat.
4. Weighted Sit-up
Regular sit-ups work on the central ab muscles, and in order to make it more effective, you can add weights. Use a loose weight and hold it to the center of your abs, then crunch up and squeeze.
While a squat is known to work your legs, it actually is a formidable core workout. With a weight (preferably a dumbbell held by two hands front and center), squat as low as you can with your back straight and lower back arched.
6. Boat Pose
Boat pose is a standard yoga pose that works the abs. On a mat, sit with your knees bent, lean back slightly, and lift your feet off the floor above the knees. Extend your arms straight and hold for 30 seconds before lowering your legs down and repeating the move.
7. Ab Rollout
The edge ab rollout exercises have over others is that it engages your entire ab region, providing tension throughout the move. Use either an ab wheel or barbell, kneel on the ground, and lean forward as you roll the wheel or barbell forward. Don’t buckle under the roll, but keep it steady and brace your abs. Repeat the move.
8. Leg Raise
Lie on a mat and keep your legs straight. Raise your legs up while keeping them straight, then slowly lower down while tightening your core. Repeat.
9. Hanging Leg or Knee Raise
Hanging from a pull-up bar with your legs straight, lift your legs in a 90-degree angle. If it’s difficult to do, raise your knee to your chest and hold, then repeat.
10 Flutter Kick
On your back with your legs extended straight, lift your heels around 6 inches off the floor and flutter your feet up in a down in a scissor motion. Another term for this move is the scissor kick.
11. Mountain Climbers
In a push-up position, alternately drive each knee to your chest while keeping your torso tight and steady. Mountain climbers are both a cardio and lower ab workout.
12. Reverse Crunch
On the ground in the crunch position, with your hands underneath your head, lift your legs up, with your knees bent in a 90-degree angle. Bring your knees to your chest, without lifting your shoulder blades and head off the ground.
13. Bicycle Crunch
On the ground with your lower back flat, place your hands lightly behind your head. Lift your right knee and bring it to your chest, and connect your right elbow to your left knee. Alternate between each side. Another way to do it is to ride an indoor bike with your abs braced and tightened. Maintain a good posture to focus on your cardio and abs.
Pro tip: you can do crunches and side crunches while riding for more burn.
14. Russian Twist
Holding a medicine ball with both hands, sit on the floor, and extend your arms in front of you. Twist to one side of your body and squeeze, then twist to the other side.
These 14 moves, combined with a healthy low-carb diet, should give you a head start to getting great abs. It is also essential to own a fresh fruit juicer so you can easily prepare nutritious fruit juices every day. By the end of the year, you will have an improved version of you, achieve a flat and tight tummy with these ab-worthy workouts.