BUILDING SIX PACKS
Use these exercises to strengthen and bulk up your abdominals. You can’t show off muscles that aren’t big enough to see.
Lie on the floor using a mat. Put your arms out in front of your chest or you can touch your temples with your hands, however you can balance your movements best. Don’t do crunches with your fingers locked behind your head and pulling on your neck.
Bend your knees and raise your upper body towards your knees but not with your back muscles, use your abdominal muscles – this is the most important part. Lift upwards until your shoulder blades leave the ground. There’s no need to raise your entire back off the floor, you could end up straining it.
Exhale as you lift from the floor. When you’ve got as far as you can, hold for a second then exhale any air that’s left in your lungs and lower back down slowly, inhaling as you go. Don’t let your head touch the floor, just your shoulders. Repeat.
Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the ground, wedged under something heavy like a couch. With your hands crossed over your chest sit all the way up with your back straight then return to the first position. If this becomes too easy –i.e. it doesn’t give you any soreness the next day- try it while holding a weight against your chest.
Lie on the floor with your legs straight out and hands at your sides. Lift your legs straight up without bending them, then lower your legs and repeat without letting your legs touch the floor. This helps to strengthen the muscles in the lower abdomen. Take it easy at first with these or you could strain your back.
JACK KNIFE SIT UPS
Laying down flat on the floor place your hands on the ground to your sides for balance; you can pick them up as you get used to the movement. Raise your knees and torso at the same time so your knees and face meet in line with your pelvis. Touch your knees with your nose. Your legs will fold and bring your feet towards your hips naturally, like a jack knife. Lie down again slowly putting your hands and feet back on the mat and repeat.
Put your body into the push-up position but with your elbows on the floor, with the rest of you’re raised off the ground. This is the static hold position, or plank. It trains all your core muscles to hold the body in place correctly. Hold for 45 seconds if you are a beginner.
To perform the side static hold, roll onto one side of your body and lift into the same position as before, but this time only one arm will be on the ground with the other arm pointed straight up the air with your non-weight bearing leg resting on your other leg. Hold for as long as you can.
Holding a weight close to your chest twist your upper body from side to side. (Like you were trying to look over your shoulder without moving your neck) This exercise is for the obliques, which while not directly involved in creating a six-pack, is important to include so that your body doesn’t get imbalanced and prone to injury.
In a Nutshell….
Most exercises give better results if you know how to breathe properly while you’re doing them. A general rule is to exhale on the muscle contraction and inhale as you relax the muscle.