Though you might not be able to see them, we all have the muscles that make up a six-pack. If you're on a mission to define your abs, eating well and increasing your cardio fitness are crucial steps to unlocking a leaner you. But just as important is starting a routine that will strengthen your core muscles.
Try adding some spice to your usual set of crunches, oblique twists and back extensions with these four exercises that will maximize your muscle activation even more than traditional, isolated exercises because they mimic the way we use our core muscles throughout the day. Be brave and try some integrated core exercises for three-dimensional results!
Hover With Hand Reach
Start in a forearm plank with shoulders above your elbows, forearms flat on the floor and feet wider than the hips.
Slowly pick up one hand and, hovering just above the ground, move it forward across the ground until your arm is fully extended (this should take two seconds). Then, move it back to the starting position (another two seconds).
Brace your abs so your trunk doesn’t move as you do this. Alternate sides for one minute.
Crossover Mountain Climber
Start in a plank position with your shoulders, elbows and wrists aligned, and your feet hip distance apart.
Flex your right knee to the opposite elbow, twisting your lower body while keeping your shoulders square to the floor. Bring the leg across for two seconds and then return to the starting position for two seconds.
Alternate each side for one minute.
Come into a side plank with your shoulders above the supporting elbow, forearm flat on the floor and feet stacked on top of each other.
Lift the bottom hip up and away from the floor, keeping the hips and shoulders stacked. Hold the non-supporting hand above the shoulder for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Horse Stance Pointer
With a resistance band looped around your right foot and right hand, start on all fours with both hands and knees on the floor. As you lift your right foot, raise your left (opposite) arm so they're both level with your shoulders.
Lift for two seconds and then lower for two. Complete 15 reps in one minute, then switch the band to the other side and repeat.
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