Yes, I know you’ve been doing your crunches and planks. However, if you’re like me, your routine could use a shake-up to ignite your motivation and challenge your muscles— our nine “get strong and sexy” exercises will do just that. The advanced movements targeting all abdominal muscles in a variety of positions will keep your body guessing and progressing.
To inspire your effort, the tight and tiny waisted IFBB Bikini Pro Janet Layug demonstrates the movements and shares some of her top tips. “Obtaining abs is more than just core work— it involves healthy eating and a combination of weight training and cardio,” explains Janet.
Are you ready to whittle your middle? Then grab a cold one (water, of course) and let’s GET WAISTED!
GET IT RIGHT
Standing abdominal work forces you to stabilize, which adds another dimension of challenge to your core training.
With your feet shoulder width and hands placed behind the head, twist your torso left while lifting the left knee as high as possible. Lower the leg and return torso to center. Complete 20 reps to the left and then 20 to the right.
Tip: Keep hips pointing forward while twisting the torso to better target the rectus abdominis and obliques.
RUSSIAN TWIST BICYCLES
Incorporating the cycling motion to the standard Russian Twist adds work to the lower abs.
Sitting on floor, lean back such that your torso is at a 45-degree angle and lift your feet off of the ground. Holding a medicine ball, extend your arms straight out from chest. Bring your left knee toward your chest and extend your right leg straight out while twisting your torso as far right as you can. Then, repeat motion to the other side. Continue alternating for 10 reps on each side.
STABILITY BALL WINDSHIELD WIPERS
This advanced exercise will challenge your rectus abdominis and obliques.
Lie on your back with your arms out to your sides and your palms facing down. Legs should be extended toward ceiling with the ball between your feet. Tighten abs and slowly lower legs together toward one side far as you can while keeping your shoulders pressed into the floor. Return to center then lower to the other side. Make sure to keep your abs tight and don’t allow your back to arch. Complete eight reps on each side.
SIDE PLANK TWIST
Once you’ve mastered the side plank, challenge your stability and strength with this progression.
Lie down on your right side with your elbow under your shoulder and hips stacked. Lift hips to align your body in a straight line from head to heels. Stretch your left arm straight up. Twisting your upper body toward the floor, bring your left arm down under your body. Hold the twist for one count, and then rotate back to start. Lift and twist again for eight to 10 reps. Repeat on the other side.
This plank progression adds work to the obliques and serratus.
Start in a plank position on your hands. Draw in one knee to the outside of the shoulder on the same side. Return to plank and repeat to the other side. Continue alternating for 12 reps each side.
Work the upper and lower abs with this combination move.
Lie on your back with hands behind your head and knees bent. Lift your shoulders and upper back toward your legs while simultaneously drawing your knees toward your chest. Avoid pulling on the back of your head and straining the neck. Complete 20 reps.
This tough Pilates-inspired exercise targets your upper and lower abs.
Lie on your back and press the backs of your arms and shoulders to the mat. Draw your belly button in towards your spine. Squeeze your legs together and raise them straight up in the air. Point your toes and circle legs beginning to the right. When you return to center, complete a circle in the other direction. Alternate, performing five circles in each direction.
V-SIT FLUTTER KICK
Performing the flutter from a seated (versus lying) position increases the lower abdominal engagement.
Sitting on floor, lean back such that your torso is at a 45-degree angle, lift your feet off the ground and extend your legs just short of straight. Keeping your abdominals contracted, make small, quick up and down scissor-like motions with your legs. Perform 20 kicks for each leg.
REVERSE WOOD CHOPS
This power move will amp up your heart rate while challenging your core.
To begin, squat down and rotate the torso to position the medicine ball next to your left hip. Keeping your arms straight, twist your torso to lift the ball up and across your body, ending in a standing position with the ball above the right shoulder. Lower back to start. Complete 10 reps on one side then proceed to the other.
KEEP UP WITH JANET
For more tips and motivation from Janet, follow her on Twitter (@janetlayug), Facebook (JanetLayug) and Instagram (@janetlayug). Janet can be contacted for appearances through www.fmg-fitnessmanagementgroup.com