Nothing says youthful and attractive like a flat stomach with a sculpted, lean look. Whether you want a six pack or simply want your jeans to look fabulous, you won’t get there by simply doing crunches.
Crunches, just like all exercises you do on your back work the muscles that are on the midsection of your stomach. If you want to work those deeper muscles that make you have a small narrow waist, you need to do exercises from an upright position.
Crunches also can aggravate back problems and create muscle strain, which is why some people avoid them altogether.
Getting a good core workout means you have to exercise all the muscles in your lower back, abs, pelvis and hips. Not only doing these exercises help you look better, they’re functional workouts. Meaning they improve your ability to do everyday tasks while reducing the risk of injury.
You’ll be able to lug several bags in from the grocery or even run to catch the dog before he escapes entirely.
When doing these, make sure you do at least three sets of each, resting a half a minute between sets. As you become fitter, work toward completing four rounds of each exercise. Do them three times a week, with at least a day between workouts.
① Stabilizing Your Core
- Start in standing position with the feet apart to align with the hips.
- Hold the dumbbell with both hands directly in front of your chest with your arms straight.
- Slowly move your arms to the right as far as you can. You’ll move the trunk of your body very slightly.
- Then pause and move the dumbbell to the right as far as you can. Do these ten times to complete a set.
② Side Bends with Weights
- This one sounds easy, but it can get wearing. You’ll need two dumbbells, one for each hand.
- Stand with your arms straight at your side and feet comfortably planted. You’re going to slide your right dumbbells down without turning your upper body to do it.
- Get as close to your right knee as you can, pause for a few seconds and slowly go back to your original position.
- At that point, you’ll do the same thing on the left side. The two movements are one repetition. You’ll need to do ten to complete a set.
③ Reverse Weight Chop with Dumbbells
- You’ll start with bended knee, holding the dumbbell with both hands with your arms straight next to the outside of your right thigh.
- You’ll need to rotate your body a bit to do this. In one motion, you’ll straighten your legs as you swing the dumbbell up, keeping your arms straight, until it’s directly above your left shoulder.
- As with all exercises, you’ll then do it on the other side by lowering your arms and bending your knees, twisting until the dumbbell is level with the outside of your thigh and then raising up until it’s over the opposite shoulder.
- That creates a rep. Do it ten times, then start on the opposite side, when you’ve completed ten, you’ve done a rep.
④ Bow Extension
- You’ll be stretching and bending with this one. Start with the dumbbell held in both hands directly above the left shoulder and with your right foot pointed out to the side, with the heel slightly off the ground, stretching your body.
- In one movement, bring the right foot up as you bend the knee up toward the chest, lifting it off the ground and lower your elbows down, lowering the weight toward your knee.
- Go back up to your original position for one rep. Do ten, and then repeat it on the other side for one set.