Like most people, I’ve always been determined to get a defined, flat stomach, a physique that shows off the V line and toned abs. But after some time of doing 500 crunches during every workout, yes 500 lol! I learned that determination only gets you so far when the approach is incorrect. Even an entire hour of crunches won’t match the body benefits you would receive from 10 minutes of functional Ab exercises or dynamic plank workouts.
Strengthening your entire core is not only crucial for sculpting a flat stomach, but these muscles also provide support for the entire body in everyday movements; reduces back pain and improves posture. The plank is one of the best exercises for a flat, toned stomach because it works all the muscles in your core, including the rectus abdominus (the famous “six-pack” muscles), transverse abdominus, internal and external obliques, hips, and back.
Here are 5 basic variations to help you move away from the standard sit ups and target improved core muscles, from the comfort of your home;
1. Leg Circles – Start by laying with your back on the ground, with your legs hovering position. Then lift them straight up in the air. Slowly bring them round in a wide circle. This is aimed at challenging your core strength and pelvic stability while strengthening the quads and hamstrings at the same time, building your healthier hip joints.
2. Plank – Start to get into a pushup position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Hold this position for 30 second while breathing deeply.
3. V-Hold – Press your back flat against the ground. Lift your legs up and have them above the ground. Hold that position there and you will start to really feel it on your lower abs. The higher you raise your legs the easier it will become.
4. Leg Hold Ups – Start off in the same position as the last exercise – except this time slowly lift your legs up and back down to the hovered position
5. Flutter Kicks – Start in same position, with your legs raised off the ground do small flutter kicks crossing your feet. This is aimed at targeting your abdominal muscles, working the lower abs in particular. This is also a superb workout for your hip flexors when performed to a high quantity of repetitions.