Strengthening your core muscles and tightening your abs isn’t all about doing an endless number of painful crunches. Crunches are only one of many core exercises that you can do to get better abs.
A personal trainer can show you many other exercises that you can do to improve your overall fitness and strengthen your core. A good exercise routine is one that easily fits into your busy schedule and becomes part of your daily routine.
Knowing how to do hours of exercises at the gym is useless if you don’t have the time to make it to the gym. These ideas will help you make small changes that have a big impact. You can get better looking abs in just by taking a few minutes out of your day and making a few small changes to your daily routine.
1. Get an early start to exercising.
Even if you don’t have the time to go to the gym in the morning, you can probably still make time for a five minute workout. Dancers are particularly known for a lean, toned body and strong abdominal muscles. They get a strong core by doing the following exercise. Stand to the side of a chair and place your left hand on the back of the chair.
Stand with your legs together, your heals touching, and your toes pointed outward. Imagine the shape of a triangle in the space between your feet. Now pick your right arm up, grabbing toward the ceiling. Next, bend forward from the waist, and reach to the floor with your right hand.
Tighten your core and hold this position for about 10 seconds. Then release your breath and slowly return your body to the beginning of the position. Start out doing about 5 reps of this exercise and work your way up to more. One complete repetition is only about 20 seconds, so this is a quick core workout to start your day.
2. Do breathing exercises in the car.
There is nothing worse than wasting precious time stuck in traffic. Make use of this time by doing breathing exercises isometric ab contractions. Tighten and pull in your abs, then hold your breath for a few seconds before releasing. Do this for at least 5 minutes in order to see results.
3. Take a break to stretch at work.
People who work at a desk all day have a harder time staying fit, but you can still do small exercises. Try doing seated rotations. Hold a weighted object in both hands, sit up straight with your hips and knees forward. Move the object slowly back and forth across your body, and feel your oblique muscles getting a workout. If you want to increase the intensity, you can squeeze the weight as you rotate from side to side.
4. Exercise on your lunch break.
Taking a few minutes during your lunch to stretch and do some side bends is a great way to release the tension built up during the day. To do this exercise, stand with your arms straight above your head with your palms held together. Stretch your body up to lengthen the core muscles, then lean your body to the right.
Notice how the abdominal muscles on the left side of the body stretch as you do this. Then return your body to the original position and lean in the opposite direction to stretch the other side. This stretch should be done slowly over the course of a minute. Your coworkers might wonder what you are doing but, but the release of tension in your body is well worth it.
5. Do leg lifts while you wait.
If you get stuck waiting in a long line, you can always use the time to do this quick exercise. Stand straight and tall with your feet slightly apart. Then slowly lift one of your legs anywhere from three to six inches into the air as you balance on the other leg. Use your core muscles to hold your body still and hold this position for 10 seconds or more. Then place your foot back on the ground and repeat the exercise with the other leg. Do several repetitions, alternating legs each time.
6. Work out on your afternoon break.
Get out from behind your desk and stand up. Place your hands flat on the desk straight beneath your shoulders. While keeping your back straight, step one foot back at a time until your body is a straight line and you look like you are ready to do a push up. Then slowly walk your feet back in. Repeat this exercise over the course of a minute.
7. Don’t waste away in front of the TV or computer after work.
Add in some exercise time while you relax after work by replacing your couch or chair with a stability ball. Sitting on the ball makes you have to actively use your core muscles to keep your balance. You can also do an exercise by laying on the ball with it underneath your lower back.
Next you should put your arms across your chest or behind your head. Then tighten the core muscles then lift your core off of the ball. Tighten the core muscles by bringing your bottom rib cage closer to your hips, then loosen the muscles by returning your body to the ball. The instability of the ball makes for a better abdominal workout compared to doing basic crunches on the floor.
8. Throw in one last exercise before bed.
Lay on your back on the floor with your legs straight. Raise your right leg and your left arm toward the ceiling and cross your leg so you can touch your toes with your fingertips. Return back to the original position and repeat with the other side. Do this slowly with controlled movements, and repeat for 5 minutes.
Do all these little exercises in just a few minutes at a time throughout your day and you will have managed to fit in a full 30 minutes of core workouts. It won’t take long to see the results if you eat right and continue to stick with it. Ditch the monotony of hours of crunches and follow these 8 ideas for better abs.