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The Six Quickest Ways to Get Your Core Strong and Your Abs Hard as a Rock

Jun 14, 2008
One of the most frustrating things is to attempt pulling on a pair of jeans and finding that they slide over your hips and butt fine, but fastening them over bulging abdominals is almost impossible. You lie on the bed, tuck your tummy flat and fasten them. So far so good, but that isn't the end of it, you stand up and...OMG, the bulge hangs over the top of your pants.
You pull your top down and hope for the best, but you know it is there and you can hardly breathe!

Abdominals are the most difficult muscle groups to train, but they are also very important. The stronger the abdominals the more stable the back and overall physique. Strong abdominals contribute to "core strength"; this is the ability of the abs and back to correctly support your spine. When core muscles are weak an imbalance is created, you have to take care of this. One way is exercise, I know it is a dirty word, but it's the only way to help with or prevent back pain and other problems. Here are 6 of the quickest ways to strengthen your abdominals/Core.

Improve posture - Bad posture is a problem. To improve posture, while in the standing position, line up your ears above your shoulders, your shoulders over the hips, hips over the knees and finally knees above ankles. The shoulders remain open as though a shirt on a hanger. Bring the navel in towards the spine while evenly distributing weight over the feet. The result makes you appear leaner, quite simply standing up straight. When shoulders are back and the chest is up, the abs naturally pull inwards. Good posture improves energy levels and lung capacity.

Think whole-body exercise - The body should not be trained in isolation, it is a misconception that strong abs means doing thousands of crunches. Abs have to be seen as a 360 degree core.

Plank - Come up into the plank position from hands and knees, line the wrists up under shoulders, keep the back straight, abs and glutes taught. Breathe out for 10 seconds while pulling the navel into the spine.
Leg lowers - Lie back down, curl chest over ribs with hands behind the head, keep knees over hips and ankles and knees level, knees bent at 90 degrees. Lower knees to the floor and lift back up.

Seated Rotation - Sitting with bent knees and legs together, place the arms in front, tuck in the tail bone, roll back slightly and rotate the spine right and left.

Bicycle exercise - lie on the floor face up, hands behind the head. Bring knees in towards the chest and lift shoulder blades off the ground. Bend alternately the left leg to 45 degrees and turn the upper body right, bringing left elbow into right knee, switch sides, alternate using a pedaling motion.

Ball crunch - face up, ball resting under the mid/lower back, cross arms over the chest. Contract the abs, lifting your body off the ball; pull the bottom of the ribcage down to the hips.
Vertical leg crunch - Lying face up on the floor stretch the legs straight up with crossed knees. Contract abs, lift the shoulder blades off the floor and pull the navel into the spine.

Reverse Crunch - lie on the floor placing hands behind head. Bring knees into chest at 90 degrees, feet crossed. Pull in abs and curl hips off the floor while reaching upwards with legs.

Examine Diet and Digestion - You may have great abdominal strength and posture but still have abdominal fat, to get a flat stomach you need to lose fat by diet, i.e. eat less while moving more. It is unfortunate that fat does accumulate in the abdominal area.

Props are optional - It is not necessary to have fancy props to have flat abdominals, it is great to have gear but gimmicks and gym memberships are superfluous. You hardly need much space and you don't need fancy clothes.

Take things slow - There is no such thing as a "quick fix", slow progression is the only way to achieve a flat stomach and meet goals.

Set Realistic Goals - Genes play a role in the determination of body shape, but this doesn't mean you are unable to improve your appearance, set realistic expectations and rather do something than nothing.

Having fit and tone abdominal muscles will not only build your core strength it will also build you strong sex abs, stronger back and best of all you won't have to worry about fitting into your jeans.
About the Author
Steve Hochman is the founder and CEO of Next Level Fitness. O.C.'s fastest way for you to get fit.
Personal Trainer Orange County Ca, Irvine Personal Training, Weight Loss
Personal Trainer Orange County Ca, Irvine Personal Training, weight Loss
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