The Most Powerful Exercises for Getting a Chiseled Set of Abs Fast
Abs: We all have them, and some people are fortunate enough to have abs worthy of showing off. Some of us have abs that are strong, but hidden beneath a layer of belly fat. How can you bring your abs to the fore?
In reality, great abs have very little to do with luck. Genetics do play a part, but most people can sculpt their abs by eating right and doing ab-shaping exercises.
So which exercises are best for weight loss and build abs? Men's Health magazine did a feature on the most effective exercises for toning your abs. Here are some of their favorites:
This exercise looks deceptively easy but it will put your ab muscles to work!
To start, lie on your back with your hands palms-down at your sides. Raise your legs straight up with the soles of your feet pointing at the ceiling. Bend your knees slightly.
Now contract your lower abs to raise your hips and lower back off of the ground. While you do this, twist your hips to the right. You should feel tension in your lower abs and obliques.
Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat with your left side. Do 10 reps twisting right, and 10 reps twisting left.
The One-Sided Dumbbell Crunch
This is an effective exercise for chiseling your upper abs and obliques.
Lie on your back with your knees bent, as in the starting position for a sit-up. Hold a dumbbell in both hands close to your right shoulder.
Now contract your abs to pull your torso forward. As you come up, twist your waist to the left. Relax into your starting position, then curl up and twist to the right with the dumbbell near your left shoulder.
Keep alternating sides for a total of 50 curl-ups.
The Cable Kneel
You can do this exercise with a cable machine or an anchored resistance band.
Start out in a kneeling position facing the cable or band. Hold the handle of the band or cable just behind your head. The band should be stretched taut.
Now crunch forward, curling your torso toward your pelvis. Return to starting position, and then curl forward to the right. Return to starting position and then curl forward to the left. This counts as one kneeling crunch.
Do 24 kneeling crunches, pausing to rest as needed.
The Side-Bend Crunch
Another good exercise for both upper abs and obliques!
Start by lying on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Place your hands behind your head and curl up as if you were doing a regular crunch.
As your shoulders come off the floor, bend your waist to the right as if you were trying to touch your elbow to your hip. Then straighten your torso and repeat on the left side. Return to starting position.
Do 25 side-bend crunches on each side.
Don't Skip the Cardio
No amount of exercises will give you visible abs if you have a high body fat percentage. To burn away the fat that's hiding your abs, you'll need to add cardio exercise to your routine.
Start slow with 30 minutes of cardio three times a week, and gradually work your way up to an hour of cardio 5 times a week. Continue to do your ab exercises while the fat melts away, and one day your abs will make an appearance!