The Importance Of A Strong Core
The core has the obliques and abdominal muscles that we all try so hard to show. Whether you are going for rippling abs or just a flat stomach, strengthening your core is one way to get there faster.
A strong core will help you sit up straighter and perform exercises with better form. To neglect this muscle group would be silly and irresponsible to your body.
The crunch is something everyone has done before. However, they are often confused with the sit-up. The difference is that the crunch is working more on the abs and all you have to do is lift your head about 6 inches off the ground.
Once you have the main form down of lifting your head straight up, you can start twisting your torso to you left and right during the crunch. An example of this exercise would be: 15 normal crunches and then 20 side-to-side. That means that you do one to your left and then one to your right as the pattern and repeat it 10 times.
Planks are an isometric exercise that builds stability and tones muscles. The main plank is to lay flat on the ground. Lift up your body so that your elbows line up with your shoulders and your arms extend straight past your head. Finally, lift up your whole body so that the only points of contact on the ground are your two forearm/elbows and your toes.
Once you can do that for about a minute straight move into more difficult forms Roll up on your left are so you left side is facing the ground and the front of your body is perpendicular to the ground. Only your left forearm and the left side of your left shoe is touching the ground. Hold there for 30 seconds and then switch to doing the same on your right side.
Follow this planking video for good form and to see other types of planks you can use to build your abs.
Leg lifts work the muscles at the top of your six-pack. Lay flat on your back and put your hand straight along your side or under your body. While keeping your whole upper body flat on the ground lift your legs together up to a 45 degree angle.
There are two methods. You can either hold them at that angle for 30 seconds or you can continue to raise and lower 10 times in a row. Make sure you keep your movements nice and slow and make your muscles do the work, not gravity.
And not the kind you ride on! Bicycles are a modified crunch that is very effective at toning the abs and obliques. You are going to repeat the side-to-side motion covered earlier while moving your legs in the air like you are on a bicycle. Do this for 30 seconds straight and your abs will start to feel the burn.
There are many more ab exercises I could write about but these four should really help you get started towards building your core.