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Health and Fitness News

Six Pack, Here We Come

Get the abs you want with these five effective exercises

You see pictures of models showing off their washboard abs and you wonder what they did to get that cut. Were they born like that or did they do thousands of crunches? Probably neither. Because while crunches are often the go-to exercise to strengthen your core and abdominal muscles, there are plenty of other effective exercises to chisel and sculpt.

It’ll take hard work and dedication, but if you start eating right, getting enough cardio exercise, and incorporating the right exercises into your daily workout routine, you’ll feel more confident baring a little skin next summer. What are these exercises?

Hanging Leg or Knee Raises

The six-pack muscles you can see are mainly your lower and upper rectus abdominis muscles. An effective exercise to work the lower rectus abdominis muscles is the hanging knee raise. When performed at the gym, hold a chin-up bar with an over-hand grip or use an arm harness on the chin-up bar and let your body hang down. Keeping your legs together, curl your knees up to your chest. Hold them there for a few seconds, keep your ab muscles tight, and lower your feet back down. Repeat. For a variation, instead of bending your knees to your chest, keep your legs straight and raise them out in front of you so your body makes a 90-degree angle.

Kneeling Cable Crunches

Work both your upper and lower rectus abdominis muscles with the cable crunch exercise. Using a cable weight set at the gym, attach a short rope to the pulley and hold each end of the rope. Get on your knees and hold the rope above your head. Now, pull the rope, tighten your abs, and curl your upper body to bring your elbows towards your knees. To target your obliques, curl with a twist. Bring your left elbow down toward your right knee and your right elbow toward your left knee.

V-Ups

Also known as pike crunches or jack-knives, v-ups are another exercise to build sculpted abs. Lie on your back on the floor and place your arms by your sides, palms down. At the same time, raise your legs and upper body off the floor to a 45-degree angle while reaching your hands forward in an effort to touch your toes. Your body should make a V-shape and your back should remain straight. Lower back to the floor and repeat.

Planks

Target multiple core muscles with planks. The transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, and obliques are all used to stabilize your body when doing a plank exercise. Planks are simple and adaptable to any fitness level. Instead of seeing how many planks you can do, work towards doing them for longer lengths of time. If you’re able to hold a plank for a minute, you’re doing well.

To do a standard plank, lie face down on the floor. Place your hands under your shoulders and raise your body on your hands and toes. Your entire body should be kept in a straight line. Variations of planks include side planks, raising an arm or leg, or placing your forearms on an exercise ball.

Exercise Ball Roll

Another exercise that works your upper and lower six-pack muscles is an exercise ball roll. Lie face down on top of the ball and roll yourself forward so your hands are on the ground supporting your upper body and your feet remain on the ball. With your arms straight and your abs engaged, move your knees toward your chest to roll the ball toward your head as far as you can. Hold for a second then roll the ball back by straightening your legs. Repeat.
Then take a peek at yourself in the mirror. Looking good, eh?