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19
May

2015

5 Crunch Free Moves to Get Washboard Abs

Uyen Trinh

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Is it me or does it feel like the warm weather snuck up on us? Before we know it, it will be time to shop for that perfect bikini, and that means working hard to get your body into tip top shape! Did I just overwhelm you? Don’t worry - here are 5 awesome ab exercises for you to try that do not involve 100 crunches or situps a day. 

 

1.   The Plank
There are many benefits to planking. This exercise will help build your deep inner core muscles that lay the groundwork for the toned belly you desire! The plank also works almost every main muscle in your body; biceps, shoulders, and back to name a few. However, people can easily perform the plank incorrectly, so be sure to practice proper form! 

Get into pushup position on the floor.
Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. 
Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. 
Engage your core by sucking your belly button into your spine, and hold the position as long as you can. 

 

2.   Knee-to-Outside Elbow Plank
Start with a standard plank. 
Slowly bring your right knee toward the outside of your right elbow. 
Get as close as you can without losing your form. 
Be sure not to round your shoulders or let your hips drop! 
Repeat for the other side. 

 

3.   Flutter Kicks 
This is one of my favorite exercises. It is pretty simple yet BURNS! 
This exercise is sure to help tone those lower abs. 
Here is how to get started! 
    
Lie on your back with your legs together and extended out straight. 
Place your arms out to the sides of your body, palms facing down. 
Contract your abs and keep them tight throughout the exercise. 
Lift your legs off the ground about 6 in., and lift your head and shoulders slightly off the ground.
Now raise one leg up a few inches then bring it back to starting position. 
While it is on its way down, raise your other leg. (Hence the name “flutter kicks”) 

 

4.     Russian Twists 
Russian twists are not only great for your abdominal muscles, but it helps strengthen your lower back. As you become more adept at this exercise, you can try holding a kettlebell with both arms for added resistance. 

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. 
Lean back making sure to keep the spine straight and not rounded. 
Bring your arms straight out in front of your chest with one hand on top of the other. 
Twist your torso to your right side until your arms are parallel with the floor.
Hold for one second then move to the opposite side following the same technique. 

 

5.     Lying Leg Raises 
The lying leg raise exercise is another awesome exercise that will target your lower abs. Like the russian twists, once you master this exercise you can start adding weights by holding a dumbbell between your feet. 

Start by lying on the floor with your arms by your sides and palms facing down. 
Your head, legs and bottom should all be in contact with the floor. 
Engage those abdominal muscles and slowly lift your legs to a 90 degree angle. 
Keep your legs straight!
Pause for a second and slowly bring your legs back down.

 

It is very important to practice proper breathing techniques while doing any abdominal exercise. You want to exhale with the contraction of your ab muscles for the most power. Breathing out at the right time tightens your ab muscles and engages your core, so you get more out of your workout. If you are a beginner, one of 9Round’s great trainers can help modify any of our workouts including the five exercises above to meet your fitness level! Stop by your local 9Round, or go to www.9Round.com to find one near you and get beach body ready in no time!

 

When those abs are burning and you want to quit, just remember “NO PAIN, NO GAIN!” 

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Uyen resides in South Carolina. She is a stay at home mother to two wonderful children. She has been an active member of 9Round for two years and absolutely loves the workout. 9Round has helped her maintain a healthy pregnancy and is currently helping her get back into shape after her daughter was born in February. "My body has never gotten results so quickly from any other workout until I started going to 9Round. I always leave drenched in sweat and feeling like I gave it my all in there."