Everybody wants that elusive washboard ab look,  especially with spring and summer right around the corner.

Wouldn’t it be nice wear those belly tops again or don your trunks without having to hide behind the oversized shirt. If that’s the case then it’s time to get busy. To get those sixes popping you have to put the time in. It not only requires consistent work but doing the correct exercises to get them defined.

The following article from Men’s Journal illustrates some main movements that targets the abs. Do them consistently. It doesn’t happen over night as the infomercial implies. But with regular practice you will begin to see and feel the effects.

The Right Way To Train Your Core

Men’s Journal

The Right Way To Train Your Core

(Photo: Getty Images)

There’s a lot of misinformation out there on how to best train your abs. Take a look at any late-night infomercials for a prime example; you’ll see no shortage of ab machines that guarantee ripped, 12-pack results — and most often with nonfunctional movements demonstrated by models who have clearly been doing more than crunching or twisting on a machine.

The smartest way to get a balanced, strong, stable core is simple: you need to train the muscles to resist forces when you’re extending your arms or twisting, work the muscles in their full range of motion, and rely on functional, compound exercises.

Incorporate these four tips into your training, and you’ve got it.


(Photo: Getty Images)

Strengthen with Arms Overhead

If your abdominals are strong and functioning properly, you should be able to resist a force against them when your arms are raised overhead — say, during an exercise like an ab-wheel rollout — and maintain a straight spine.

Practice the rollout to gain better core stability: Begin kneeling, your hands on either side of the wheel, and start with a slightly rounded spine (think of using “bad” posture here). Push hips toward the floor as arms begin to roll forward with the wheel.  If you feel it a lot of tension in the low back as you roll out, shorten your range of motion and stop shy of full extension. 


(Photo: Getty Images)

Strengthen While You Rotate

Doing a move that requires your core muscles to resist a force as you rotate your spine will help you get stronger, faster. What that gives you: abs and obliques that can help yield a more powerful golf swing, slap shot, or tennis serve.

Related: 10 Myths About Six-Pack Abs

Do Split Stance Cable Lifts to hone your “anti-rotation” strength. Use a low-pulley bar attachment, and kneel, keeping the outside leg forward. Hold either end of the bar and pull it across your body, then using the bottom hand, push the bar directly forward. You’ll feel this in the lower abs and obliques when done correctly, and it does require much weight to be effective. Watch it here.


(Photo: Getty Images)

Use Full Range of Motion

One problem with a sit-up is that, when you’re lying down, your hips and pelvis are fixed into position; do sit-ups often enough, and you create a pattern of dysfunction — you start using your hip flexors more than your abs, and you put unwanted stress on your spine.

A better solution that encourages more range of motion? The Hanging Leg Raise. Hang from a pull-up bar and slowly lift your knees toward your chest. (Going too fast will make you engage your hip flexors, and defeats the purpose). Don’t cut your range halfway, either. Round the spine — it’s ok to do here — and try to get the bottom of your sneakers to face the wall in front of you, with your knees touching your chest.


(Photo: Getty Images)

Do Old-School Movements

One of the most effective ways to work your core —  if not the most effective — is with traditional, multi-muscle group exercises. We’re talking squats, deadlifts, overhead presses and pull ups. Maintaining a rigid spine as you bend to lift a bar, squat under its load, push it over your head, or pull yourself over it takes an enormous amount of core strength. Train these movements often with perfect form (gradually adding weight to keep your muscles challenged), and you’ll have powerful, functional abs that look good too.

By Lee Boyce

You can view the original post here.

P.S.  Here’s a trick used by body builders. Exhale all the air out of your lungs, then suck your gut in and hold for as long as you can. Keep your spine straight or in a J shape . . . . with your butt sticking out. Do this several times per day. Your posture will improve and your abs will get tighter.

P.P.S.  For more tips on exercising correctly visit How to Prevent Pre-diabetes.


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