Do you find yourself doing the same abs circuit over and over, without seeing any real improvement? Fitness experts recommend changing up your workout every four to six weeks to keep your muscles working hard. However, that doesn’t mean you have to throw your current routine out the window. By slightly tweaking your standard ab moves, will add new dimension to your circuit and make them that much more effective.
Challenge yourself to go one step further. Try these five tweaks on common core exercises to take your ab workout to the next level.
1. Side Plank (With Leg Lift)
If you are doing side planks, try this easy tweak. Begin on the floor, lying on your right side. With legs straight, prop yourself up with your forearm. Contract your abs as tight as possible. Raise your hips in alignment with your upper body. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on left side.
The Tweak: In side plank position and with hips off the floor, raise your top leg. Slowly bring your knee to your chest. Hold for 20 seconds. Slowly lower leg to plank position. Repeat three times. Repeat with other side.
2. Standard Plank (With Back And Forth Motion)
If you are bracing your abs when you only do ab exercises, you are missing out. Think of your abs and tightening your core when performing all exercises. It is simple to tweak a basic plank to reap the benefits of tight abs.
The tweak: Begin with a basic plank, on the floor, on all fours. Take a moment to brace your core before you begin planking. Make it an intentional pull from your abs to your spine without placing strain on your lower back. Now, on your toes, slightly sway your body back and forth, keeping your back straight. Continue for one minute.
3. Swiss Ball Pike (With Mountain Climber)
This is a fun exercise that requires a Swiss ball. Begin in a plank position with your feet on the Swiss ball. With legs straight, tighten abs. Slowly bring your hips toward the ceiling.
The Tweak: As you slowly lift your hips toward the ceiling, drive your right knee to your chest. Hold for 30 seconds. Keep your left leg on the ball as you lower yourself down. Return to plank position with your feet seated on the Swiss ball. Repeat three times. Switch to other side.
4. Jump Rope Abs (With Core Pull)
A simple exercise, jumping rope is fun and easy. This exercise is good for teenagers and adults alike who want to trim their midsection and chisel their waist. Begin by adding a jump rope circuit to your regular workout.
The Tweak: For jump rope to have an impact on your abdominal muscles, you must think of your abs as the center of your universe. Concentrate on your core. Imagine that your belly button has a thread directly extended through your midsection to your spine. Imagine that someone is standing behind you and pulling the thread as you constrict your tummy muscles. As you feel the burn, jump rope 30 to 40 jumps, intentionally concentrating on abdominal muscles. Rest. Repeat two more times to complete a circuit.
5. Bird Dog (With Pulses)
The bird dog is a great exercise to tone arms, legs and abs. You will feel the extra exertion required with this particular tweak, which adds pulses. Begin in the bird dog position: on the floor on your hands and knees. Lift your right arm and your left leg, keeping them parallel to the floor, in line with your body.
The Tweak: Begin in the bird dog position. Tighten your abs so that you can feel stomach muscles pressing towards your spine. Squeeze as tight as you can. With your right knee bent, lift your left leg off the floor and extend it behind you. Extend your right arm out in front. Now pulse your leg and your arm forward for 20 seconds. You should feel the pull in your abs and obliques. Then switch to the other side.
Tweaking your exercise form for better results will spice up your workout and provide greater results. The intensity at which you perform each exercise will determine its effectiveness for muscle shaping. Correct position and form is required when performing any exercise circuit. Concentrate and exercise with purpose.
Remember, if your diet isn’t on point, you are not going to see tight, sexy abs, so make sure to eat a clean diet full of whole, unprocessed foods. Always check with a professional trainer or fitness expert prior to beginning new routines and be patient — body shaping takes time, dedication and intentional effort.