With summer right around the corner, you’re probably starting to think about the current shape of your midsection. Has Christmas, New Year’s, and the fact you’ve been hiding under winter layers left you a little less firm than you’d like?
Nothing to stress about! If you start now, you can get into beach-ready shape by the time the warm summer season rolls around.
Just remember: exercise can only get you so far. While it’s important to have a great ab exercise line-up in place to develop a strong core and build the muscles up enough so that they ‘pop’, to really see maximum definition, you’ll need to focus on your diet. Losing fat is what’s required to get six pack abs, and that will rely heavily on your dietary efforts.
This said, here are four great ab moves to kick-start your ab transformation.
Hanging Knee Raise
If you want to target your lower abs, the hanging knee raise is the perfect choice.
Muscles Targeted: Rectus abdominis, hip flexors, obliques
Set-Up: Get into a hanging position from an overhead bar. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart, using an overhand grip. Keep the body fully extended in a straight line.
Move: While avoiding swinging the body in any way, contract the abs and lift the knees up as high as you possibly can. The rest of the body should remain motionless. Once your knees are up as high as possible, slowly lower the knees down to complete the rep.
Tip: If you want to make this exercise more challenging, do so by straightening the knees to form a hanging leg raise instead. This will increase the lever length of the legs, thus making the movement pattern harder.
The bicycle crunch is a great move if you’re looking to target your obliques. By twisting side to side, you’ll not only activate the rectus abdominis, but also tap into those ‘love handles’ as well.
Muscles Targeted: Obliques, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis
Set-Up: Lay on the floor on your back with legs extended and arms bent with hands by your ears.
Move: Contract the core and raise your upper body off the floor, twisting to one side as you do. Bring the opposite leg up as you twist so your knee meets your elbow. Your elbow and knee should meet at the centerline of the body. Once the knee and elbow are nearly touching, pause and then lower the leg down. While the leg is lowering, bring the opposite leg up and now twist to the other side with the upper body. Try and keep the abs fully contracted the entire time through this movement. Once all reps are completed, lower the upper body back down to the floor.
Tip: To make this exercise as challenging as possible, keep the legs hovering above the ground as you do the entire set. Neither the upper body nor the legs should touch the ground throughout the set.
Exercise Ball Knee Tuck
This move adds a new element to your core workout as you’ll be in a prone position as opposed to the traditional supine position.
Muscles Targeted: Rectus abdominis, obliques, triceps, chest, shoulders, hip flexors
Set-Up: Position your body in a prone position with the legs extended, balancing the forefoot on an exercise ball. Place the hands directly under the shoulders with your elbows straight.
Move: After finding your balance in the starting position, contract the abs and bring the knees into the chest, rolling the ball as you do. Pause when you’re as contracted as possible and then reverse directions, rolling the ball back out again as you extend your legs.
Tip: If you really want to hit the obliques with this exercise, try rolling the ball into the side of the body rather than straight to the front, twisting slightly as you do. This will put more emphasis on those muscles as they contract for the movement and work to keep you balanced.
Finally, to finish off the workout, you have an isometric exercise to build core endurance and strength. This movement is a great variation of a traditional plank and will hit the sides of your core better, giving you a complete ab workout.
Muscles Targeted: Obliques, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, erector spinae, shoulders (for stabilization)
Set-Up: Laying on the ground, get into a side facing position with the body straight, and legs stacked, balancing on the side of the bottom foot and the forearm of the same side. The arm you are balancing on should be bent and placed directly below the shoulder while the other arm can be resting at your sides or elevated and pointed toward the ceiling.
Move: Once you’ve found your starting position, simply hold this for a count of 30-60 seconds. Try not to let your hips sway down or up but keep them in direct alignment with the rest of the body. Once you’re finished your rep on one side, turn over and repeat on the other side.
Tip: While doing this exercise, if you want to make it more challenging, take the free arm (opposite the one you’re balancing on) and extended it straight up so the hand is pointing upward. Now, lower the arm in front of you until it’s parallel to the floor. Pause and then lift it back up again. This will require the muscles in the core to work harder to keep the body stabilized while the arm is moving.
Supplements to Enhance Your Workout
Now that you have your workout planned, why not go the extra mile by adding some smart supplements to the mix? You can see even better results with the following products:
A multi-ingredient fat burner, Clean Burn will help you attack fat loss from all angles. You’ll help increase your overall fat burning metabolic pathway while also helping to improve your energy level, allowing you to put more effort into each workout you do.
PurCaf Organic Caffeine:
PurCaf Organic Caffeine is the perfect accompaniment to Clean Burn, as it’ll help improve your focus in the gym, increase your energy levels, help to enhance fatty acid utilization, and may also help to increase your resting metabolic rate.
Finally, to ensure optimal energy and recovery, don’t forget to include BCAAs. These highly absorbable branched chain amino acids will get to the muscle tissues quickly and help to reduce the level of catabolism taking place, protecting your muscle as you diet off body fat.
BCAA 2:1:1 - Fermented BCAAs to Aid in Protein Synthesis & Enhanced Recovery With a Proven 2:1:1 Ratio.*
To maximize your results, check out our Fat Loss Starter Kit, which includes these three products in one convenient bundle. You’ll have everything you need to reveal your new set of abs before you even plan your first trip to the beach.