Whether you're thinking about bikini season or getting ready for your wedding day, abdominal exercises are a great way to strengthen your core, improve your posture, and put you on the path to fabulous shape. And the more you focus, the more effective your ab work will be.
Check out some of my favorite crunchless ab exercises, then add some oomph with these five tips below.
- Pull your navel to your spine. This classic Pilates refrain reminds you to engage your abs and focus your efforts on those muscles. For the lower abs, picture an imaginary line about two to three inches below your belly button, and pull that line toward your spine too.
- Add a light weight. To increase the challenge, hold a light dumbbell or medicine ball in front of your chest.
- Bring your legs together. When doing ab work on a stability ball, bringing your legs closer together will make it tougher to balance, thereby making your core work harder.
- Don't rest between reps. Keep your muscles engaged by not allowing your head or shoulder blades to touch as you come down from each move.
- Avoid using momentum. To ensure that your abs are working as hard as possible, control your movements and avoid using momentum. It's even OK to pause between reps (just don't put your head down!) if you keep your abs tight through the range of motion.