If you're still not seeing that Summer six-pack, you could be guilty of a few core mistakes. From hitting the crunches hard —mistake number one — to rushing through your movements, there are five common ab blunders many of us tend to make. The good thing is, they are easily correctable and lead to results. If you're tired of your ab routine letting you down, this list and a pair of dumbbells will have you on your way to a tight, toned midsection in no time!
Mistake #1: You Only Do Crunches
If you want to see results, you cannot stick to familiar, mix it up! Yes, crunches are effective but sticking to one exercise has your midsection missing out. To target each abdominal layer, make sure to work your core from all angles. Adding a twist will target your obliques and using your legs (i.e., flutter kicks) will tone your lower abs. This all abs workout will get the job done!
Mistake #2: You Rush Through the Movements
Slow down! Unlike cardio where you benefit from speed, you'll get the most from core exercises making sure each move is effective. The key is to focus on your form and use your breath to guide each motion. Remember, if you're not feeling it, you're probably not doing it right. Quality over quantity is key when it comes to your abs.
Mistake #3: You're Not Engaged
You may be focused, but what about those deep abs? Take a cue from Pilates and engage your entire core. Before you start each exercise, make sure your abdominals are engaged by pulling your navel in and keeping a neutral, not arched spine. This simple adjustment will not only maximize each rep, it will prevent a belly pooch and neck strain.
Mistake #4: You're Going Too Easy
Although it is possible to get those dream abs without weights, challenge yourself (and your abs) with variety. Take it from celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson, who believes "adding weights to your abdominal work" is the secret to great abs. At your next workout, try this weighted ab series or switch things up with a core focused yoga series.
Note: If you notice it is hard to maintain your form with the addition of weights, lighten the load or stick with your body weight — you'll be there in no time!
Mistake #5: You're Too Focused on Spot Training
Truth is, your abs are a full-time job. Although an ab workout is key to seeing results, it's not the only secret to flat abs. Cardio and clean eating are equally important. No matter the exercise or activity (even standing in line at the grocery store), you can engage your abs; after all posture makes perfect!