Fast-Acting Ab Exercises

Fast-Acting Ab Exercises

One of the most telltale signs of a fit person is the highly coveted six-pack abs.These washboard abs signal lots of time spent in the gym doing crunches and situps – or do they? While it’s true that crunches and situps will help tone your abdominal muscles, doing these alone will not give you the results you want, or as quickly as you would like. For fast results, you need a variety of ab exercises that will work your entire core, as well as a cardio plan that will melt midsection fat to showcase the muscles underneath.

Plank
The plank is a deceptively simple move that will work your core, including your abs, lower back and pelvic muscles. To do a plank, get into pushup position, engage your core muscles and hold the stance for 30 to 60 seconds. You can do a few different variations on this standard plank, including a side plank which works your obliques, or a more challenging version with leg and arm raises. Do a side plank by lying on one side with your feet stacked, and then raising up on the arm closest to the ground. Keep this stabilizing arm straight, then reach toward the ceiling with the other arm. Increase the challenge of the standard plank by raising one leg at a time, or extending one arm at a time forward.

Crunch Variety
Even though crunches alone won’t give you ripped abs, they are still a valuable part of a core routine. In addition to doing traditional crunches, you can also try exercises such as reverse crunches and side crunches to work different areas in your core. Reverse crunches are done by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet in the air. Spread your arms to the side and rest them on the floor. Use your abdominal muscles to bring your knees closer to your chest and lift your hips and butt off the floor. Do side crunches to work your obliques. From a kneeling position, lean to your right side and put that palm on the floor. Put your left hand behind your head and first extend, then raise your left leg to hip height; crunch so the left side of your rib cage moves toward your left hip.

Yoga and Pilates-Inspired Exercises
Yoga and Pilates are both core-centric forms of exercise, so it’s no surprise that a few moves in particular can speed up your ab routine results. Try the cobra, which elongates your abs and works your lower back, too. Lie face down with elbows bent and palms by your chest, then gently raise your head, shoulders and chest off the floor. The hundred is a basic Pilates exercise that is done by lying on your back with your arms extended toward your hips and your knees bent and raised in the air. Lift your head and shoulders off the mat, then pulse your arms and hands in short, up and down movements.

Cardio
Cardio plays another important role in obtaining the desired results for your abs. This type of exercise blasts calories and burns the fat which covers up muscle. No matter how much strength training you do for your abs, if there’s a layer of fat on top of them, no one will be able to see your hard work. Melt the fat away with activities such as running, cycling or swimming for two to three hours per week.