- Exercise & Fitness
Ab Toning workouts for Beginners
Another great reason to work your abs - It will make you look thinner,and taller! Because when you work your abs,it helps with your posture too.
It's all in the abs
A nice,firm set of abs is desired by many,yet most of us somehow seem unable to attain the flat,rippled stomach that we see so often on television and in movies. I know a lot of people are so busy with work and family that they don't have a lot of time leftover for things like exercise. But if you put aside just a small amount of time a few days a week,you will see results.
Sometimes the biggest obstacle to getting the body you want is your own mind. You tell yourself you'll do it this day,or that day,or you're waiting until you finish this big project at work,or until life is less stressful. You first have to stop putting it off,and tell yourself that you can and will do this.
The abs are such important muscles.They are right smack in the middle of your body,so if you have weak core muscles,it can cause problems. It is a known fact that people with strong abs are less prone to back injuries,and have less everyday complaints of back pain from sitting or standing too long.
A regular exercise routine will even uplift your mood,making you LESS stressed for the remainder of your day. You will have days where you might not feel like doing it,but after you're finished with your workout,you will feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. Getting a flat stomach with some definition doesn't take nearly as much time as you may think either. It's all about targeting the right muscles in the right way,for the right amount of time. Beginners,start here!
Please keep in mind,the ab muscles are the core part of your body,and keep you stabilized in other types of workouts that you may do as part of a routine. It is usually best to do ab workouts last,that way your abs won't be tired causing you to not be able to perform the rest of your exercises properly.
Lets talk about the exercises already
Let's start with leg raises. These are quite simple to perform,and they also workout your lower abdominal muscles. The lower muscles are always better to work on first,because even lower ab workouts use your upper abs too,so no mater what,your upper abs are getting a workout. If you first decide to target the upper abs directly,then they will tire before you get much exercise on the lower abs.
OK,so leg raises! You want to start this exercise with your back on the floor,and your hands down at your sides. You want to lift both legs off of the ground together,making sure to keep them straight. Lift your legs until they are at a 45 degree angle to the floor.
Lower your legs slowly,but make sure that you don't allow them to actually touch the floor.Keep them slightly above and follow the routine once again,for a total of 10 to 20 repetitions,or whatever you are comfortable with. Don't over do it your first week or you will be have to take some days off to rest your sore muscles.
Next,we will do reverse curls. These are such a good ab exercise! Curls are very popular for the upper abs,and these are just as good as those,except reverse curls target the lower abdominal area.
The first thing you will do is again lay down on the floor with your arms down at your sides. Next pull your knees up so that they are resting with your feet flat against the floor. You will begin by raising your knees up and towards your chest,making sure not to let your knees go past your shoulders.
The position ends with your knees back in the starting position. Do this exercise in a slow,controlled motion in order to get the best results. Repeat until you have done 10-20 repetitions. 10 should be plenty for most beginners,but always remember that after awhile,the routine gets easier and you have to keep challenging your muscles by adding more reps.
Now we move on to an exercise called the plank. I really love this workout,because you can really feel it working,and it challenges you as you are able to go longer and longer each week.The first thing you need to do is get down on your hands and knees. You want to have your body weight resting only on your elbows and your toes. Refer to the picture if you seem a bit confused on how to do this.
You want your elbows to be on the floor just underneath your shoulders. If they are too far forward or back,move them until they are in line with the shoulders. Remember that,it's very important!
Your objective is to hold your body in a straightline over the floor,using your ab muscles to balance you. Keep the body straight,OK? If you don't,then you aren't going to benefit very much from this exercise. As a beginner,start by holding this position for 20 seconds,and work your way up longer when you feel comfortable.
Next up we have the bicycle exercise. Yes,I know you're thinking "doesn't a bicycle work the legs?" You would be correct in assuming that,except in this exercise you are laying down,and bringing your legs up towards you by using...you guessed it....the ab muscles!
You start by laying flat on the floor with your fingers "lightly" laced" behind your head. You will bring your legs up until they are at a 45 degree angle to the floor. Then just think of pedaling a bicycle.
You will bend your left leg at the knee and bring it in towards you,and bring your right elbow towards the left knee at the same time,so that they are both meeting in the middle. Do the same with the right leg and left elbow. Repeat movements for 10-15 repetitions.
Vertical leg crunches are the next step. These are easy,and your abs will reap the rewards of this exercise in no time at all. So lets start!
Start out by laying on the floor with your arms lightly placed behind your head. Extend your legs straight up towards the ceiling,and cross them at the knees. Slowly lift your shoulder blades up off of the floor,using your ab muscles to pull you up. Lower back to starting position,and repeat for a total of 10-15 repetitions. Move up to more reps as you feel necessary.
Last but certainly not least,we will do what is called a hip roll. This one is so extremely easy even your grandma would be happy to workout with you. OK,maybe that is pushing it a bit. But really,this exercise is very easy to do,and works wonders on the abs. Lets go!
Again,you are going to lay down flat.You can either place your hands underneath your butt,with palms touching the floor,or with arms out to the side of your body. Bend your legs at the knees,with feet flat against the floor. Lift the legs up,keeping the knees bent,and without lifting your shoulders,lower both legs down to the right side of your body,until your upper thigh just touches the floor.
When doing this motion,please make sure that your are turning at the waist. Do the same thing on the left side,and switch back and forth for 10-20 reps,or whatever you feel is sensible.
That's it! You've done it. You have completed the first day of your new ab routine. Now remember,firm,beautiful abs won't happen overnight. Do not get discouraged. Remember,if you allow yourself to get discouraged,you are on your way to losing the battle. Do these simple ab workouts only a few times a week,and you will soon notice results.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that no amount of ab exercise will bring out your ab muscles if they are hidden under a layer of fat. If you are overweight,it is best to take care of that by doing some good aerobic exercises,and eating healthier,in addition to working your abs. These are the steps to success,and you can do it with some determination and perseverance.
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