Having a strong core requires that you really hit home with the exercises that you choose. Here are four exercises that will hit your abdominals deep and build that core strength (and that six-pack) you have always wanted.
Start: Get down on your hands and knees, keeping your back flat.
Finish: Take a deep breath, allowing your belly to pooch out. Then forcibly exhale and round your back like an angry cat as you lift your navel up toward your spine.
When you can exhale no more, keep your back rounded and your navel in as you purse your lips and take shallow breaths through your nose for several seconds. That’s 1 repetition; it should take 20 to 30 seconds. Inhale as you flatten your back to the starting position.
Start: Get into a modified pushup position with your weight on your forearms and toes. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels (don’t let your back sag).
Finish: Pull your abs in as far as you can, and hold this position for 20 to 60 seconds, breathing steadily. Relax. If you can do the entire 60 seconds, 1 rep is enough. If not, try for any combination of reps that gets you up to 60 seconds.
Start: Lie on your nondominant side (if you’re right-handed, that would be your left side). Support your weight with that forearm and the outside edge of that foot. Your body should form a straight line from head to ankles.
Finish: Pull your abs in as far as you can, and hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds, breathing steadily. Relax. If you can do the entire 30 seconds, 1 rep is enough. If not, try for any combination of reps that gets you up to 30 seconds. Then repeat on your other side.
Start: Get into a pushup position with the tops of your feet and your shins on the ball and your hands on the floor.
Finish: Pull your knees close to your chest, letting the ball roll slightly forward. Keep your arms straight, and squeeze your abs hard at the top.