Ab Crunchs and Sit-Ups
The ab crunch and sit-up effectively exercise the stomach muscles, and you can do them using a variety of methods. The basic ab crunch requires you to lay on your back and lift your torso repeatedly. You can perform the ab crunch and sit-up on exercise balls and with resistance from a partner or with a medicine ball. You can also do the crunch from several positions, including feet on the ground and knees vertical, or legs flat on the ground with toes pointing upward and with your legs extended and held off the ground.
Leg lifts are effective for exercising the lower abdomen and are an excellent addition to crunches and sit-ups. Leg lifts require you to lay flat on your back and lift your legs several inches off the ground. You can hold your legs for a period of time or alternate between scissor kicks, a bicycle motion and v-ups, where you lift your torso and legs simultaneously to create a "V" with your body.
You can also do leg lifts while hanging on a pull-up bar. Hang from the bar and lift your legs to create a right angle with your body. This exercise works your forearm grip and your stomach muscles.
Yoga has a diverse range of stretches and exercises that work the entire body. Many of the poses require your stomach muscles to stretch and exercise in conjunction with your entire body. The various core and balance poses, for example, use your stomach muscles to control the position of your body while the hips, shoulders, arms and legs are being stretched.
Power yoga is also ideal for increasing strength in your stomach muscles, but you should start with basic yoga moves until your skill level increases. In power yoga, you practice the same basic poses that are done in other forms of yoga but you hold the poses for much longer. The long holds require extra strength and concentration to execute.
Bikram yoga is also a popular yoga method and is performed in a heated room. The heated room allows your body to sweat out toxins while you stretch and exercise your stomach muscles. After the toxins have been removed from your body, you can rehydrate and your muscles will recover quickly. You will also feel relaxed and refreshed.
A combination of yoga and abdominal exercises is ideal for creating a firm abdomen. It can increase the strength of the stomach muscles while adding flexibility. The extra flexibility allows your muscles to execute longer motions and thoroughly work the abdomen.
Article Written By Zach Lazzari
Zach Lazzari is an outdoor writing specialist. He has experience in website writing as well as standard newspaper writing. He wrote an outdoor column for the Silver World in Lake City, Colo., and articles for Colorado-mountain-adventure.com. Lazzari is currently completing his bachelor's degree online through Arizona State University and lives in southwest Montana.