The Best Stomach Exercises

The Best Stomach Exercises
Exercising the stomach muscles can give you a lean look. Getting stronger stomach muscles helps with more than looks, however. A strong stomach can help you stand up straight and increase the strength in your back. Abdominal workouts also can help you scale rocks that would otherwise give you trouble and help you climb rocks and mountains with more flexibility.

Basic Crunch

The basic crunch remains the best entry-level stomach exercise. You can do these exercises anywhere you can find room to lie flat on your back. Clasp your hands behind your head and curl your upper torso up while squeezing your abs. You need to only lift your shoulders off the floor instead of your entire back as with the old-fashioned sit-up.

Isometric Ab Exercise

Isometric ab exercises are even more versatile than crunches. You don't even need room to lie down as you can do this while taking a break from backpacking, standing in line at the exercise equipment store or while you're fishing in a lake. Tighten your ab muscles as much as you can and hold for a count of 10 to 30 seconds. Doing this throughout the day is like setting aside time for crunches every day.

Hanging Knee Raise

Hanging knees raises are an effective way to work your stomach muscles as long as you have a bar from which to hang. This can be done at a gym, on the jungle bars at a neighborhood playground or with a pipe inside your house. Some universal gym machines come with a bar for doing this exercise. This is also an effective exercise to do while camping or hiking. Just find a low enough tree branch that can support your weight. While hanging from the bar with your hands, bring your knees up toward your stomach, hold for a beat and then return to the starting position.

Reverse Beetle

Reverse beetles can be done on your weight bench at home, on your chair at work or on a rock formation when you're out hiking. According to "Basic Weight Training for Men and Women," you do a reverse beetle by getting into a seated position and leaning slightly back while holding onto the sides of the bench or chair, or whatever you are sitting on. Bring your feet up off the floor. Curl your torso by bending your knees and shoulders, and bring the knees up toward your chest before returning to the starting position.

Side Body Lift

The side body lift is an advanced exercise that gives your oblique abs on the side of your body a tough workout. Begin by lying on your side, so you are supporting your body with your left elbow, forearm and hand. Make sure that you have placed your elbow directly beneath your shoulder. Lift your body up slowly, so it forms a diagonal line. Cross your feet to maintain balance and support your balance with your right hand. Once you have mastered this technique, make it tougher by raising your right hand toward the ceiling so that all your support is accomplished with your left forearm and hand. Repeat on your other side.

Article Written By Timothy Sexton

Timothy Sexton is an award-winning author who started writing in 1994. He has written on topics ranging from politics and golf to nutrition and travel, and his work appears online for Zappos.com, Disaboom and MOJO, among others. He has also done work for "Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Florida.

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