Core Ab Exercises

Core Ab Exercises
A strong core starts with the muscles of your abdomen. Whatever your choice of sports or outdoor activity, a strong core will help you stabilize your body and maintain balance and posture more consistently. Getting started on strengthening your core abs doesn't require a lot of equipment, just a consistent approach and a bit of time.

The Ab Crunch

Lie flat on your back, then draw your knees up so they're bent at 30 to 45 degrees while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head and interlace your fingers. Lift your upper body 2 to 3 inches off the floor by contracting your abdominal muscles. Hold the elevated position for a second or two, then slowly lower your body back down.

Start an exercise program with two sets of 15 crunches, resting for a minute between sets. As they become easier, increase the number of crunches to 30 per set, then increase the number of sets to three or four.

The Knees-Up Ab Crunch

Lie on your back and lift your knees up so that your legs describe a 90 degree angle, with the lower legs parallel to the floor. Clasp your hands behind your head and perform the crunch as described for the basic ab crunch.

This variation of the ab crunch works the muscles of the core more effectively than the basic ab crunch, but it can be more of a strain on the lower back if your core muscles are weak. Add or substitute in the knees-up variation as you get stronger.

The Plank

Hold your body in an extended push-up position---arms straight. Make sure your back is straight and that you're not "tenting" up your back. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds.

Start by performing three to four planks, holding each for 15 to 30 seconds. Extend the amount of time you hold the plank until you can maintain the plank with a straight back for 60 seconds at a time.

Reverse Crunch With Exercise Ball

Lie face down on an exercise ball, placing the ball under your hips, with your toes on the floor. Clasp your hands behind your back and straighten your back so it is in line with your legs. Slowly raise your upper body 2 to 3 inches and hold the position for a second or two, then lower down.

Start an exercise program with two sets of 15 crunches, resting for a minute between sets. As they become easier, increase the number of crunches to 30 per set, then increase the number of sets to three or four.

Article Written By Nichole Liandi

Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.

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