Basic sit-ups and crunches are ideal for isolating and exercising the abdominal muscles. Sit-ups are performed by sitting on the ground with or without a partner holding your feet. With your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, sit upward then slowly lower your torso back to the ground. Repeat the motion as many times as possible. Crunches are similar to sit-ups but you only partially raise your torso off the ground. You can also perform side crunches to work the oblique muscles in your abdomen. You can either keep your feet flat on the ground or cross your legs and lift them in the air. From the ground, you can also perform leg lifts, scissor kicks and cycling motions. Lie flat on the ground and raise your legs 6 inches with your toes pointed in the air. Either hold the position, scissor kick your legs or make a cycling motion to work the abdominal muscles.
Endurance exercises are an important aspect of any abdominal routine. Walking, running and hiking are all effective for working the stomach muscles. These exercises also burn calories and encourage healthy weight loss. Endurance exercise programs should begin with short distances several times each week and gradually grow into longer distances. Walk, jog or hike for 10 minutes before stopping to stretch. Stretch by touching your toes, doing windmills and lunges before engaging in a more intense workout.
Yoga increases flexibility and core strength. Power yoga requires strength to perform the poses and is used by amateur and professional athletes. Poses like the sun salutations begin and finish the yoga routine and increase flexibility, while the crane and plow poses require abdominal strength to hold the pose. Power yoga can also be performed in a bikram style where the room is heated and you flush water out of your body and hydrate after the workout. Beginners should consider attending yoga classes before practicing in solitude. The popularity of yoga has made it easy to find studios in most major cities and many small towns.
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.