5 Exercises to Get You Ab Fab!

Look fab on your honeymoon in that brand-new bikini with these moves!

These five abdominal exercises focus on increasing core strength. Your core refers to the muscle groups that stabilize and support your torso while you perform everyday movements.

Doing 500 crunches a day is not the way to get a stronger midsection—you need to strengthen the surrounding areas. Many people make the mistake of thinking it’s okay to work out their abs every day. The abdominals are muscles, and like all muscle groups, they need time to heal and repair after being worked.

Beginners: 1-2 sets of 10-12 repetitions per exercise
Intermediate/advanced: 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions per exercise

Exercise 1: Trade-offs
Targets: Most of your midsection
Equipment: Fitness ball and exercise mat

  1. Lie on the mat and place a fitness ball between your feet. Extend your legs toward the ceiling, squeezing the ball with the insides of your feet. Place your arms over your head.
  2. Slowly crunch up, reaching for the ball with your hands.
  3. Grab the ball with your hands and slowly bring it down behind your head, keeping your shoulder blades off the ground. Just before the ball touches the ground, contract your abdominals and reach back up with the ball, placing it between your feet.
  4. Slowly lower your arms and body back down, again keeping your shoulder blades off the ground.
  5. Repeat to complete the set.

Exercise 2: Right Arm/Left Leg Crunch
Targets: Upper abdominals and shoulders
Equipment: Set of dumbbells and exercise mat

  1. Lie on the floor with your legs extended, feet slightly apart. Place a light dumbbell in each hand and raise your arms over your head.
  2. Slowly crunch up, and bring your right arm and left leg up to meet each other. Once the dumbbell meets your left shin, slowly return to the starting position.
  3. Repeat the move, crunching up so that your left arm meets your right shin.

Exercise 3: Fitness Ball Ab Pull/Push-up Combo
Targets: Abdominals and upper body
Equipment: Fitness ball and exercise mat

  1. Get into a push-up position and place your toes on the ball, keeping it behind you.
  2. Keeping your abdominals tight, pull the ball in toward your chest with your feet, then roll it back out.
  3. Slowly bend your elbows and lower your body to perform a push-up, making sure to keep your abdominal contracted.
  4. Repeat the combo move starting with the ab pull.

Exercise 4: Ball Pike
Targets: Abdominals and spine extensors
Equipment: Fitness ball and exercise mat

  1. Kneel behind a fitness ball, then put your body over the ball and walk your hands forward into a plank position. Your arms should be in line with your shoulders, shins on the ball, legs straight and feet together.
  2. Tighten your body, especially the core muscle groups.
  3. Contract your abdominals, flex at your hips and draw the ball under your torso, pulling with your legs and feet. Keep your legs as straight as possible. Focus on bringing your hips toward your ribs so as not to place too much weight on your shoulders.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.

Exercise 5: Fitness Ball Weighted Twist
Targets: Upper and lower abdominals and obliques
Equipment: Fitness ball and one dumbbell

  1. Sit on a fitness ball and place your feet flat on floor. Roll forward until the ball is at your lower/middle back.
  2. Hold a light dumbbell at the end with your arms straight out in front of you.
  3. Lean back slowly, being careful not to go too far. Contract your abdominals.
  4. Twist your torso as far as you can to one side and then to the other side to complete a rep.

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