A washboard stomach is something many men may aspire to, but it won’t happen overnight. No doubt one of your new year’s resolutions included something along the lines of losing a few pounds or tightening up your midriff. Firstly, you will have to cut done on your alcohol and junk food intake and start a full body workout instead of just exercising your finger when it hits the television remote control.
After overindulging during the Christmas holidays and letting your body go because the weather outside is not conducive to the exercise you like, it’s time to move forward and get that body into tip-top shape. Not only will you look better, but by exercising and eating a healthier diet, you’ll also decrease the risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
The following exercises are basic moves targeting the abs and back. Always avoid any exercises that cause pain and, if you feel lower back strain, modify the move to a comfortable range of motion or place a rolled up towel under your hips to support your lower back.
Before you start:
- Check with your doctor if you have any injuries or medical conditions.
- Warm up with some light cardio before this workout.
- Perform each exercise for at least one set of 10-16 reps.
- Do each exercise slowly and focus on good form for each rep.
- Crunches: Lie on your back with your hands crossed across your chest or with your fingers on the sides of your head. Place your feet on the floor with legs bent. To begin the exercise, lift your torso, lifting shoulder blades off the floor and crunching your rib cage towards your lower belly. Hold for two counts, then lower slowly to the starting position. Repeat.
- Reverse Crunches: Lie on your back with knees bent, feet a few inches off the floor. Slowly contract the abdominals, focusing on rotating the pelvis up and bringing your knees towards your rib cage. Concentrate on letting your abs do the work. Hold at the top then slowly lower your knees to the starting position. Repeat.
- Oblique Crossover Crunches: Lie on your back with knees bent, hands behind your head. Keeping lower back pressed into the floor, lift your shoulder blades off the floor and then curl your upper body diagonally across your body towards your right knee. Contract your abs and obliques as hard as you can at the top of the movement. Lower back down and repeat on the same side before switching sides.
- Plank: Begin by placing elbows on the floor and resting body on the knees. Pull the abs tight to hold your body in a straight line from head to knees without sagging in the middle, eyes looking naturally forward. Hold this position for as long as you can, relax and repeat three or more times.
- Back Extensions: Lie face down with hands either behind the back or lightly cradling the head. Lift upper body off the ground a few inches, keeping head and neck in alignment. For a challenge, then lift feet off the ground, keeping legs straight (knees don''t have to be together), hold for 2-4 counts and lower.
- Superhumans: Begin on hands and knees, hands directly under shoulders, knees under hips and back straight, abs tight. Slowly raise right arm and left leg up until level with the body, holding your balance and keeping torso tight. Lower back down and repeat with the left arm and right leg. Take your time – this exercise will challenge your balance!