POPSUGAR FitnessSource: Look Good Under That Sweater: Ab Exercises For Fall
Even though you're staying warm in bulky, oversize sweaters and bikinis are pushed to the back of the closet, you shouldn't skimp on core-strengthening exercises. That's right - now's the perfect time to get a sweater-ready six-pack with these five tummy-toning moves. Aside from helping you attain fantastic abs, these exercises will help with strength, balance, and posture, too.
Pilates Hip-Ups: With control, this dynamic exercise will strengthen your low abs in no time. Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire move!
- Start lying on your back with you hands by your side.
- With your core engaged, lift your feet off the ground and cross your ankles.
- Lift your lower back off the mat, and rock up toward the ceiling.
- With control, lower your back (not your legs) to the mat.
- Repeat this motion for 20 reps.
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- Seated Russian Twist:
- Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about a foot from your butt.
- Lean slightly back without rounding your spine at all. It is really important, and difficult, to keep your back straight, but don't let it curve.
- Place your arms straight out in front of you with your hands one on top of the other. Your hands should be level with the bottom of your rib cage.
- Pull your navel to your spine, and twist slowly to the left. The movement is not large and comes from the ribs rotating, not from your arms swinging. Inhale through center and rotate to the right. This completes one rep.
- Do 16 full rotations.
Standing Side Bend: The standing side bend works your obliques, and celeb trainer Harley Pasternak recommends this move to keep the love-handle area tight. We like that it simultaneously stretches one side of your torso while working the other.
- Stand with your feet hip width apart holding five- to 10-pound dumbbells at your sides.
- Bend sideways to the right, squeezing your waist on the right side. Keep your neck as neutral as possible, looking forward, not down.
- Pull the left ribs down to return to standing upright. This focuses the work on the left obliques.
- Repeat for a total of 12 bends to the right, and then switch sides. Do three sets.
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Scissor Abs: Forget run-of-the-mill crunches; scissor abs will work your legs, back, and abs. Over time and with stretching, you might be able to do a full split crunch!
- Lie flat on your back. Extend your arms so they're against the sides of your body with your palms pressing into the floor. Pull your navel in toward your spine, and actively press your lower back flat on the ground.
- Lift both legs straight up toward the ceiling, continuing to engage your abs. Keeping your core strong, slowly lower your right leg down toward the ground until it is a few inches above. Then slowly scissor your legs, lifting your right leg back up as you lower your left leg down toward the ground.
- You may not feel this until you do it for a while, so repeat the move for a total of 20 to 30 times on each leg.
Boat Pose: You might not think that balancing in Boat Pose would tone your abs, but it's one of the most effective yoga poses for your core. Follow the steps below, but be sure to avoid these common mistakes.
- Begin sitting on your mat. Lift your knees up to your chest, balancing on your sit bones.
- Keep your spine long, pulling your knees into your chest with your chest lifted.
- With your shins parallel to the ground (as shown), draw your navel toward your spine, and work on slowly straightening your legs upward. If your back starts to hunch, then bring your shins back down. The action of keeping your spine long and drawing your belly in is what works your abs here.
- Hold for five complete breaths. Rest, and repeat three times.