Today I will talk about my top 3 favourite exercises for abs - without crunches. Say what? Crunches are actually one of the most ineffective exercises for sculpting abs, especially if you have bad posture, weak back and neck. Yes, you gain muscle and abs get tighter with crunches, but with tighter abs your upper body will lean forward, you're scrunching your body, which will cause upper body pain and lead into bad posture. To prevent that, you can try full body exercises, which will help you shed fat, sculpt the muscles and tighten inner corset of your abdominal muscles.
1. I have a love-hate relationship with squats. I love them, because they are super effective and you see quick results, I hate them because they hurts. And they hurt so good :).
Exercise posture: abs tight and back straight. Then you go down as low as you can, imagine that you are sitting down on a chair, making sure your knees don't go past your toes, so it's not hard on your knees and then come up, squeeze your glutes and still keeping a good posture.
This exercise is not just amazing for your abs, but also your tights, glutes and it can be amazing cardio, if you do it fast enough. If you feel strong enough and you're up for a challenge, do jump squats. It's basically the same, you just add a jump when you come back up from a squat. Repeat and try to do them as quickly as you can (keeping a good posture!) for one minute.
2. Plank is killer for your abs, back and shoulders.
Exercise posture: Get on the floor, arms in 90 degree angle, elbows underneath your shoulders, body in one straight line, keeping your abs tight. Time yourself how long can you hold in this positing, try to add 5 more seconds every couple of days. You'll see how fast you can progress.
If you're up for a challenge, you can switch arm posture into full extended arms and then switch again. Do this exercise for 1 minute and you'll see how your abs and shoulders are shaking :).
You can also modify this exercise by keeping your hips little bit more above your body, but always remember not to drop them. Keep your abs tight.
Exercise posture: arms are extended straight underneath the shoulders, body in one straight line, back straight (not curved), abs tight. Holding the good posture, bent your elbows and bring your whole body towards the floor and push up. Repeat.
If you're not strong enough, you can modify push ups doing them off your knees and if it still feels too hard, you can keep your hips above your body (same as plank), which will take some benefits off your abs, but will still sculpt you. You'll gain your strength faster than you think.
You also need a good cardio session and clean diet. My favourite cardio session is still Zuzana's Zcut power cardio (check out my review here), which also contains all of the above exercises, and I love jumping rope as well.
What is your favourite exercise for abs? Do you go to the gym or workout at home? Do you even workout? ;)