The best ab workout exercises
The best ab workout exercises

The No-Crunch Ab-Tightening Workout

The No-Crunch Ab-Tightening Workout

Shrink your waist and tone your midsection with this easy-to-follow plan

First, some not-so-shocking but slightly reassuring news: a whopping 77 percent of Americans aren't getting enough aerobic and strength-training exercise. This is according to a new study (PDF) released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report states that less than 23 percent of US adults currently meet the requirements set by the US Department of Health and Human Services: at least 75 minutes of vigorous activity or 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, plus muscle training at least twice a week.

But here's the good news: if you're a fairly active guy, you likely only need a few days of training to ensure you're hitting that goal. And if you're looking to target your midsection (and honestly, who isn't?), then this workout aims right at the core. If you want shredded six-pack abs, experts agree that you need to limit your carbohydrate intake, get plenty of sleep and minimize stress. And while you can't spot reduce fat, you can focus your workouts to target muscle groups that can help sculpt and tighten your midsection, while helping your inner washboard shine through.

It's important to remember that there's more to abs than just sit-ups. These three simple moves will translate to a slimmer, more defined stomach—not to mention a stronger, more stabilized core. They also require no equipment, which means you can do them in your bedroom, at the park or in your hotel room.

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A Note on Duration: Perform the exercises below in the order listed for 30 seconds each. Do four to five rounds for a complete workout.

Bear Crawl exercise

Bear Crawl

This not only engages your stomach muscles, but uses your lower back, shoulders, glutes and quads to help you stabilize.

How to Do It

1

Get down on the ground, with your knees below your hips and your hands below your shoulders. Keep your hips up and your back straight.

2

Move the right hand forward as you simultaneously move the left foot forward. Afterwards, move the left hand and right foot forward.

3

Continue in this back and forth pattern, always moving the opposite hand and foot, bracing your core the entire time.

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Cross-Body Mountain Climber exercise

Cross-Body Mountain Climber

This move ramps up your heart rate while working all your ab muscles, especially the obliques.

How to Do It

1

Assume a push-up position. Engage your core and keep your back flat. Make sure your hands are underneath the shoulders.

2

Bring one knee up towards your chest and twist towards the opposing elbow. (For example, your right right knee to your left elbow.)

3

Contract your core and return the leg to the starting position and repeat with your other leg.

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Side Plank Leg Raises exercise

Side Plank Leg Raises

A great exercise to work those stubborn areas around your back and above your butt.

How to Do It

1

Lie on your right side, stacking your knees and feet over one another in a straight line.

2

Prop yourself up on your right elbow and engage your right oblique and hip flexor to maintain this rigid position.

3

Lift your left leg straight up about six to 12 inches, while keeping your foot flexed directly forward. Hold this position for 15 seconds, keeping your core rigid.

FYI

According to the 2008 edition of Chambers Slang Dictionary, the term "six pack" only emerged in common use, originally from African-American slang for "a tight, flat stomach," as recently as the 1990s.

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