The Only 4 Ab Exercises You'll Need This Summer
We believe every body is a beach body, but with crop tops in every store window and bikini ads popping up in your computer browsers, no one is immune to wanting to look their best when they're baring some skin. But, no one really wants to crank out thousands of crunches every night, either. That's why we turned to Linda LaRue, the creator of Crunchless Abs and Core Transformer (Jessica Biel, Kate Beckinsale and Bridget Moynihan all swear by it, so consider us on board). All you need is LaRue's Core Transformer Exercise Resistance Band and a stability ball.
To make the four moves below work even harder, proper alignment is key. "A neutral spine is where your ears are stacked directly over your shoulder, hips, and knees," explains LaRue. "Then, pull and keep your shoulders down while lifting your breastbone high. Think about keeping equal tension between your front and backside. I call this 'bracing' your core."
Here's another trick to help these moves pull double duty: While you're doing repetitions, try to do a continuous Kegel exercise. A Kegel, or Pelvic Floor Pull-Up, is a contraction of your pelvic floor muscles and transverse abdominus muscle, your true, deep core muscles (like when you stop yourself mid-pee). Doing this helps ensure that each move below targets your entire core, including your front abdominals, your sides, and your lower back.
Pass & Catch
Start by strapping the Core Transformer onto feet around the arches (not balls of your feet), with feet slightly wider than hip width apart. Cross the tube twice, then loop hands underneath hooking handle between thumb and first finger. Inhale, bending hips and knees into a 90-degree squat keeping shoulders down, chest high, hands and elbows slightly above waist, and weight centered evenly over feet. Exhale to standing, raising hands no higher than shoulder height. Do two set of 12 reps, resting for 30 seconds in between.
Leaning Ball Squats
Start by holding the stability ball against the wall in an diagonal push-up plank position, with elbows and knees slightly bent. Pull your shoulders back and lift your chest, and keep your palms on the sides of the stability ball and squeeze. Inhale into a deep squat, then drive up through your toes back to the standing push-up position. Do two sets of 12 reps, resting for 30 seconds in between.
Resisted Golf Swing/Wood Chop Combo
Start by strapping the Core Transformer onto feet around the arches (not balls of your feet), with feet slightly wider than hip width apart. Cross the tube twice, then clasp handle by placing one hand on top of other palms up. Inhale, bending hips and knees into a 90-degree squat, keeping shoulders down, breastbone high, hands and elbows slightly above waist, and weight centered evenly over feet. Exhale to standing, twisting entire torso in a golf swing movement, raising hands overhead to right side while pushing off on left foot. Reverse sequence to perform an opposite direction wood chop. Repeat 12 reps on each side.
Start in a push-up plank position on the floor, with feet and bottom shins balanced on a stability ball. Then, tuck and pull feet to chest, holding for 20 seconds before pushing back to plank position. For a more advanced move, pike into a V instead of a tuck position. Repeat 20 times.
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