Are you looking for a flat belly to show off in your new swimming suit? Or is it important for your new formal gown? Maybe you want great abs to help stabilize your spine, reduce back pain or just fit better in your jeans?
Whatever your reason, there is more than one way to achieve your goal. You don’t have to do endless crunches and sit-ups to lose those love handles.
In fact, if you approach your goal from multiple fronts you are more likely to improve your chances of success. This is because you’ll be less likely to burn out on a specific routine or program and likely to work different muscle groups with each routine.
Even sitting at your desk requires strong abs and core muscles to stabilize your spine and reduce the potential that you’ll experience lower back pain.
Just sitting will weaken your core muscles, especially the way that most of us sit with shoulders rolled forward, lower back relaxed and leaning against the back of the chair. If you work in an office you probably sit between 40 and 60 hours each week taking your time at home and the office into account.
This just makes your activities of daily living even more difficult. With a strong core you can carry your groceries painlessly, climb stairs and go for that walk with the kids without discomfort.
Done in the traditional pushup position with your forarms on the floor. Make your body a stiff, straight board tightening your abs.
Practice this 3 times a week with 48 hours between workouts to give your body time to rebuild muscle. Work up to holding the position for 90 seconds 3-5 times.
This is a traditional Plank with an interesting twist. Before getting here, be able to do the Plank for 90 seconds 3-5 times. Start in the Plank position, bring your right knee to your right elbow and return. Now do this with your left leg. Alternate sides for 10 reps.
3. Bridge Walk
Lying on your back with your shoulders and arms pressed to the ground, lift your knees and place your feet flat. Lift your hips off the ground and hold. Lift one leg at a time to over your stomach, return your leg and left the other leg. Do 20 reps.
This exercise requires a rowing machine or a skiff out on the water. Rowing will tone your entire body, especially your abs and back, improve your cardiovascular fitness and help you lose weight.
Although swimmers fight against less gravity, they will work to balance themselves through every stroke and therefore will be building muscles in their core.
The exercise will also burn up to 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are swimming. The best strokes for the abs are backstroke and butterfly.
AZcentral: What Muscles Does Swimming Exercise
FitDay: Understanding Rowing for fitness
Mens Health: The Best Abs Workout You’ve Never done
Men’s Fitness: 5 Exercises to Work Your Abs to Exhaustion
Top Photo by Michael W Murphy