To Your Health
February, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 02)
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Top 10 Ab Exercises

By Chelsea Cooper, MPA, CPT

OK, so you want chiseled, toned abs? You're definitely not alone. Millions of people respond to TV and magazine ads promoting the latest, greatest ways to tighten and tone their "core." Unfortunately, most don't know where to start except with a standard sit-up or crunch - until now. Here are 10 easy ways to get those abs in shape fast.

Having a slim, toned midsection seems to be a perpetual fitness goal for many people. What about you? Do you want great abs? I'll bet you do. The good news is you can have the abs you've always desired, no matter what you've been told or how hard you've tried in the past. But before we begin, I want to let you know a few things that will either make or break your dreams of fabulous abs. Abdominal exercises are great for strengthening your abdominal muscles and core muscles. However, just doing ab exercises alone will not get your abs flat or tightened.

Getting a smaller waist and a great-looking midsection will take some time in the gym and/or other physical activities, as well as a game plan. Sorry, there are no shortcuts, at least not ones that produce long-term effects. First and foremost, you must participate in a total-body resistance training program and eat a healthy, calorie-specific diet. It may seem a bit daunting, but you must change your lifestyle habits to promote weight loss, rather than fat storage.

image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Keeping that in mind, let's get down to business! Without further ado, here are the 10 best exercises to flatten, tighten and sculpt your abdominals.

1. The Crunch

The basic crunch should be a staple of your ab routine. This movement concentrates on your upper abdominals.

Starting Position
Lie on your back on a mat with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Support your head by placing your hands behind it, and look toward the ceiling throughout the entire movement.

Exhale as you raise your upper body a few inches off the mat by contracting your abs. Be sure to keep your back straight and avoid pulling yourself up with your hands. Hold yourself in this contracted position for a moment before slowly lowering yourself back down to the starting position.