Once you reach a certain fitness point, basic crunches and sit-ups fail to meet your expectations. When you've reached this plateau, it's time to increase the intensity of your abdominal workout by performing more advanced abdominal exercise techniques. Increasing the difficulty and resistance forces the abdominals to work harder, so you can once again feel the burn. Always consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
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Jammers for the Belly
Jammer-torso rotations tone your entire midsection and require a barbell. Place one end of the barbell in a corner to keep the bar stable during the exercise. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart at the end of the barbell away from the wall. Squat down to pick up the barbell with both hands using a tight grip. Rotate the end of the bar about 6 inches from your right hip while simultaneously rotating your torso so your left shoulder moves in front of your body. Keep your feet firmly on the floor. In a half-circular motion, rotate your body to the opposite direction so the end of the bar is close to your left hip and your torso is rotating toward the left-side of your body. Use slow and controlled motion to perform three sets of 12.
Hay Bailers for Toned Abs
Hay bailers tone the abdominal muscles using a medicine ball or a dumbbell. Step forward with your left foot so you're standing in a split stance. Hold the medicine ball in both hands or one end of the dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms so the weight is a few inches from the front of your right hip without rotating your torso. Keep your head neutral with your spine and remain facing forward during the entire exercise. During the upward motion of the weight, keep your abdominals contracted to help stabilize your spine and keep your torso facing forward as you raise the weight above your left shoulder. Keep the weight close to your body during the upward motion and then extend your arms over your shoulder. Hold this position for one second and then lower the weight. Perform three sets of 12 hay bailers on each side of your body.
V-Up a Six Pack
This exercise strengthens your upper and lower abdominals and is more difficult than your average sit-ups. Start V-ups by laying on the floor with your legs extended and your arms extended above your head. Do not bend your knees or elbows as you simultaneously raise your legs and torso off the ground to form a v-shape. Finish the exercise by touching your toes and then slowly returning to your starting position. Perform three sets of 12 v-ups.
Hanging for a Tight Core
Hanging leg raises are one of the most intense and effective exercises for sculpting your abdominal muscles. Use a chin-up bar and grasp the bar with an overhand grip with your hands shoulder-width apart. Hang on the bar with your arms extended being sure to hold the bar tight enough to support your bodyweight. Keep your feet together and your legs extended during the entire exercise. Contract your abdominal muscles as you raise your extended legs and feet forward to a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then slowly lower your legs. Perform three sets of three leg raises.