A strong core is essential for a strong body, but many gym-goers find themselves struggling to properly activate their abs. Luckily, there are tons of different ways to get those muscles firing. Whether you’re a gym newbie or a fitness pro, check out our top five abdominal exercise tips to breathe new life into an old workout routine.
1. Try a New Angle
If you’re tired of doing endless sets of boring crunches, try to mix things up a bit. Consider adding in a few different variations from different angles. For example, try alternating traditional crunches with a bicycle crunch. This incorporates a twisting motion, which activates muscles like the obliques as well as your stabilizing muscles.
2. Train Your Lower Back
While some gym-goers dream of the perfect six-pack, the key to fitness is balance. Abdominal exercises are great, but don’t neglect your lower back. Try adding an equal number of lower-back strengthening exercises to your ab workout to create a strong, toned core. This also helps prevent injury from imbalances, which helps keep you on schedule toward your fitness goals!
3. Explore Stability Training
One way to really challenge your core is stability work. Workouts like Pilates and Yoga tone your muscles while improving your sense of balance, which can have a huge impact on your core strength. But you can also try stability trainers like Bosu balls, balance boards, or stability balls to supercharge your workout. Try sit-ups on a stability ball or push-ups on a Bosu ball and feel the burn!
4. Add Weight
If you’ve been doing core workouts for awhile, you may feel ready to move past bodyweight moves and focus on a new challenge. Why not add some extra resistance into your routine? Grab a medicine ball, dumbbell, or kettlebell to do exercises like wood chops and Russian twists with new intensity. Weighted exercises pack more punch into a shorter routine, so you may save some time at the gym as well.
5. Mix It Up
Finally, don’t underestimate the benefits of a fresh routine. If you’ve done the same exercises forever, your body has adapted to those challenges and is ready for something new. Consider signing up for a group class at the gym to revive your routine or try a new piece of training equipment, like the UltraSlide slideboard – which can improve your strength and balance from home!