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Easy Ab Exercises: How to Strengthen Your Stomach Muscles

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Stomach Muscles

There are a lot of different exercises you can do to strengthen your stomach muscles. However a lot of them are harder than they need to be. Your abs muscles are one of the easiest muscle groups to exercise if you know what you are doing. A lot of exercises that focus on other muscles still give your abs a good workout. However that is also a good reason to take be careful.

If you strain your abdominal muscles too much you will be sore for days and it will prevent you from doing other things. You can exercise your abdominal muscles 5 or 6 days a week if you want but take it easy. I would spend an hour focused on my legs or arms but not on my abs. Try to spread your ab exercises out doing a little at a time.

Easy Ab Exercises

Here are some easy exercises that focus on your abs. Start by doing a few repetitions at a time. Your abdominal muscles stabilize your body. For best results try to maintain good posture and balance using your own muscles.

  1. Contract your stomach muscles. Breath in deeply then flex your stomach muscles in a downward direction for a few second before exhaling. It is a really simple exercise. Do a few sets each day to build strong ab muscles.
  2. Suck in your gut for a few seconds then force your gut out. Make sure you wear loose clothing like track pants so you do not bust any buttons. Stop if you start to feel a lot of discomfort.
  3. Lay on your back and stretch out. Then raise you feet a few inches. It is harder than it looks but it does not take long to get used to it. You should be able to feel the strain on your stomach muscles. Relax and pay attention to your body so I you can tell if it is working. When I do this exercise I usually lay on the couch.
  4. Lie face down with your arms and legs stretched outward. Raise your right arm and left leg off the ground as far as you are comfortable with. Hold for a few second then relax. Then repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Most of the work should be done by your core muscles like your abs.
  5. Jump up and down. Jumping rope or just jumping up and down is a good exercise for strengthening your ab muscles and getting rid of fat.
  6. Stand on one leg. When you balance yourself you use your core muscles like your abdominal and back muscles.
  7. Planks and push-up require you to use your ab muscles to stay in position. If you keep good form and do not let your gut sag down you will work out you abs and your arms.
  8. Yoga, pilates, tai chi and qigong focus on your core muscles. They are good for firming your abs. Balance and flexibility can be improved just like strength and endurance. So give yourself time to improve. You can stick with the easier exercises or move on to more advance ones.
  9. Swimming can give you a full body workout. You can burn calories and strengthen your abdominal muscles at the same time. Doing the breast stroke will give you a nice workout.
  10. Punching can be a fun way to get some exercise. You can shadow box, use a punching bag or spar. While you are exercising your arms you are also working out your abs. It is also one of the best cardio exercises that focuses on your arms.
  11. Riding a bike requires balance and stability. It can be a nice relaxing way to burn calories, build leg muscle and strengthen your abs. Maintain good posture and go to places with turns and changing terrains. Exercise bikes do not work as well. My abdominal muscles are firm because I do a lot of long distance biking.
  12. Running requires stability. Maintaining proper posture and your balance works your ab muscles. The heavy breathing that is often involved in running also works your abs. If you run where it is harder to maintain your balance you will get better results. When using a machine your abs get a better workout if you maintain your own balance instead of holding on to the machine.

Visceral Fat

Some of the fat in your abdominal area may be below your muscles. It is called visceral fat. Since it is hard it can be mistaken for muscle but it is bad for your health. For example it can lead to heart attacks. Other fat is just below the skin and covers your muscles.

Since most of the exercises that focus on your abs are not very good for getting rid of fat I would recommend you focus on getting rid of the fat first or while you are working on strengthening your abs muscles.

Cardio

I do some weightlifting but I mainly do cardio exercises like running or biking. Doing cardio is a good way to strengthen my leg muscles. However I have also noticed my ab muscles become harder as well. I could do exercises that focus on my ab muscles but biking and is enough to give me really strong ab muscles. So instead of doing a lot of boring ab exercises I can go for a relaxing bike ride and strengthen my heart, my leg muscles and my stomach muscles while burning a lot of calories.

You do not need equipment to do cardio exercises but you may want an exercise mat and a jump rope. A bike is good when the weather is nice.

Breathing

Most people do shallow chest breathing. Focus on the way your breath. Breath more deeply and imaging the air is going in and out of your stomach. Your stomach should now be moving as you inhale and exhale. Practice using deep slow belly breathing until you breath that way most of the time and your stomach muscles will get more exercise. Your stomach muscles will become a bit stronger and you will feel more relaxed. It takes work at first but it will soon become more natural.

Forcing air in and out is another way to strengthen your ab muscles. Take a quick breath in then force the air out. Repeat a few times and you should start to feel your ab muscles working.

Posture

Try to maintain good posture. While sitting or standing straight you use your abdominal muscles. You also use them to maintain good posture while you are exercising. When you stand try to stand straight instead of slouching and while you are sitting try to sit straight without leaning against anything. If you are lifting weights and you are supposed to be standing still try not to sway.

You want your body to be like a strong tree. It should be able to stand on its own. If you have trouble maintaining good posture practice. After your muscles become firmer it will become easier.

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FitnessMarkLorie profile image

FitnessMarkLorie 4 years ago from Longs, SC

The plank is the king of all ab exercises in my opinion!

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