Bored of doing the standard sit ups? Here’s how to sculpt six-pack abs with interesting crunches
Doing the basic sit-ups to firm your abdominal muscles is not a bad choice. But if you find yourself wondering why you have been unable to achieve a surfboard tummy even after doing 100 crunches a day, it is time you sit up and think different. TOI lists few of the most recommended abdominal exercises that will help you achieve a flat stomach.
1. Crunch on a ball
Sit on a Swiss ball with your feet flat on the floor at shoulder-width distance. Lie back on the ball such that your back is parallel to the ground. At this point, your lower back must feel like it is curved around the ball. Raise your arms towards the ceiling, and raise your chest up in a crunching motion. Your head should be in line with your upper body and neck must not strain. End your range of motion when your middle back loses contact with the Swiss ball. If you rise further, the ball may slip from under your hip. Hold the contracted position for three seconds and go back to the starting position. Do 10 reps.
2. Twist and crunch
Lie down on your back on a mat. Place your hands near your ears and lift your legs in the air folded at 90 degrees at the knees. Contract your abs and bring your right elbow across your body towards your left knee. Hold for three seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat the contraction on the other side with the left elbow. Do 10 reps on each side. If you can’t, start with five reps on each side.
3. Russian crunch
Sit on a decline bench, with your legs held under the pads. If you do not have a decline bench, lie on the ground on your back with your feet on the floor and knees folded. Take support on your feet such that they remain rooted on the floor, or ask someone to stand on your feet. Now lean back so that your thighs and torso form a 90-degree angle. With abs crunched, keep both your hands on your chest and twist your abdomen to the right first, then left, then right and left again. All of this will make for one repetition. Perform the motion as quickly as you can without compromising on the form. Do 10 reps if possible. Or start with five and work your way up to 10.
4. Hip raise and leg raise
Lie down on a flat bench with your legs up and perpendicular to the ground. Hold the bench behind your head to remain steady. Now contract your lower ab muscles and lift your hips off the bench. Make sure your legs remain perpendicular to the ground. Hold for three seconds and lower your hips to normal position.
Remain in the position and lower your legs till they are at an angle of 180 degrees with your body. Hold for three seconds and return your legs to the perpendicular position. This is one repetition. Perform 10 reps in all.
The wood chop targets the obliques. Unlike the static plank, it targets your middle while it is in motion. Grab a ball, the size of a football with both hands. Stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet apart — a little wider than the hip distance. Raise your hands with the ball at higher than eye level and twist your abdomen on the left. Imagine that you are holding an axe in your hands and chopping wood. Now, chop the ball down diagonally across your body towards your right knee. Return to the starting position and do 10 reps on each side.
Lie down on your back on the ground and your body straight. Raise your arms towards the ceiling. Now, with hands raised, abs crunched, simultaneously raise your legs off the ground. The weight of your body should be on your glutes and knees should not be bent. Your legs and torso should form a 90-degree angle, and your fingertips should be almost touching your toes. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
7. Wiper crunch
Lie on your back with your arms in the T-position for better balance. Lift your legs in the air so that they are perpendicular to the ground and your knees are straight. Let both legs fall towards the ground on the left side (without touching the floor). Now, move your legs together from the left to the right, and let them fall towards the ground (without touching the floor) on the right. The motion is very similar to how wipers move on the windshield of your car. This makes for one repetition. Repeat 10 times.
8. Reverse crunch
Lie down on a bench with your legs raised in the air and knees bent at 90 degrees. Grab the bench behind your head for remain steady. Keeping your back straight, raise your hips off the bench. Crunch your ab muscle to pull your knees towards your chest. At this point your body weight should lie on your shoulders and upper back. Hold the crunch for three seconds. Return to the starting position and perform 10 reps.
9. Side on crunch ball
Turn sideways and firmly place your right hip on a Swiss ball. Ensure that you are leaning into the ball, with your weight on the right hip, and torso and legs in a straight line. For support, press the soles of your feet against the bottom of a wall. Place your hands near your ears, and lift your torso as far up as you can by contracting your left oblique muscles. Hold for three seconds and repeat on the other side. Perform 10 reps on each side. If 10 seems difficult start with five.
These abdominal exercises must be performed with a proper diet and a fatburning cardio regimen. Do these exercise five times a week. If all goes as per plan, you will start developing six pack abs in three months.