Aside from just looking good, having a stronger abdominal core has many benefits for athletes of all kinds. Studies have shown that strong abs help strengthen your back, help your balance and stability, and promote a good posture. Additionally, if you practice a combat sport where you could potentially be getting hit in your stomach pretty hard, so having a rock solid core is a lot more beneficial than having a marshmallow belly.
Here are four effective ab exercises that will strengthen your core.
1) Leg Raises
This particular exercise stimulates the center of your abdomen. Lie down on the floor and place your hands beside your gluts with your palms facing down. Slowly raise your legs off the ground while keeping them as straight as possible until you reach a ninety degree angle. Hold for one second, and then slowly bring your legs back down. It’s imperative that you do this exercise slowly. Begin by trying three sets of fifteen. If that’s too easy, try three sets of twenty.
2) Twist and Crunch
It’s time to harden those sides. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your neck. Raise your torso and twist at the same time. Try to touch your elbow to your opposite knee, pause, and then lower your torso slowly. Try three sets of twenty.
3) Russian Twist
This exercise mainly targets your obliques but also stimulates your back muscles. Start by sitting on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about a foot away from your butt. If your trying this without a weight, place your hands together at ribcage level straight out in front of you. Remain stationary and twist slowly in a direction of your choosing. Try twisting far enough to where you can tap your hands on the floor without breaking form. Do this exercise very slowly. Your core gets stimulated by slowly rotating your torso — not by wildly swinging your arms.
Begin by lying flat on your back with your arms fully extended behind your head. Lift your legs off the ground to a forty-five degree angle while trying your best to keeping them as straight as possible. At the same time, bring your arms from over your head to try and touch your feet. Go back down slowly. Try three sets of fifteen.