6 Exercises to Strengthen Abs and Improve Flexibility

June 15, 2016
The abdomen is the area we most want to target when losing weight, and here are some great exercises to help us do so.

Many of us would love to try some exercises to strengthen abs, but we have to be careful to do it gradually. This will help to avoid pain or injury. The abs are generally the area on the body where we most want to lose weight. We would just love that toned and defined figure!

Unfortunately this area is hard to exercise, because it retains fluids, and accumulates fat along with all kinds of inflammatory discomforts.

The main key to keeping toned abs is to base your diet on low-calorie foods that are rich in essential nutrients. But to have a flat, toned belly you’ll need to follow a physical routine that works each of your muscles.

The benefit of doing this is that it also benefits the spine and certain organs that need to be activated in order to stay in shape. The best part of it all is that you can start doing them at home, so forget the excuse of not having enough time to go to the gym.

And to make things even easier, we’re going to give you the steps for 6 different activities to get started. Why not give it a shot?

Read more: 8 Tips to Keep Your Spine Healthy and Strong

1. Strengthen abs with the “plank”

Woman doing plank exercise.

The plank is a classic exercise for working muscles throughout nearly the entire body. The key is to focus on your physical resistance, while staying balanced and keeping your muscles contracted.

How to do it

  • Firstly, lay face-down on a yoga mat and push up with your arms, supporting yourself on your toes.
  • Keep your back straight and abs completely engaged.
  • Hold the posture for 45 to 60 seconds, then rest.
  • Start with 3 reps, then slowly try to increase.

2. Elbow plank

This is a different version of the previous exercise. Simply help yourself down onto your forearms, not on the palms of your hand.

How to do it

  • Support yourself on the floor using your forearms and toes.
  • Raise your hips a bit and make sure you keep your back straight.
  • Make a straight line with your body from head to toe.
  • Squeeze in your abs and hold for 60 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 to 5 times.

3. Tree pose

Women doing the tree pose.

This exercise can be used to tone and strengthen abs, while also working on concentration and balance.

How to do it

  • Lift your right knee to your chest, balancing all your weight on your left leg.
  • Grab your ankle and support the sole of your right foot on the inner left thigh.
  • Try to hold the posture, squeezing in your abs and joining your palms at your chest.
  • Then slowly raise your hands until you can finally rest your gaze on a specific point.
  • Take 10 deep breaths, rest and change legs.

See more: The Golden Age: finding inner balance and peace

4. Pelvis lifts

The pelvis lift is a healthy activity that strengthen abs and glutes. It takes a little bit of concentration and endurance to hold the position for a few seconds.

How to do it

  • Lay down face-up, bend your knees and grab your ankles with your hands.
  • Then inhale and raise your pelvis to the ceiling.
  • After that, contract your abs and hold the position, without lifting your feet from the floor.
  • Try to hold for 45 seconds, rest, and repeat 5 times.

5. The starfish

A women doing exercises.

This may be a bit tedious at first, but with practice it will slowly become easier. The idea is to start slowly, and increase speed little by little.

How to do it

  • Firstly, lay down on a yoga mat and lift your arms and legs, as if trying to touch the ceiling.
  • Then raise your head and shoulders from the ground, while also extending your arms and legs out to the side (like a starfish).
  • Carefully lower your shoulders and head while moving back into the starting position.
  • Repeat 6 to 10 times.

6. Knees to chest

This is the last of our exercises to strengthen abs. Lifting your knees to your chest while contracting the abdomen can firm and tone muscles. If you can keep your balance without letting your legs fall down, you’ll also be working your glutes.

How to do it

  • Firstly, sit down on the ground with your legs straight out.
  • Then bend your knees and lift them towards your chest.
  • Hold your shins parallel to the ground and breathe in while slowly stretching.
  • Try to keep your back straight at all times, and concentrate on flexing your abs.

Always remember, in order to get good results with these exercises, you’ll have to do them consistently, while also maintaining a healthy diet.

Try to modify each of these positions to prevent injury. Start today!