You don’t need crunches to get solid abs. Here are some simple unconventional ways to achieve strong functional abs without having to spend hours at the gym. They can be done after your regular gym session or integrated with you workout. The great thing about these training methods is that they will get you results and they can all be done easily with minimal equipment. Doing a 5 minute circuit of all the exercises after finishing a workout in the gym is ideal. Start feeling the burn.
1. Negative Chin-ups
These are definitely a favorite ab exercise for many women. They are done simply by:
- Jumping up the the chin-up position on a bar
- Lowering yourself slowly (10 seconds)
- Repeat for 8-12 reps
As you get stronger with these start hanging weight but do not sacrifice your form or how slow you lower yourself. I guarantee you a set or two of these will get your abs burning, as well as your back and biceps.
2. Stomach Vacuum
Your Abs and lower back are made to stabilize your body, not much else. So when you suck in your stomach like I did as a kid on the beach your whole midsection starts to activate its stabilization instincts. Vacuums are especially important if you suffer from lower back pain as it activates the transversus abdominis which is the deepest of your abdominal muscles.
Here’s how to do it:
- “Lying on the floor, exhale completely, forcing all the air out of the lungs/ diaphragm with your abdominal muscles. Next, instead of inhaling, suck in your gut, pulling it in so far that you can imagine your abs actually touching your spine. Since there’s no air in your lungs, you should be able to suck your stomach way in, which will contract your transversus abdominis.
- Practice holding this vacuum for longer and longer periods of time. Eventually, your waist will get smaller, providing you don’t stuff yourself at meals and bloat with massive amounts of liquids between meals.
- After you have achieved a sense of control in the lying position, next practice the standing position. Initially, it will be easier to achieve the vacuum if you press your palms against your upper thighs after exhaling and sucking in your gut.
- The final step in doing the ultimate vacuum is to start practicing with your hands behind your neck.This particular vacuum is not easy, but keep at it.
- I like to do this after workouts when my abs are already weak, usually holding the vacuum for around 20 seconds and then taking a break before repeating.
3. Hold something heavy over your head
This is one of my favorite’s but it requires a gym or a heavy barbell.
- Push Press a heavy weight over your head (not too heavy, be sensible)
- Hyper extend your arms and contract your midsection and stand
- After about 10 seconds you should start to feel your midsection weaken and shake, this means your abs are working full-out to stabilize your body
- Repeat for 2-3 sets of 20 seconds
4. Throw something heavy
This is another great one but requires a heavy medicine ball but a big rock will do if you want to go primal.
- Head out to a park or playing field with a medicine ball
- Throw the thing as far as you can
- Run towards it and repeat
- When you feel your abs weaken, your work is done
5. Dumbell Pullovers
This actually makes your abs sore, and it’s not just for your lats. A favorite of many women bodybuilders. This is a great exercise and should be part of everyone’s full body training regime, its old school but it works!
You Want Streamline Functional Abs
Remember, function is what we should ultimately strive for. Forget the crunches and conventional abdominal training, the only way to build abs for real is to do real exercises that will benefit your bodies functionality in the real world. I guarantee you a combination of these technique’s will get your mid-section sore and feeling deeply worked out.