Spring is officially here, which means we have less than 100 days until summer. Nothing says summer like a washboard stomach. However, achieving high-definition abs isn’t as easy as cranking out crunch after crunch. Since you won’t wake up one day and magically have abs, we spoke with Teresa Oxford, Brand Ambassador of iLoveKickboxing, who shared some of her unique secrets to a six-pack. See below for Oxford’s favorite workouts for building a lean, cut core.
- Elbow Plank
A push-up position, but elbows are on the ground along with hands. Make sure to keep head up and eyes looking forward to assist with proper posture. Tighten up the abs and breathe normally. Hold for 30-60 second intervals.
- Mountain Climbers
Start from a push up position and bring your right knee up to your left elbow while leaving your left foot on the ground. Head up and eyes focused forward. Alternate this movement left and right to simulate running up a hill. Keep abs engaged and move as fast as you can 45-60 seconds at a time.
- Pulse Ups
Lying flat on your back with feet together and point them straight up at the ceiling. Your hands are palms down at your sides and your body should form a 90 degree angle or an “L” position. Push your feet up and get your butt and lower back to leave the floor in a slow and controlled movement. “Pulse” your way up and down for 10-15 reps at a time. Breathe “out” when pulsing “up”.
- Criss Cross
While lying on your back, place your hands underneath your butt with palms facing down. Lift your legs 6-12 inches off the floor and alternate one over the other in a scissor-type motion. Keep your head off the ground and eyes should be focused on your feet. Be careful not to pull your chin all the way to your chest, leave a them a few inches apart. Make sure to breathe in and out naturally. Do 15-30 reps.
While lying on the ground place both hands behind your head and lift it off the ground. Hold it in a static position while you alternate bringing each knee, one at a time, towards your chest. Both feet and legs should be off the ground at all times. You can vary this with where you attempt to being each knee to the opposite elbow in a “twisting” motion. Do this for 30-60 seconds.
- Side Plank
Lay completely on your side. Prop yourself up on one elbow and assume a sideways plank position. Keep your hips off the ground. Your “planking” hand can form a fist to help you tighten your arm and abs. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Repeat on both right and left sides.
- Windshield Wiper
Lay flat on your back with your arms straight out to each side, palms facing down. Raise both of your legs straight up and keep your legs firmly together as if your ankles are tied to each other. Bring your legs down to the floor, alternating to the right and left side and move them as if they are a “windshield wiper”. Breathe out when the legs come down and breathe in when they come back up. Go back and forth 10-20 times.
- Leg Lifts
While laying on your back place both hands under your butt again, palms down. Raise both legs from the floor, straight up to the ceiling forming a 90 degree angle. Be careful not to go past that point as it will disengage your abdominal muscles. Your head can stay on the ground but you’ll engage more of your abs if you keep it off the floor. Just a few inches will really make a difference. Do 10-20 reps with each leg.
- Cross Crunch
Lay flat on your back with legs bent 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor. Alternate placing one hand behind your head while the other hand reaches out and up, slightly crossing your body. Execute a “crunch” by lifting your head and shoulders off the ground in a slow and controlled movement. Exhale as you reach up, inhale as you come back down. Avoid bringing your head and shoulders back to the floor until all reps have been completed. This will make your abs work harder. Alternate hands and do this 15-30 reps on each side.
- Reverse Crunch
With palms facing down, lay flat on your back eyes looking at the ceiling. Bend your legs to form an “L” shape by bending your knees at a 90 degree angle. Lift your legs up and tilt your hips so that your thighs point straight to the ceiling. Bring your legs back down but avoid touching your feet to the floor by an inch or two. While maintaining that shape, bring your knees up to your chest while exhaling and that becomes one repetition. Go “knees to chest” and then bring “feet to floor” (but don’t touch the floor!) 10-20 times.