Crazy Ivans from Ab Exercises for a Firm, Flat Stomach

Ab Exercises for a Firm, Flat Stomach

Catarina Cowden

This exercise primarily targets your hamstring and glute muscles but includes a large core component because it requires a great deal of balance. Set up one side of the cable machine at an appropriate height, as pictured to the left. Grab the handle with your right hand and take a few steps backward so that the weight stack is lifted about halfway. Firmly plant your left leg on the ground and be sure to start with a tall stance, your gaze looking straight ahead, core tight and your shoulders back and down. Lift your right leg off the ground and start to lightly kick it back behind you as you begin to fold forward at your hips. Be sure to maintain your spinal alignment by keeping your core engaged at all times. Aim to extend so that your torso is eventually parallel with the ground, you may not be able to achieve the full range of motion right away though, so extend up to where you feel comfortable when first starting out. Slowly reverse the motion, pulling through your left hamstring and glute muscles while also concentrating on keeping your core engaged as you return to the standing position. Preform 10-15 reps on each side.

Crazy Ivans

Catarina Cowden

The twisting motion of this exercise primarily targets your obliques, but adding the upward lift with a dumbbell will work your shoulder muscles, too. Start seated with your knees slightly bent and a dumbbell in your hands. Your torso should lean back slightly so that your abs are engaged. Keep your entire core tight as you touch the dumbbell down to the floor on your left and then twist to the right as you raise it up above your head until your arms are stretched above you completely. Lower the dumbbell back to the floor on your left by reversing the twist. Preform 10-15 reps on each side.

Plank Cable Rows

Catarina Cowden

This is an isometric ab exercise, but it also includes a dynamic component that targets your back and bicep muscles. Set up one side of the cable machine at an appropriate height, as pictured to the left. Place yourself in high plank position one or two feet away from the cable machine. (When you grab the handle and your arm is stretched out straight the weight stack should be lifted so that there is resistance through the entire movement.) As you row your arm back concentrate on keeping your elbow tucked in close to your body and maintaining your spinal alignment by keeping your core engaged the same way you would while performing a stationary plank. Preform 10-15 reps on each side.


Standing Cable Pushes

Catarina Cowden

This is also an isometric exercise that primarily targets your abdominal muscles by forcing you to keep them contracted as you move your arms in and out. Set up one side of the cable machine at an appropriate height, as pictured to the left. Grab the handle with both hands and take a few lateral steps away from the machine so that the weight stack is lifted about halfway. Angle your shoulders away from the machine. Be sure to stand up tall with your gaze looking straight ahead and your shoulders back and down. Keep your core tight by tucking your hips under and drawing your belly button towards your spine. Extend your arms all the way forward and then draw them back in to your chest. Preform 10-15 reps. 

Hanging Knee Raises

Catarina Cowden

This exercise primarily targets your lower abdominal muscles and also includes an isometric component for the muscles of your upper body. Begin hanging from a pull-up bar (use a step or bench to get up if you need help). Start with your legs fully extended and then use your core to lift your knees up towards your chest so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Slowly lower your legs back down towards the floor, making sure to extend your legs fully for each rep in order to get the full range of motion. Preform 10-15 reps. 

Single-Leg Cable Deadlifts

Catarina Cowden

This exercise primarily targets your hamstring and glute muscles but includes a large core component because it requires a great deal of balance. Set up one side of the cable machine at an appropriate height, as pictured to the left. Grab the handle with your right hand and take a few steps backward so that the weight stack is lifted about halfway. Firmly plant your left leg on the ground and be sure to start with a tall stance, your gaze looking straight ahead, core tight and your shoulders back and down. Lift your right leg off the ground and start to lightly kick it back behind you as you begin to fold forward at your hips. Be sure to maintain your spinal alignment by keeping your core engaged at all times. Aim to extend so that your torso is eventually parallel with the ground, you may not be able to achieve the full range of motion right away though, so extend up to where you feel comfortable when first starting out. Slowly reverse the motion, pulling through your left hamstring and glute muscles while also concentrating on keeping your core engaged as you return to the standing position. Preform 10-15 reps on each side.

Knee-ups

Catarina Cowden

This exercise primarily targets your lower abdominal muscles and your glutes, and if you perform it quickly enough so that your heart rate increases it can serve as a cardio exercise, too. Set up a bench, box or sturdy chair as pictured to the left. Start with a tall stance, your gaze looking straight ahead, core tight and your shoulders back and down. When you’re ready to begin, step up onto the bench with your right foot and follow through by drawing your left leg up towards your chest. Keep your core tight and engaged the entire time and focus on squeezing your abdominal muscles as your draw your left knee up. Step back down with your left leg (leave your right leg on the bench) and repeat. Preform 10-15 reps on each side.

Plank Walk-Ups

Catarina Cowden

This is an isometric ab exercise, but it also includes a dynamic component that targets your shoulders. Start in high plank position, be sure to maintain your spinal alignment by focusing your gaze slightly forward (don’t let your chin fall towards your chest) and drawing your belly button in towards your spine to maintain a tight core. Lower onto your right elbow and then your left, then raise back up into high plank position one arm at a time, starting with your right. (You can alternate between leading with your right and left arms.) Focus on keeping your hips in line with your spine, you want to avoid tilting them from side to side. Perform for 15-60 seconds.

Boat Pose Knee Extensions

Catarina Cowden

This is also an isometric ab exercise that includes a dynamic component for the muscles of the lower abdominal muscles. Start in boat pose with your calves parallel to the ground. Gently lower the tips of your feet to the ground by flexing your knees. Tap the ground very lightly and then immediately extend your knees to return to the starting position. Repeat for 15-60 seconds.