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Tired of the same ol’ sit-up routine? Try these variations… in just 5 minutes

We’ve designed a sit-up routine that involves no crunches.

You won't get abs like this overnight.
You won't get abs like this overnight.
Image: Shutterstock/sheff

SIT UPS ARE probably the most common abdominal exercise as they’re appropriate for all levels – but it’s important they be done correctly.

Mistakes include arching of the lower back, unnecessary stress on the neck muscles and the exercise is done too quickly.

So with that in mind we’ve designed a five-minute, five-exercise ab workout routine with no crunches. The routine involves 5-10 rounds where you work for 50 seconds and rest for 10.

1. Toe to hand diagonal touch

Source: muscleinferno/YouTube

YouTube: Muscle Inferno

Start position: Lie flat on your back, your arms and legs fully extended.

Action: Lift your left leg until it’s as close to parallel to the floor as possible and at the same time raise your right hand to touch your toe.

Opposite leg to opposite hand, in other words, bringing your shoulder blade off the mat.

Most beginners will be unable to touch their toes so just go as far as you can.

2. Lying ball squeeze

Source: ThriveTraining/YouTube

YouTube: Thrive Training

Start position: Lie on your back, arms extended out to the sides, palms down to stop your upper body from rolling around.

Action: With your feet planted on the floor and your knees bent, place a light gym ball between your knees, keeping it firmly in place by squeezing your thighs together.

Now, contract your abs and slowly lower your knees to one side, aiming for your knees to touch the floor (but this probably won’t be possible for beginners). Return to the starting position, then repeat to the other side.

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If it’s easy, put the ball between the arches of your feet and do the same movement.

3. Bicycles

Source: LIVESTRONG.COM/YouTube

YouTube: Livestrong

Start position: Lying flat on your back bring your hands behind your head and your legs into a table-top position.

Action: Now, just like the first exercise we’re going to go right elbow to left knee, alternating from side to side to really target the obliques. It’s important to keep your core tight and your shoulders off the mat.

4. Leg raises

Source: Howcast/YouTube

YouTube: Howcast

Starting position: Lie on your back and hold two dumbbells straight out in front of you for balance. The heavier the dumbbell the easier the leg raises will be.

Action: Lift your legs a few inches off the floor, fold for a second and then bring them into an upright position. At the highest point, lift your bum off the floor a tiny bit. This really targets your lower ab muscles – the ones that are hardest to define. This little ‘lift’ is absolutely crucial to it.

Toe touches

Source: LIVESTRONG.COM/YouTube

YouTube: Livestrong

Start position: Lie flat on your back but bring your feet into an upright position.

Action: Reach up to your toes, or as far as you can. Try to keep those knees locked out if you can. Hold for a second at the highest point and relax, exhaling on the way down.

This again targets the lower abs.

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About the author:

Brian Canty

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