Below are some great exercises to increase your stomach strength (and get those 6-pack abs!). The pictures will show us using equipment in the gym, but you can just as easily substitute things around the house (beds, couches, tables, etc) to help you perform a lot of these exercises – be creative! You’ll also notice that some of the terminology we use are just slang terms that have evolved over time while doing these in the gym…you may have different names for some of these exercises.
Hang completely still from a bar. Keeping your legs straight, lift your toes to touch the bar. Lower your legs slowly back to a straight hang, being sure not to drop your legs too quickly, causing a swing. Repeat the exercise. If you have a bar that sticks out from the wall, this works well to prevent you from swinging.
Start from laying down straight body on your back with your arms over your head. Lift your lower body and upper body at the same time, piking up and touching your toes with your hands. Lower back down and without touching your feet or shoulders to the ground, repeat the exercise.V-ups
Start from laying down straight body on your back with your arms over your head. Lift your lower body and upper body at the same time, piking up and touching your toes with your hands. Lower back down and without touching your feet or shoulders to the ground, repeat the exercise.
|Tuck-ups Starting from a lying position, tuck your knees and lift your chest at the same time. Sit all the way up with your knees into your chest and then extend back to the lying down position. You can also return to a hollow position, so that your feet and shoulders never touch the ground while performing the tuck-up. This keeps the stomach muscles contracted the entire time, and is generally our preferred method of performing this exercise.|
|Crunches Feet on the floor and knees bent. Hands can be behind your head or across your chest. Be sure not to pull on your head with your hands. Sit up a little bit more than half of a regular sit-up. As you sit up, breathe out and think about lifting your chin up toward the ceiling.|
|Side Crunches These are performed on both sides. Use your bottom arm for balance, but be sure not to push against the ground with it to assist you during the crunch. Tuck your knees into your chest, while simultaneously lifting your top shoulder and head up toward the top of your hip.|
|Hollow Hold Lay flat on your back with your arms over your head. Round your body to a hollow position so that only your lower back and hips are touching the ground. Your feet should be about 6 to 8 inches off the ground. Keep your arms over your head with your head between them. Your shoulders should be rounded so that your shoulder blades do not stick out. Hold this position.|
|Ice Cream Makers Start from a straight-body hang on a bar. Pull your chin above the bar and then, maintaining a straight body, lift your toes up, lean back and straighten your arms. Your body will act like a teeter-totter. Pull your chin back up above the bar, and then rock back again, straightening your arms and bringing your toes back up with straight body. Repeat the exercise.|
|Hanging Sit-ups Hook your knees over the edge of the vaulting table or a box high off the ground. Your coach or teammate should sit on top of your legs to hold you down. You should be high enough off the ground so that you can hang straight down without your head touching the floor. Sit up, bringing your chest to your knees. Lower back down slowly and repeat the exercise.|