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Get the Body You Deserve: Three Rock-Hard Ab Workout Techniques
Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you do every day. For many of us, that means making time to relax , eating healthy and exercising – and we want to see and feel the positive results of all that hard work. When you nourish your body with the right fuel and maximize your time at the gym, you’ll feel happier, more energetic and ready to take on the world. You’ll also want to keep taking your exercise to the next level, and there’s one routine that’s an especially common target: the abs workout.
As Tony Robbins says, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” It’s time to focus on getting the midsection you’ve always wanted.
Take some inspiration from Owen McKibbin, a seven-time Men’s Health magazine cover model. He built his rock-hard abs while suffering from a broken back. McKibbin had a fractured vertebra in his lower back his entire life – until a physician diagnosed it when he was 30. Doctors think he may have been born with it, or he may have broken it in college while exercising with an injured ankle. “The only thing that relieved the pain was keeping my stomach tight and my hamstrings loose,” says McKibbin, now 35. He still works out six days a week, training his midsection and doing 45 minutes of aerobics.
You don’t need to break your back to get the abs of your dreams. You can take your exercise routine to the next level and see real results with McKibbin’s three favorite midsection exercises:
1. Cat back
Cat back is an ideal exercise for beginners. This exercise works the strap of muscles that run from the top of your hip bones to the bottom of your neck. It’s a traditional yoga move and increases flexibility in the neck and shoulders – an added benefit to your abs workout.
Rest your hands and knees on a padded surface, with your hands (palms down) directly beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips. Slowly raise your head toward the ceiling, and reverse arch your back by pressing your midsection toward the floor. Hold this starting position for a moment; then, drop your head between your arms and suck in your gut to round your back, like a cat. Pause and return to the starting position. Do three sets of 20 repetitions.
There’s a reason so many people use crunches in an attempt to get hard abs – the results are astounding. To optimize this part of your workout and get the lasting results you’re looking for, follow these instructions:
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, your fingers touching (but not interlocked). Bring your heels close to your butt, keep your knees together and pigeon-toe your feet. Once you’re in position, sit up and lift your shoulders as if you were trying to touch your ribs to your pelvis. Pause for a second, then lower your shoulders (but don’t relax your abs) and repeat. Proper breathing is key during this part of your abs workout: Breathe through your nose for a more effective crunch. Do one set of 25 reps.
3. Decline Curlup
Decline curlups are an excellent exercise to have in your rock-hard abs arsenal. It can be modified for everyone, so as you master your routine and reach your fitness goals, you can increase its intensity.
This is a tough one, and you will need to use a decline bench (slant board) adjusted so it’s almost flat, but slightly declined. Lie on your back with your head near the top of the board, secure your feet under the padded bars and grab the board above you. Bend your knees and lift your feet so they’re close to your butt. Slowly curl your knees toward your chest as you exhale. Inhale when you lower your hips. To modify the routine for a higher level of difficulty, you can increase the angle of the decline bench. You can also increase your reps: You should probably start with two sets of 15 reps, but McKibbin does five sets of 20 at the expert level.
Are you ready to elevate your workout? Start with these expert-recommended midsection exercises and get massive results. Then, upgrade your healthy lifestyle even more: Step into a trim, light and carefree life this year with The Body You Deserve and all of Tony Robbins’ health solutions.