Fact: Your core is among the most important muscle groups in your body. According to the health experts at Harvard Medical School, having a strong core—the “sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body”—isn’t just great for looking amazing in a swimsuit. Working on your abs can help you become a better walker and runner (and athlete overall), and improves your balance, flexibility, and posture. If you’re not working your abs and core you may find daily physical tasks more difficult, and you’ll be much more at risk of developing lower back pain as you grow older.
If you’d like to get a firmer core and flatter belly starting now, incorporate the following four next-level moves—all courtesy of John Sitaras, the Founder & CEO of Sitaras Technologies, and the man behind New York City’s ultra-luxurious workout mecca Sitaras Fitness—into your daily exercise routine starting now. These moves will attack your abs from every angle—and will ensure that you don’t have any weak links in your body’s physiological chain. And for more great fitness advice you can use to live a happier and healthier life, make sure you’re aware of The 11-Minute Workout That’s Scientifically Proven to Work, According to the Mayo Clinic.
Hang from a chin-up bar. Your hands should be slightly more than shoulder-width apart and your feet shouldn’t touch the floor. (Use arm straps if you don’t have strong upper-body muscles.) Keeping your back straight, slowly lift your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your calves are perpendicular to it. Hold this position for one or two seconds, then slowly lower your legs. On the 10th and final rep, hold the raised-leg position for 10 seconds. Do three sets. As you become stronger, add sets until you can complete 10 sets of 10 reps with perfect form.
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Raise an inverted sit-up bench to its highest angle. Put your feet into the foot supports and lie flat on the bench. Extend your arms so that they’re perpendicular to your torso. Keeping your back straight, slowly lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the bench by two-to-three inches. Hold this position for one or two seconds, then lower yourself back to the bench and repeat. Do three sets of 20 reps. And for more great exercises you can do practically anywhere, check out The One Workout That Drives 29 Percent More Fat Loss, Says Science
Stay on the inverted sit-up bench (keep it raised to its highest angle), but this time lie on your back with your head resting on the foot supports. Firmly grasp the foot supports with your hands; your elbows should point forward while your forearms gently touch your ears. Position your legs so that your knees are bent and your heels are touching your buttocks. Slowly raise your legs up to your chest as far as you can, keeping your heels at your buttocks. Hold the position for one or two seconds, then lower your legs. Do three sets of 12 reps.
Lie flat on the floor. Bend your knees at a right angle and raise them into the air, as if you were resting your calves on a bench. Extend your arms above your head. Reach forward from this position, touch your toes, and then roll back to the floor. Do three sets of 20 reps. And for more news from the cutting edge of exercise science, don’t miss The Single Most Effective Way to Work Out Every Day, According to Psychologists.