Whatever your fitness routine, adding just a few minutes of abdominal exercises into your repertoire can go a long way to strengthen your core and give you a sculpted center. The following three exercises were put together to target the entire abdominal wall and will maximize results in minimal time.
Jacknife: Lay on your back, pull your knees into your chest, raise your shoulders off the floor and hug your body to make a tight ball. Slowly extend your legs out to a 45 degree angle and extend your arms above your head. Sweep your arms and legs back into your straight position and repeat 8-10 times.
Bicycle Crunches: Place your hands behind your head, keeping fingertips light and maintain the space between the chin and your chest. Press your navel to your spine, point the right toe and extend the right leg parallel to the floor and just a few inches above it. Bend the left leg, pulling left knee into the chest and rotate the right shoulder toward the left knee. In a fluid motion and on the exhale, switch the upper and lower body position so that the left shoulder is now rotates toward the right knee. Continue these bicycle crunches for 16-20 repetitions.
Hover Crunch & Lifts: Lay on your back, extend your legs straight up in the air, so that the body creates an "L" shape. With pointed toes, lower one leg down towads the floor so that the foot hovers just a few inches above the floor. With your fingers behind your head, lift the shoulders a few inches off the floor, contracting the abdominal muscles as you press your navel into your spine. Lower the shoulders and repeat this hover crunch three times. Then lift the lowered leg to your starting position and begin reverse curls. Using the muscles in your lower abdominals, lift the hips up just a few iches off the floor and then lower back down. Repeat this lifting motions three times. Then complete three more hover crunches with the opposite leg lowered toward the floor. Continue alternating between three hover crunches and three reverse curls for 6-8 repetitions.
Be sure to finish these floor exercises off with for the abdominals. Cobra, cat, and cow are all terrific yoga stretches that will support core flexibilty and leave your lower back feeling strong after intense floor work. So get on the floor and strengthen that core!