Strengthening the abs is not just appealing for making the midsection look toned, it’s crucial for creating a stable core to balance with your back and support all your body movement. Neglecting to ad weight or resistance to ab workouts is selling yourself short, since resistance is necessary to properly activate all of the different muscle fibers in the abdomen. Adding weight to your ab workouts will also allow your abs to build muscle instead of just toning what’s already there, which will make the lines pop and create the ripped look that so many people are going for. Here are some ways to do it.
The Elevated Plank
The elevated plank doesn’t require any weights, but it does create the resistance you’re looking for by lifting your feet off the ground. Find a bench or something that you can lift your feet up onto and then get into a plank position and hold it as long as possible with your abs and core engaged. It should burn faster than a traditional plank thanks to the incline you’ve created.
The Weighted Russian Twist
For this exercise you’ll need to use a bench with an incline that can be adjusted. Set it to 30 percent and make sure your feet are secured at the top. You can use either a medicine ball or a weight plate depending on what you have access to or prefer, and either way you will slowly twist to one side with the weight, and then to the other. Try to turn to a complete 90 degree angle on each twist. Keep your abs and entire core engaged through the entire movement to stay safe and keep the muscles that you are trying to work activated.
Sit Ups On a Decline
For this one you can use the incline bench set to the same 30 percent as the last exercise. But this time instead of holding the weight out in front of you, you will carefully hold a weighted plate behind you head, and keep it there as you do sit ups on the incline. The incline alone will add extra resistance to your sit up, and of course the weight will as well.
For this exercise all you need is a weighted kettlebell. You’ll start with the feet planted slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and then clean the kettlebell with one hand while you’re twisting your wrist. Once you reach the top you will bend to your other side and reach the bottom free hand down the the floor, while keeping the kettlebell raised the entire time. Do your reps on this side before switching hands and sides. The weight plus the twisting action of this move is great for engaging the whole core.
The Hanging Leg Raise With a Twist
Here is another workout that uses natural resistance and doesn’t require a weight. Hang from a pull up bar and raise your legs up bent until they form a 90 degree angle to the ground. then you will twist your body from side to side keeping your and engaged and your knees bent the entire time.