Exercises For Stronger Stomach Muscles

By Charles Hopkins Published 09/20/2007 | Fitness
Most people want to look their best, especially during the warmer spring/summer months where most people dress on the lighter side. To look your best, many people focus on strengthening and tightening up their stomach muscles. If you look even a little bit, you can find many stomach muscle exercises to consider for your exercise program. So which exercises would be best for you?

There are a couple of things to consider before choosing the actual exercise program to strengthen and shape your midsection. The first thing is you need to do is pick a program you are really willing to complete and stick with, since no exercise program will have any benefit long term of you don't keep it up. The second thing to consider is to choose a set of exercises that work all the various muscles groups that form the abdomen from the obliques to the upper and lower abdominal muscles.

Stomach crunches have always been a popular and effective stomach exercise. Regular crunches work the front stomach muscles while side crunches work the obliques. Crunches are not perfect though, and for some can cause back and neck strain.

A crunchless crunch exercise is a lower abdominal core exercise where the intent is pull the lower abdominal muscles at the belly button inward toward your spine and hold for 10 seconds. This really works those lower muscles that you probably did not even know where there. This type of exercise is done while kneeling or when lying on your stomach. This exercise also eliminates the back and neck strain you may get with a normal crunch.

A long arm crunch involves lying on your back and with knees bent and feet flat. Put your arms straight back as if to reach over your head and then contract your stomach muscles slowly and lift your arms head and shoulders off the floor to about a 30 degree angle. Hold this position for a few seconds and then slowly go back to your original position. Rinse and repeat for a set.

The hip lift involves lying on your back with arms at your sides and palms up. Then lift your legs straight to about a 90 degree angle to your torso and hold. Now contract your lower abdominal muscles at your belly button to your spine. At the same time, lift your hips off the floor to a height of 2-3 inches and hold there, your legs still being held straight upward. after a few seconds lower your hips back to the floor and then repeat the cycle for a set.

Another good stomach muscle exercise involves laying flat on your stomach with legs straight and arms extended above your head. Now, raise your body up with hands clasped together as if you were doing a pushup. Hold this position for as long as you can stand it and repeat as desired. This exercise strengthens your whole stomach.

The Pilates workout offers a good stomach muscles exercise because each Pilate exercise focuses on strengthening the core of the body otherwise know as your stomach muscles. Almost every movement in Pilates will work the stomach muscles directly or indirectly so Pilates is a good choice to consider.

There are other stomach muscle exercises out there not mentioned here that are good as well like the vertical leg crunch and the torso twist. If you are serious about working and strengthening your abdominal muscles you will find it advantageous to try several different stomach muscle exercises to find which ones work best for you.