I’m kind of a fanatic about ab exercises. I make sure to include some every time I do a workout. The reason? I want to avoid back pain. Yes, you need to tone your abs to help your back. If you’ve ever experienced back pain, you never want to again. It’s teary-eyed painful. You can’t sit. You can’t lie down. You can’t walk. Stairs are impossible. You can’t bend down. You’re just in agony. All the time. And once you experience back pain like I have, you’ll do just about anything to not experience it ever again. So that means that I include abdominal exercises in workouts. I talked about this a couple of years ago, and I still focus on the core.
Some of what I do
I do crunches on the floor. Crunches on a stability ball. I plank and modify those planks. I do renegade rows – planks with weights. Side planks. Pilates and yoga. I do boat poses and V-sits. You name it, I do it.
The benefits of ab exercises
I’m not into getting a six-pack. I’m 65 – I don’t need to show it off. (And I’ve never liked beer, except at Wrigley Field.) BUT I do want to make sure my back is strong. I also want to improve my balance and my stability. If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I emphasize balance. We lose it as we age, which leads to falls, and that’s frightening. As we get older there are lots of things we lose and our sense of balance is one. But this is one we can actually do something about. Check out my free downloadable .pdf for your “Week of Balance.”
So, if you tone your abs you get benefits other than a strong core.
Other ways to tone your abs
But you don’t have to do actual abdominal exercises to tone your abs.
Just pulling in your stomach is a start. Anytime, anywhere. Even sitting in your chair or lying in bed. Think about it, and suck it in. You probably won’t see a difference if you only do this without doing any other ab exercise, but your stomach will get stronger.
You can also think about bracing your core – like feeling a vest tightening around your middle. This may take a bit of practice to engage the muscles, but keep at it. Be sure to breathe while you’re pulling in your stomach and bracing your core.
Happy toning! Remember – don’t tone your abs for your stomach – it’s for your back and all the rest of you.