Strong, sexy ab muscles require a total approach to your abdominal workout. Machines that work your external obliques, the muscles that run along the sides of your waist, mean you don't have to lie on the floor doing old-fashioned crunches and sit-ups. While you can't spot train to reduce abdominal fat, you can use reliable machines to tone and strengthen your external oblique muscles.
The captain's chair tones and strengthens your lower abs and also recruits your external obliques. The machine is set up high so you have to step up to it to use its padded back and arm rests. Place your feet in the footholds, hold both handles and plant your back against the backrest. Dangle your legs straight down. Exercise your abs by pulling your knees up to your chest and releasing them back to the starting position.
The torso twist machine heavily recruits your obliques due to the rotational workout it offers. Engage your core and move slowly to get the benefit of the exercise. Adjust the seat so that your knees and chest rest comfortably against the pads. Set the weight to what challenges you within 8 to 12 repetitions. Grasp both handles and shift from the center to the right side and back to center until fatigued. Switch to your left side and repeat for the same number of reps.
The crunch machine simulates classic crunches, only you sit on a bench using the machine to provide better head, neck and back support. Adjust the seat, set the weight and place your feet under the pads or on the footrests. Position your elbows on the pads and grab the handles. Squeeze your abs and push forward with your torso, feeling your entire core working to move the weight. Hold for a moment and release back to starting.
The rowing machine works out both your abs and your cardiovascular system. Sit on the rower and secure your feet in the footholds. Set the lever to your the level of resistance you need. Grab the bar with both hands and pull toward your chest, while pushing your legs straight. Pull your legs back toward your torso, which engages your entire core including the obliques, while pushing the bar inward.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.