For the last six months I've been working on developing my core muscles. My back muscles have always been stronger than my abdominal muscles so the focus has been on building abdominal (ab) strength.
I know I will never have a six-pack or anything close to it but that is no reason not to fill the abs with life. Making them stronger has made me stronger. My posture has improved, my ability to pick up heavy things has improved, and my back protection has improved (counter strength balance makes a huge difference).
Sit-ups have never been one of my favorite exercises, ever. I use to painstakingly do them when I was younger but at forty I hate them even more; so I don't do them. I think one of the more common misconceptions running loose out there is that the only way to strengthen your abs is by doing sit-ups. That is not the case, not in the traditional sense anyway.
My abdominal strength has grown from doing yoga poses designed specifically to promote core strength. I found them in an issue of Yoga at Home (Yoga Journal) last year but really wasn't sure what to do with them until I decided I wanted to make building my core strength a focus. There were a number of different poses/movements to try and with trial I found the ones that worked the best for me. Some of my favorites are frog lifting through, twisted root, cleansing by fire, happy baby pose, toe taps, bridge pose, dolphin pose, and plank pose.
Now, I'm not going to take you through these poses, I'm not a yoga instructor but if you are looking for some abdominal strengthening moves that go beyond the traditional sit-up searching for these names will help you get started. I will say however that I don't do them all in one session and I may not even do them in a sequence (although generally I try to). They make a good excuse to take a break from the computer.
Working on my abdominals has given me insight into how they work in my everyday life. By having a focus on them I've noticed just how much they help me throughout the day and how much more they have been able to help me since I've been strengthening them.
I highly recommend you take a new approach to your abdominal muscles that go from trying to achieve a flat stomach to focusing on their strength and the wonderful support they were designed to give us. Do some research this week and find at least one or two new abdominal activities that suit your personality and desire for a stronger core then redirect your focus on it for the next month whenever you have a few minutes to spare.