Everyone wants good abs, whether it’s for the summer holidays or just to look great on social media photos, but they most definitely don’t come easily. In order to gain the desired look, you need determination, consistency and motivation, plus lots of hard work in the gym and a clean diet…still up for it?
Although you can’t specifically target fat loss in a specific area, this comes from full body, intense workouts, it is possible to add definition to your abs through core specific workouts, as well as engaging your core in compound movements such as squats and deadlifts.
Having a strong core isn’t just about looking good, it’s the centre of your balance and having a weak core is one of the leading causes of back pain in a lot of adults. If you aren’t engaging your core muscles properly, your lower back compensates for this and overworks, leading to muscle spasms which can progressively get worse. The core is made up of 3 main parts:
-Rectus Abdominis – external ‘6 pack’
-Transverse Abdominis – internal central part of the core
-Oblique – sides of the core
Working all of these muscles will ensure your core stays strong and there is no muscle imbalance, so we’ve chosen our top 5 core exercises to work each of these areas, they can be incorporated into your workout or done separately.
Either your favourite or your worst nightmare…Lie flat on the floor and lift up onto your elbows and toes, the aim is to keep your core from dropping down to the ground so you want to engage the stomach muscles and remain as straight as possible. Keep the knees straight and avoid dipping your bum in or raising it. If you don’t have a partner to ensure you are straight, watch yourself in a mirror. This exercise engages the transverse muscles.
Lie flat on your back, extending the legs and arms, tuck your tailbone under to ensure that your back isn’t arched off the ground. Then, slowly lift your legs and arms to meet in the air, then slowly lower back down without letting the arms or legs touch the ground, then repeat. If this is too difficult, place your hands under your bum and just raise the legs. This is another great exercise for the transverse muscles but also works the rectus abdominis
Lie on your back and place your hands by the side of your head. Then bring your right knee to your chest and twist your core to bring the left elbow over to it. Then return the leg to a straight position and whilst the left knees comes up and the opposite elbow meets it. Keep doing this at a fast pace to work your oblique muscles.
This exercise is great for working the core and raising your heart rate at the same time. Get into the full plank position (arms extended) and alternatively draw each knee into the chest, trying to keep your back as flat as possible, drawing the core in and not letting your bum rise in the air. The quicker you go the more difficult it will be.
Lying on your back, tuck your hands under your bum and alternatively kick your feet upwards in a small and quick movement. The smaller the movement the harder it is, therefore if this is too difficult to begin with, create a larger movement with your legs, but ensuring that your tail bone remains tucked and your lower back doesn’t arch. If you have a bit of lower belly trouble this is great to tone that specific area.