Having a strong core is not just about aesthetics, it affects everything from posture and back pain, to flexibility and overall training ability.
The core is not limited to the muscles on your stomach, it actually wraps around your entire torso; your sides and lower back, extending to your hips, pelvis and glutes.
Therefore, to achieve a strong core you want to work all these muscles. Either integrate a few ab moves into your session by switching between cardio (fat burning) and ab (muscle building) moves or finish with core isolation.
If you throw a few core strengthening moves into your workouts, trust me, your body will thank you; it only takes 10 minutes, a few times a week to see and feel results.
I have devised a little circuit made up of 4 movements that target the lower, upper, oblique and glute core muscles. Chuck it in at the end of your workout and complete it once, twice or ideally three times for the best results.
Move 1= Bicycles 30 (15 each side)
Target= upper, lower abdominals and obliques
Bring your hands behind your head, feet off the floor; ensure your back is flat to the ground. Bring one knee into your chest and touch the opposite elbow to the outside of the knee, repeat on the other side. Exhale as your elbow reaches for your knee.
Don’t strain your neck or allow your back to come off the floor. If you’re struggling, bend your knees, put your feet on the floor and bring your elbow to the outside of the opposite thigh/knee.
Move 2=Leg Raises 15
Target= lower abs, hip flexors, glutes
Again it is paramount that your back is pressed flat to the ground and your navel is pulled in (imagine you’re squeezing your belly button to your spine). Only take your legs down as far as you can without your back lifting away from the floor. Exhale when you raise your legs and inhale as you lower them.
Your hands can be by your side or under the base your spine (I find that helps my back).
Move 3=Toe touches 20
Target= upper and mid abs, obliques
Legs straight, feet in line with your hips, back flat to the floor, abs engaged. Exhale as your reach for your toes, inhale as you roll through your spine to the floor.
Move 4=Plank spider 20 (10 each side)
Targets= obliques, upper, mid and lower abs, backs, hips and glutes
In a plank; either on your hands or forearms, bring your knee to your outer elbow. Keep your back flat, abs pulled in tight, shoulders in line with your hands/elbows and neck neutral. Exhale as you bring the knee to elbow.
Unfortunately, you cannot achieve a strong toned body and flat abs without hard work and good nutrition. The general rule is 80% diet, 20% exercise, that’s why people often say “abs are made in the kitchen”.
Give it a go, you’re ab-solutely worth it. x