With spring just around the corner you’ll be reaching for the boardies before you know it! Smart training and nutrition can reward you with a ‘six-pack’ that looks great, but firming up your abdominal muscles has many other benefits.
“Building a strong core can help prevent injury, improve posture, boost agility as well as increase stability and flexibility - making you a better functioning machine in and out of the gym,” says Jess McLeay, a Personal Trainer at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre.
Jess shares some tips for toning up your abs.
PLANK (see main pic)
These are one of the best core conditioning exercises, and a must in your work-out routine. As well as improving posture, they support a healthy back, enhance movement/co-ordination and tone up the mid-section.
Method: get into push-up position on the floor, then bend your elbows 90° and rest your weight on your forearms. Elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, with your body forming a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold the position for as long as you can - start small with 25 second intervals, gradually increasing from there.
Strengthen your core while also working on hip mobility and leg drive.
Method: using a dumbbell or kettlebell, hold in the centre of your chest, keeping your elbows in, shoulders back and chest out. Squat as low as you can without losing the arch in your lower back. As you lower into the squat, really concentrate on activating your core/mid-section. Incorporate this into your routine to light up those abs and progress by increasing the weight you hold.
This one’s a great exercise for your obliques (side abdominals) and improves overall stability.
Method: sit on the floor in the top position of a sit-up and, holding a medicine ball (or a kettlebell or dumbbell – up to you!) with both hands, partially extend your arms out in front. Twist your body to one side (just touching the medicine ball to the floor), then twist back. Alternate sides. To increase difficulty, raise both feet off the ground (keep bent) and perform the twists whilst feet are elevated.
With all core strength training it’s important to remember that quality beats quantity.
“Slow, controlled moves that let you focus on engaging those core muscles will see you reaping the benefits in no time.,” says Jess. “Technique is also paramount so, if you’re unsure about an exercise, speak with the gym floor staff or enlist the help of a PT to work with you to get those abs rock hard!”
Fired up to get fit for spring? Check out Adelaide Aquatic Centre’s winter membership offer here or call 8203 7665. Offer available until 31 August, 2017.< Back to Blog