Let’s introduce you to your ab muscles. Your core is made up of four main muscle groups.
Meet your ab muscles:
- External Obliques: the outer layer of abs on your sides; they run diagonally downward
- Internal Obliques: lie just underneath your external obliques; they run diagonally up your sides
- Rectus Abdominis: two sheets of muscle that flex forward from the ribs to the pelvis (‘six-pack’ muscles)
- Transversus Abdominis: the deepest ab muscle which wraps around the waist to support your spine
Place your palms on the floor, shoulder width apart and directly above your wrists. Keep your legs straight behind you with your feet hip width apart and tuck your tummy in. Engage your core, butt and quads at the same time.
Master the side plank too…
Lay on your chosen side, feet together with your forearm beneath your shoulder. Raise your hips so your body is in a straight line from head to toe and engage your core.
Take the challenge to a new height and rotate in plank
Get into plank position, twist your body slowly and reach your arm up towards the sky and look in the same direction. Hold for 5 seconds. Then return slowly back to the original plank position and then repeat on the other side.
The traditional sit up steps are listed below:
1. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent
2. Hands should be placed on either side of your head
3. Tighten your core, bend your hips and waist to raise your body from the ground
4. When you hit the top, lower your body back down into the starting position
Simple yet powerful. Never underestimate the power of a sit up for your body but, please don’t do 100, look in the mirror and expect ab lines.
Butterfly sit up - up the intensity
3 simple steps.
1. Lie back on the mat, extend your arms past your head. Bend your knees and have the soles of your feet facing one another to create a diamond shape
2. Crunch your abs up to a sitting position as you reach forwards, trying to reach your feet
3. Slowly lower your back into the starting position
Bicycle crunches - horizontal cycling
1. Press your lower back into the mat
2. Lift your knees up to form a 90 degree angle at your hip and knee
3. Place your hands behind your head, then crunch to bring your right elbow towards your left knee and extend your right leg
4. Switch sides bringing your left elbow towards your right knee and extend your left leg
That's 1 rep
V Sit Ups - once you’ve mastered the sit up, crank it up a notch
You don’t need equipment but to make it fiery, get a weighted plate or a set of dumbbells. 3 steps and you’ll be in a V sit up.
1. Lie flat on the mat / floor. Extend your arms above your head, hands touching the floor
2. Squeeze your abs, lift your shoulders and legs off the floor at the same time. Try to reach your hands to your feet
3. Lower your body back down slowly to return to the starting position
Russian twists - an oblique killer
A mat, 5kg dumbbell or weight plate and you’re ready to twist. Russian twist in 5 steps:
1. Grab your weight plate or dumbbell
2. Sit on the mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat
3. Hold the plate in both hands, lean slightly back whilst squeezing your abs. Keep your back straight and lift your feet off the mat
4. Rotate your arms all the way to one side, tapping the weighted plate on the floor and then do the same on the other side
Repeat side to side to complete your desired set