One of the most popular client requests I get is how to chisel an illustrious 'six pack'. First off, if the stomach isn’t already flat, there’s likely too much fat being stored; sit-up after sit-up won’t help, as they fruitlessly burn too few calories, and ‘spot training’ is frankly a bit of an ancient myth. Regularly exercising the entire core - referring to the muscles of your midsection (the transverse abdominals, erector spinae, obliques, pelvis and lower back) - will help to develop and strengthen these aesthetically-pleasing muscles. Forming the trunk of your frame, they work as stabilisers for the entire body. Hours on end sat in the office by a desk will weaken these muscles, but there are plenty of health benefits in having a strong core, such as preventing/reducing lower back pain, promoting improved posture, fixing a protruding stomach etc. But when it comes to ‘abs’, health seems secondary to the cosmetic angle! The equation is simple and logical; by reducing body fat and increasing activity, whilst controlling calorie intake ('abs are made in the kitchen') and regularly training, the core the abs will unavoidably begin to show definition of their own accord. Exercises can improve the shape and bulk of the muscles, but they won’t really show unless the fat layer goes first. To do that, above all, engage and work the transversus abdominal muscle, which acts as a muscular corset connecting the upper and lower body, holding in the waist. Try to hit the stomach muscles from all angles, and hit it hard. Here’s my 5-point attack plan, with photos! …. Remember: maximum effort for each exercise - to failure - then move on to the next one, limiting or eliminating rest time. After having completed all of the below, go for a light jog (to compound the calorie-burn). That's one set. Repeat x 3 or until you give up in a sweaty pool on the floor! Enjoy (sort of) :) Faya x 1) Work the Transversus Abdominals (As below pic) Plank: Rest your bodyweight on your tiptoes and forearms and keep a straight back. Hold this position for as long as you can, engaging the core. The abdominal muscles help to support the spine during forward bending therefore any exercise involving forward flexion of the spine such as deadlifts and squats will indirectly train the abdominal muscles too!
2) Work the Rectus abdominals - curling movements. Reverse curl: Lie on your back and instead of the classic sit-up bring your legs to your chest, and then curl then bring your legs back to the starting position. (as per below pics)4) Suspended Leg curls (as below pictures): Hang onto anything that gets you off the ground (in my pics here, a nice sturdy tree!), then slowly and in a controlled manner, lift your legs off the ground and return to start position. Repeat as much as your body will allow. Leg curl twists: get into the same position only this time slowly bring your legs up to your side working the obliques. 5) Ab Scissors (As below pics): Sitting on your bum, form a V with your body by bringing your legs up to your chest. Then slowly, simultaneouslty lower both upper and lower body towards the ground without letting either you upper or lower body touch the ground, still balancing on your bottom.