Sorry I’ve been MIA lately! The time just hasn’t been there for me to post; therefore, this Workout Wednesday is two days late 🙂
This post was inspired by an article in this issue of Oxygen Magazine.
A lot of people have misperceptions of how to achieve a flat stomach or a “6-pack.” Yes, you do need to do specific moves that target your abdominal muscles; however, you do not need to do endless amounts of crunches!
First and foremost, you need to focus on what you feed yourself. In order to achieve a tight tummy, processed foods are a no-no! Focus on whole, nutrient dense foods to fuel your body. With that out of the way, you need to focus on strengthening the muscles that make up your abs. You’ll need to do two different types of exercises to really make your abs pop and to make them strong.
The first type of exercise is a stabilizing one. This is a move where you use your core to stabilize the rest of your body. Your entire core is working as one unit in these moves, instead of isolating a certain part of your abdominals. A plank (especially on your forearms) is the perfect example of a stability move. Another move is “stir the pot” on a stability ball. To do this move, get in plank position with your elbows resting on a ball and your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Clasp your hands together and without moving the rest of your body, slowly move your arms in circles (like you’re stirring a pot) in one direction for 20 reps, then circle the other way for 20 reps. Take a break as needed.
The second type of move is a strength exercise. just like other muscles in your body, you need to build up your abdominals. Strength exercises for the core include any sort of crunch with added resistance, such as a weighted toe touch: lie on your back with your feet pointed towards the ceiling. With your arms reaching towards the ceiling, hold a dumbbell in both hands; then slowly lift your head, neck and shoulders off the ground and reach the dumbbell towards your toes. Hold for a count and then release. Repeat for about 15-20 reps.
A strong core is important for so many things.
- Improved posture
- Improved running form
- Eases back pain
- Makes every day lifting and moving easier
- Can prevent injury
During almost all other body exercises, you can work your core. When you’re standing doing dumbbell curls, bend you knees slightly, tuck in your butt and ‘flex’ your core. Keep it tightened the entire time you perform your curls for a mini ab workout. The kickboxing routine I posted yesterday is also a great way to work your core (along with the rest of your body!). Just focus on engaging your core during each move and let your abs help you through each move.
A typical abs workout for me looks like this:
- Stir the pot
- Reverse crunch
- Plank on forearms
- Hanging leg raise (in a captain’s chair)
- Weighted toe crunch
- Stability ball pike
- Weighted crunch on stability ball