Who Doesn’t Want A Leaner, Flatter Midsection?
For many people, it’s the sign of success when losing weight and shaping up.
Whilst I don’t agree that “flat abs” should ever be a sole focus, there are good reasons to work on this area.
Here’s what to focus on if you want to flatten your abs and strengthen your core.
Understanding The Core
What is your core?
It’s more than just the ab muscles you see on very lean people.
Your core is all the muscles that connect your upper and lower body, including your traverse abdominis (on each side of the naval), your internal and external obliques (from ribs to pelvis), your erector spinae (either side of your spine), and the famous rectus abdominis – the “six pack” muscles.
Why Strengthen Your Core Muscles?
As I said, I don’t think it’s a good idea to make “visible abs” the focus of your body transformation.
But there are lots of reasons to work on your core muscles.
-Reduce back pain
-Minimise injury risk
How To Activate Your Core
Before I write about the best core and ab exercises, you need to know how to “switch on” the muscles.
Those of you who do Pilates will know all about this.
Lie on your back with your knees bent, and put one hand underneath the curve of your lower back.
Contract your core muscles (back and front) and feel pressure on that hand.
Try to achieve this activation every time you exercise.
The Best Core Exercises
There are so many muscles in the core, you’ll need to do more than sit ups.
A complete core workout uses extension and flexion, instability, and different angles to challenge the muscles through all planes of movement.
Dead bug – lie on your back with your feet off the floor, knees bent at a right angle, and positioned over the hips.
Hold your arms straight out in front of you.
Slowly take the left arm back overhead and lower the right leg to the floor (keep it bent at the knee). Bring it back in, and repeat on the other side. Keep your back flat to the floor throughout.
Plank – position yourself on forearms and toes, so your body is in a straight line from heels to head. Don’t stick your bum in the air, or sag at the hips. Hold this position tight for 30 seconds.
Prone cobra – lie on the floor face down, with your arms by your sides (palms face up). Activate your core and lift your chest and arms off the floor. Keep your head spine aligned by looking down and slightly ahead.
Bird dog – start on your hands and knees, with hands under your shoulders and knees under hips.
Take your left leg out behind you (to hip height) and your right arm forward (to shoulder height).
Keep your spine in a straight line. Bring the arm and leg back to the start position, and repeat with the right leg and left arm.
Reduce Body Fat
My final tip for a lean core is control your body fat.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to see some ab definition, and it’s easier to do core exercises effectively when your waist measurement is reasonable.
Start to bring down your body fat by calculating your caloric needs and eating slightly less, so you are in a calorie deficit.
There’s so much more to say about this – please get in touch if you want to lose bodyfat. I’m here to help.
My Ab & Core Workouts
Looking for quick, effective core and ab workouts?
Check out my YouTube channel – I regularly add new workouts that you can do at home.