If you’re planning on overhauling your workout routine this year, adding a simple abs exercise routine two or three times a week is a surefire way to get great results.
Healthy diet and clean eating are also extremely important for tone and weight loss, but working your core muscles is one of the best things you can do for your posture, wellbeing and overall appearance.
Here are three simple exercises to add to your workout next time you hit the gym – and they can be done just as easily at home!
1. The Boat
This yoga-inspired move will strengthen your core fast.
1. To start, sit up with your knees bent and together, and your feet slightly off the floor.
2. Hold your arms out straight out in front of you, draw your abs in tight and lift your chest to avoid slumping.
3. Then, try straightening your legs as much as you can to form a V shape with your body (see picture).
4. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute. Repeat 3 times.
2. Elbow-Knee Oblique Crunches
This isolation exercise works the oblique muscles which are so important for achieving that flat tummy.
1. To do these crunches, lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
2. Place both hands behind your head with your elbows pointing outward.
2. Start with the left side, curling your left elbow and shoulder across your torso and bringing your right knee toward your left shoulder at the same time. Straighten your right leg as you do this.
4. Aim to touch your left elbow to your right knee.
5. Return to start position. Repeat with right elbow and left knee.
6. Try for at least 10 reps per side, alternating on each rep. Slowly work your way up to 20, doing 3 sets per workout.
3. The Full Plank
This static exercise will tighten your deep core muscles and will improve stamina, too. It can be done as a full plank, resting on both ares, or a side plank, turning to the side and resting on one arm.
1. Plank your hands directly under your shoulders, as if you’re about to start a push-up.
2. Curl your toes into the floor and squeeze your bum and glutes to stabilise yourself.
3. Focus your eyes at a spot on the floor about a feet beyond your hands. This helps to ease pressure on your neck and spine. Keep your head in line with your back.
4. Pull bellybutton into spine to engage your abs and hold the pose for 20 seconds.
5. Repeat 3 times. You can hold the pose for longer as you get used to it over time.