Simple Tips for Toned Abs

Words Francesca Giacomini Photography Daria Bah

The beach season is now approaching at lightening speed (or has already arrived for the lucky ones), so there is no time like the present to get started on improving your midsection.

We all know that the best accessory for your bikini is a sculpted tummy, but there are also other additional benefits to having a stronger core. A strong core will stabilise your lower spine, strengthen your back muscles and prevent backaches. With a slimmer waistline you can look taller, improve your posture and it can truly make you feel fit from within.

However as we all know, abs are really made in the kitchen. Without a clean diet there is a poor chance that your abdominals are going to flourish. Make sure you always keep a well balanced diet that includes plenty of water, healthy carbs, good fat and pure protein, and crucially of all, refined sugar has to be completely cut out to see proper results.

Her are a few simple exercises to be performed ideally 3 times per week, at least a month before you hit the beach. They are easy enough that you don’t need to be at the gym to perform them, and a simple yoga mat will do.

Below is a quick crash anatomy course before you start:

Rectus Abdominis: flexes your lumbar spine forward, to the right and to the left. (i.e. Crunches)

Transverse Abodominis: acts like a corset around your mid section and stabilises your core isometricly. (i.e. Plank)

Internal & External obliques: work together to rotate your torso and perform side bends from the waist. (i.e. Side Plank)

CRUNCH IT:

  • Set Up: Lie face up on a mat with your legs bent and feet on the floor, hip distance apart. Place your arms behind your head.
  • Action: Lift your upper back and shoulders from the ground as you stabilise your pelvis and draw the navel into your spine. Pause, return to starting position.
  • Repeat: 4 sets x 15/20 reps

LEG FALL:

  • Set Up: Lie face up on a mat with your legs together extended towards the ceiling and straight. Back flat on floor.
  • Action: Lower one leg at time, down and then up again, keeping your back flat on the floor and tummy in.
  • Repeat: 4 sets x 20 reps each leg
  • Advance Option: Lower both legs together. 4 sets x 20 reps

PLANK:

  • Set Up: Lie face down on a mat, feet hip distance apart. Press on your forearms, with elbows under the shoulders.
  • Action: Lift your hips from the ground, straighten your legs and balance your body weight between your toes and forearms. Keep your abs in and contract. Hold for 1min.
  • Repeat: 3 sets x 1min
  • Easier Option: 3 sets x 30sec.

SIDE PLANK:

  • Set Up: Lie on your side, bend your arm with the elbow under your shoulder. Palm on the floor, legs together, one foot on top of the other.
  • Action: Lift your hips from the floor, make sure your body is in a straight line. Hold for 1min. Perform on the other side.
  • Repeat: 3 sets x 1min
  • Easier Option: Perform the exercise with your knees bent and do 3 sets x 30 seconds on each side.

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