Effective Exercises For Your Abs
A strong core means a strong back! Working your core not only helps aesthetically but it also helps with balance and posture. This means less back pain (can I get an AMEN!).
Your core is actually made up of different muscles. These include your rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, erector spinae, and the obliques (internal and external). If you're like me and need to see this visually refer to the photo below.
Now before I get into the exercises I need to preface this with one thing..
YOU CANNOT SPOT REDUCE FAT!
Doing core exercises isn’t going to reduce fat in that one area. However, they will build your core muscles so if you lose enough fat you will be able to visibly see your abs. There are so many benefits to adding core exercises to your routine, so let’s not make visible abs the goal - ain’t nobody got tiiiiime for that! Let’s make health and wellness our goal. I also must mention that women need 20-25% body fat for healthy hormones, and to see your abs you will need to be at a lower body fat which isn’t healthy. But if that’s your goal then you go glen co co!
Ok onto why we are actually here...
It wouldn't be a blog about core exercises without the plank making an appearance.
This awesome exercise not only works the core but also works your arms, shoulders, back, glutes, and legs.
- Get in a push-up position then go down onto your forearms.
- Straighten your legs behind you, keeping your feet hip-width apart. Tighten your core.
- Make sure your back is straight and tense your abs and your glutes.
- Hold for 10–30 seconds making sure your hips don’t sag down.
If you need to, start with your knees on the floor and work your way up.
These hurt (in a good way), but they are great! They work several different muscle groups; it's almost like getting a total-body workout in one.
- Start in a push up position and tighten your core.
- Lift your right knee toward your chest, keeping your back straight and hips down.
- Return your right leg to the starting position as you simultaneously lift your left knee toward your chest.
- Continue alternating legs in a fast pace (kind of like you’re running horizontally)
Leg raises target your lower abdominals. Your hip flexors also get a workout with this exercise.
- Lie down facing up with your legs extended and hands at your sides or place them underneath your hips for support.
- Slowly raise your legs, keeping them together and as straight as possible. Lift your legs until your hips are fully flexed (your body should look like an L shape).
- Slowly lower your legs back down. To really work your abs don’t let your feet touch the floor, stop when you're a few inches off the floor and lift them back up.
- As you do this move, make sure to keep your lower back flat on the floor. If you're having a tough time doing that, don't lower your legs as far.
This one is actually my all time FAV ab exercise! Bicycle crunches work both your upper and lower abs, so great bang for your exercise buck!
- Start by lying on your back with knees at a 90-degree angle and hands behind head.
- Bring your right elbow to left knee while extending right leg straight, rotating torso, and bringing left elbow to touch the ground.
- Come back to start and repeat on the opposite side.
Did you really think I was going to leave this one out? It’s everyone’s fav ab exercise. Even though it's not as effective as the ones listed above.
- Lie on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor and hands behind head.
- Keep your lower back pressed into the floor and belly button pulled in, lift your chest toward the ceiling until your shoulder blades come off the mat.
- Lower down and repeat.
TIP: Be sure not to use your arms to pull your neck up.
Try to do 3 sets of 10-20 reps of these exercises for an amazing core workout! Or sprinkle one or two exercises into your current routine.
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