Gosia Fitness Top 5 Abdominal Exercises
There are so many benefits to working on your abs; it does not stop on a six-pack or wash board abs. Strong abdominal muscles help to stabilize others muscles in your body, protect internal organs, give you a better posture, protect your lower back from injury, improve sport performance and make your daily tasks much easier. Your abdominal muscles play a major part in the core muscles complex. Core muscles connect the mid section of your body to pelvis and are foundation and base for almost all the movements our bodies perform. I don’t want to give you a lesson in physiology here but it’s important to mention that the abdominal muscles runs from the bottom of your chest all the way down to the pelvic bone. There are four separate muscles that comprise the abdominal muscle group, 2 groups located in the front of your body and 2 on the sides.
People always ask me: how do I make my stomach flatter, how do I get a six-pack or how do I make my love handles go away? Is it enough to just work these muscles and expect a smaller waist size? It’s a start but making your belly flat requires a lot of work. There is no such thing as spot reduction; you must work your whole body in order to burn the fat and follow a clean, healthy diet. Remember that your eating habits can either enhance all the hard work or hide the results of your workouts.
Here you will find my top 5 exercises that help to strengthen the abdominal muscles. Aim to include them into your fitness routine 3 times per week, perform 2-3 sets of each exercise, I will give you the amount of repetitions as I explain each exercise.
#1.) Standing, overhead side bends.
This exercise targets the obliques (the side abdominal muscles). Bend your body side to side with your arms fully extended overhead. Perform 12-15 repetitions to each side. You can make this exercise more challenging by adding a weight while holding your arms overhead.
#2.) Hands to elbow planks.
This exercise is a progression from holding the plank position. Starting on your hands and coming to the elbows targets not only the abdominal muscles but also other important core muscles. Try to do 6-10 reps on each side (leading with right hand and then with the left).
#3.) Jack knife sit-ups.
This is an awesome exercise for all fitness levels; it’s all about the coordination of lifting upper and lower body. The higher you lift, more contraction will occur in your abdominal muscles. Start by lifting one leg at the time and progress to lifting both legs. Perform 15-20 repetitions.
#4.) Side to side hop-ins.
This is another variation of a plank and it is a bit more advanced. From a plank position, hop both feet as close to your hands as possible, go back to plank and hop to the opposite side. Aim for 10 to 15 repetitions on each side. If hopping both feet is a bit too difficult for you, start by bringing one foot at the time towards your hand.
#5.) Turkish get-up and Half Turkish get-up.
This one is definitely my all time favourite core exercise; it works full body including core, arms and legs. Even 5 repetitions on each side is quite challenging. It does take a bit of coordination, so I suggest starting with a half Turkish get- up. Please watch the video for instructions on how to perform this exercise. For half Turkish get-up, aim for 8-12 repetitions on each side and for the full one 4-6 repetitions.
Now check out the video and let’s do this workout together. Have fun!
Peace, love and health.