Article written for Jacaranda 94.2 by Anna Wood
In the previous article we dealt with how to get a six-pack. We learned that everyone has abs regardless of shape or size. The reason abs are not visible is due to the layer of belly fat that’s obscured them from worldly vision.
In order to get those muscles to show we need to deal with the stubborn belly fat that sticks around like a stubborn itch. The first thing we need to focus on is our diet, we need to stop feeding our body foods to make Mr Belly-fat feel at home. Instead, we should give our that gives fat an eviction notice.
The truth is if you can’t evict Mr Belly-fat, it won’t matter what abdominal exercises you do, he is not going to budge.
You see people strutting around with a glorious six pack and it makes you cringe with jealousy thinking they were chiselled that way from birth or they’ve been Photoshopped to bits, but the truth is they work extremely hard and are motivated to stick to their diet and training regimes. Their six pack mid-section doesn’t magically appear because of a couple of abs exercises – it’s an all-encompassing plan to work towards.
If you want to create a strong core with solid abs, start by doing compound exercises in the form of squats, lunges, pull-ups and deadlifts. These engage your core throughout the movement and burn a lot more calories than isolated abs exercises only. Remember we want to evict Mr Belly-fat, so the more calories we burn the more unbearable it becomes for him to stick around.
Now, after you have got your diet perfectly sorted and are focusing on a strength training program, then we can look at a few abdominal specific exercises.
Start: lie on your back and lift torso with hands by your ears and elbows open, lift knees up to 90’
Exercise: touch opposite knee to elbow and change
Do: 20 reps with 10sec rest between sets, repeat x3
2. Arm & leg extensions (more advanced move)
Start: lie on your back holding 2kg weights in each hand
Exercise: take the arms overhead and at the same time legs go down to 45’, bring the legs back to 90’and at the same time reach the arms up to the ankles. Do not let your lower back “arch” off the ground. If you can’t keep your lower back on the ground, don’t lower your legs, keep them at 90’ until you get stronger.
Do: 15 reps and repeat x3
If this exercise is too difficult for you, you can do it without the weights and do the one below with bend knees
3. Core & oblique buster
Start: in a push up position with legs hip distance apart
Exercise: touch opposite knee to elbow, hold your knee at your elbow for 3 seconds and change to other leg. Keep your belly button pulled in and do not arch your lower back. Maintain a straight line from your head to your feet.
Do: 20 reps and repeat x3
4. Side oblique lifts
Start: lie on your side holding a 2kg weight in your hand
Exercise: lift your hips off the ground and hold at top for 2 seconds and lower down
Do: 20 lifts, then hold at the top and pulse for 20. Turnover and do the same on the other side.
Repeat x3 on each side
You can also perform these 4 exercises directly after each other and then repeat the whole sequence 3 times
Tips to remember:
If you have ever experienced back pain or injury, you should first consult your doctor before performing any of these exercises.
Always focus on doing quality abdominal exercises and not on quantity.
Keep your tummy/belly button pulled in at all time when performing these exercises.
Press your lower back firmly into the floor when doing an exercise lying on your back.
Breathe out when contracting your abs or when performing the movements.
You can train your abdominals every other day or 3 times a week.