These workouts will make the difference between having good abs and great abs. Although we talk about having a great six-pack, the abdominals are actually one muscle. However that doesn’t mean one exercise(crunches) is all you need to train them. The secret to great abs is variation, and by doing diverse ab exercises you’ll achieve a firmer, flatter, stronger midsection in less time. These exercises put emphasis on different areas of the abdominals by using different leg positions to target different abdominal fibres.
The other secret of fantastic abs is to make sure you exercise the deep stabilizing abdominal muscles, the ones that really pull in and flatten the stomach, even when you’re at rest The deep muscles are called the ‘core’ muscles because they compress your internal organs and straighten and strengthen the lower back. If you haven’t learnt how to locate these in gym classes, practise this before you do this workout, as your core muscles should be activated throughout all the workouts. Once they’re in tone, these are the muscles that will give you great posture.
By strengthening not just your six-pack, but your entire midsection- back, front and obliques- this workout will also improve your sports performance. Your trunk is the body’s central link for nearly all sports performance. External and internal obliques help you twist and bend, the deep core muscle straightens and strengthens your back. If you only work your abs, you’ll get a great looking body that gets hurt as soon as you challenge it in real life or sport. That’s why this workout includes lower back exercises, to keep your muscles in balance.
People’s abdominal strength varies hugely, so this workout comes in two levels beginner and advanced. The beginner’s version tones abs at the same time as working to get them out from under all that abdominal fat! Start with the level that suits you. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and abs can’t be built in a weekend.
Locating Your Core
Start by lying flat on your back with your legs bent at the knee and feet flat on the floor. Rock your pelvis gently so that first you flatten your spine against the floor, curling your tailbone towards the ceiling, and then release the other way. Let your spine settle in between these two extremes, in a neutral position. Exhaling, draw your stomach in from the pelvic floor upwards, thinking of trying to contract your belly button back towards your spine. Then inhale, flattening your stomach against your spine further. This is what it feels like to have your abdominals engaged. The aim is to have this active core as the starting point for all the exercises.