The ‘strong is the new skinny’ movement has officially stomped out the idea of women needing to be ‘thin’ to be healthy. Now, women across the globe are encouraged to enhance their strengths to sculpt a strong, healthy body!
As a result of this, building lean muscle mass and a solid, defined core is now one of the most sought after achievements in the fitness industry.
By adding some of these exercises into your routine you can put more focus on your abs with movements that are effective and provide results. However – it is important to remember that nutrition is paramount to obtaining lean and defined abs as it is your body fat levels that dictate whether they are on show or not.
Medicine ball slams
Shock your muscles with this explosive full-body exercise, great for working deep into the core alongside building overall strength!
a) Choose a manageable medicine ball and hold above your head.
b) Inhale and reach back as far as can, maintaining a slight bend in your knees.
c) Exhale and slam the ball in front of you as hard as possible.
d) Repeat this movement for as many reps as possible.
Swiss ball jack knife
Performing this exercise not only provides a killer-core workout, but will also benefit over-all strength, posture and balance. As a by-product, these advantages will enhance the remainder of your training routine!
a) Begin this exercise in a push up position with your arms straight and legs extended behind you – your shins should rest on a Swiss ball.
b) Position your body in a straight line from your head to your ankles, maintaining a tight, strong core.
c) Maintaining your lower back posture, roll the Swiss ball inwards towards your chest with your feet.
d) Hold this position then return back to where you began by lowering your hips and rolling the Swiss ball backwards.
Plank with leg raise
a) Begin this exercise in the push up position, bend your elbows and place your forearms on the floor so that the weight is on them rather than your hands.
b) Position your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your feet.
c) Squeeze your stomach muscles tight and begin to push your left leg towards the ceiling – hold this position for as long as possible while breathing normally and maintaining good form.
d) Return leg to the floor and repeat on opposite leg.
TIP: You can make this exercise more difficult by placing a weight plate on your back.
a) Begin by lying on your right side with your legs extended and your knees straight.
b) Balance your body on your right elbow and forearm.
c) Squeeze your stomach muscles tightly and lift your hips off the floor so that your body forms a straight line.
d) Breathe normally throughout the exercise and hold this position for as long as possible while maintaining good form.
Ensure you complete this movement on the opposite side so that you train each side of your abdominals equally.
a) Begin the exercise by attaching a rope cable to a cable machine.
b) Kneel down beside the handle so that your left side faces the weight stack – remember to maintain a straight and upright torso for the duration of the exercise.
c) Using both hands, hold the rope with an overhand grip -ensure that your shoulders should be facing the rope and your belly button should be facing forward.
d) Keeping your torso motionless, pull the rope past your right hip. Reverse the movement so that you return to the starting position. Repeat the movement the same amount of repetitions on the opposite side.
a) Begin by sitting on the floor with your feet flat and with a bend in your knees.
b) Hold your arms outwards in front of you keeping your palms together.
c) Lean back slightly to create a forty five degree angle to the floor with your torso.
d) Squeeze your stomach and turn to the left as far as you can – hold this position and then perform the movement in the opposite direction to the right as far as you can.
TIP: Make this exercise slightly harder difficult by holding a kettle-bell/medicine ball in your hands.
Leg lowering drill
a) Begin by lying face up on the floor and lift your legs so that they are in a position that is perpendicular to the floor.
b) Bend your knees slightly and squeeze your abdominals – slowly lower your feet as close to the ground as you can.
c) Press your lower back into the floor throughout the movement and ensure that you do not change the arch in your lower back.
d) When your feet reach the bottom of the movement, raise them up again, this will be considered to be one rep.
Take Home Message
Tone and tighten your core by including some of these exercises in your training regime – try completing a 7-minute circuit, 1 minute per exercises – or perhaps take a few of the exercises and try some HIIT training, completing 30 seconds of the exercise, 30 seconds rest and repeat.
Mixed with adequate training and a healthy balanced diet you can achieve the strong stomach you have worked hard for!