I am asked this question sometimes on a daily basis. There are many exercises around that work your abdominals but here I will give you my top 5 of all time. Grab a pen!
I know not everyone’s cup of tea but the knee raise is one of the best exercises to activate the abdominals especially when done correctly. Technique is the key and you must be patient as it can take up to 6 months to really excel at this exercise. Focus on the breath and slow the exercise down, utilising half speed on the down phase. I heard recently that Usher to get the six pack does 500 of these every day. I’m not asking you to do that but it does show you that persistence will pay off in the end with results. Start with two sets of 12.
2. Tic Toc
Picture a wide yoga stance, small weights in hand optional outstretched into a star shape. Bend side wards lowering the weight towards your foot and then bring it back to start position. This is one of the best exercises to strengthen the waist not only to give you a narrower look but to strengthen and support your lower back. I have many clients who don’t like these exercises as they say it makes their back hurt. Well the answer to that is when you work a muscle, just like your arms and legs it will sometimes hurt afterwards! A strong back is essential to balance out your abdominals to support your body. Try 15 on each side.
Generally this is a fantastic exercise not only for your abdominals but your whole body too. The big tip here is to make sure you are not sagging in the middle and your shoulders are not drawn to your neck. Lift yourself into a pushup position on your toes, relax your elbows and widen your chest and just breathe. Start with one minute but anywhere from three minutes onwards is a great goal and will do wonders to tone your whole body. Try this one in front of a mirror so you can see your body position.
4. Lower abdominal curls
This one I picked as it’s safe, easy and very effective. Lie on the ground and make sure your back does not arch up off the ground. Keep your heels touching your bottom and curl your knees into your chest. This one really focuses on the lower abdominal area and if you can push out 30-40 your abdominals will be on fire afterwards. Your head can either be off or on the ground depending on the tension you get in your neck area, but best if your head is resting on the ground.
Even the best abdominals will not be visible with an extra layer of fat around your middle! Keep your night time eating to a minimum, and consume your energy dense foods such as carbohydrates in the morning or lunchtime. Taper off your food intake at night and try to keep dinner to vegetables and a source of protein. Herbal teas are always good to curb late night hunger so wind down with a cuppa before bed.