Your mid-section – the dreaded area for so many! How many times have you looked in the mirror, prodded your belly and mentally just deflated and thought “Why do I even bother”?
Most people who go to the gym want a nice flat stomach maybe with some visible toned abs as well. They want a great abs workout. Why? Abs are the ultimate sign that you are working out and that it’s paying off.
So how come it’s so difficult to get them to show themselves?
Answer: Most people don’t actually use their abs when they do abs exercises!RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
This is because they aren’t paying attention to how it should be done or because they are doing a million reps because that’s what they were told back in the PE days. Wrong!
Quality always trumps quantity so what you need to do is to get focused when you do your abs routine. It doesn’t need to take 30 minutes to do abs, but you do need to be properly present when you do them.
But what does “being present” mean? Obviously you have to be there when your abs are working, right? Being present means that you focus not just on counting reps but also focus on how the exercise is done and how it should feel.
If you do sit ups and all you can feel is a pain in your lower back, then you are not using your abs but your hip flexors and lower back. And that won’t give you a flat stomach, but just lower back pain.
One trick is to put two fingers into your stomach and use them as a focus point. Crunch around them and you know you are using your abs.
Here’s my killer 5 min abs workout that will leave your stomach nice and flat.
Nr 1: Resistance crunches. As many reps as possible in 50 seconds.
When you cannot do any you rest until the next exercise. Lie on the floor with your legs raised and knees bent and your feet on either a bench or a pilates ball. Then press down with your heels and tense your glutes before you start crunching. Doing this disengages your hip flexors leaving only your abs to do the movement. It makes crunches a lot tougher and a lot more effective.
When you cannot do any you rest until the next exercise. Lie on your back with your arms pressed firmly down along the side of your body. Clench your abs so your shoulders lift off the ground and while keeping your legs straight, lift them up to 90 degrees. Slowly lower your legs and stop just before your feet touches the floor. Then repeat. Remember: the slower the better on the descent.
Nr 3: Russian Twist. As many reps as possible in 50 seconds.
When you cannot do any you rest until the next exercise. Sit up with your back at 45 degrees, your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Use a weight, sandbag or kettlebells and rotate your upper body until the weight touches the floor, then rotate to the opposite side.
This is a tricky one as you need to rotate your upper body, not just move your shoulders. Touching the floor with the weight is not essential but a good way to ensure that you do the full movement.
You can enhance the difficulty but adding a heavier weight, lifting your feet off the floor or leaning back a bit more.
Nr 4: Lying leg swings . Lie on your back with your arms out wide for support. Lift your legs up to 90 degrees and keep them straight. Then lower them down to one side whilst twisting your lower body. Lower them as deep as you can without touching the floor. Then raise them up and without any break lower them to the opposite side. If this is too difficult then bend your knees.
Nr 5: The Hollow is one of my favourite exercises because if you do it right you feel it straight away and it challenges you. Unlike the other exercises it is static like a plank so the less movement the better.
Starting position: lie on your back with your arms raised up into the air and your knees raised and bent. Clench your abs hard so your shoulders leave the floor. Then slowly stretch your legs forward and your arms backwards over your head. Keep your shoulders raised at all times and make sure that your back does not start arching. If it does, then stop moving.
Keep stretching until you feel that you cannot go any further without letting go of the clench in your abs. Maintain this position for as long as possible. If it becomes too much then pull your legs and arms a bit closer to your body.
Repeat this routine 3-4 times a week for a month and you will see great results!
Doing these exercises will leave you with a strong core and strong abs. You will lose some inches around your waist and improve your posture, but remember that if your goal is weight loss, nothing beats a healthy diet and an overall body workout.
Burning fat on your tummy by doing abs exercises won’t make your belly fat go away, only diet and burning calories through workouts can help you with that.
Connect here with WatchFit Expert Alex Agerholm