Cambridge Bootcamp

The best ‘Ab’ exercises - 16/09/14

 

Are you still doing loadsa crunches in the hopes of getting flat abs?

Traditional crunches are old hat, so let’s take your exercise routine to the next level with the following CORE exercises.

The most effective ‘ab’ exercises strengthen your core as a whole –which helps prevent dreaded back pain, increases your agility and, of course, makes you look good & burn fat.

In your new core routine the focus is on quality over quantity. A few concentrated movements are always more effective than crunch after crunch after crunch after… crunch.

 

1) Plank: When performed correctly, a simple plank is one of the most effective ways to tighten your entire core. Proper form is key. Keep your back flat and your belly button pulled in toward your spine.

Lie face down on a mat resting on your hands. Push off the floor, raising up onto your toes and resting on your hands. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle. 

 

2) Mountain Climbers: This vigorous variation of a standard plank kicks the core tightening up a notch and brings the heart and lungs into play. Get these going fast.

Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground in a push-up position. Bring one knee to your chest and then back to the starting position, alternate each leg quickly. 

3) Russian Twist: Nothing quite brings the burn like a properly done set of Russian Twists. Best done on a cable machine or resistant band. But can also be done by holding a medicine ball or dumbbell in your hands, or simply just with body-weight.

Sit on the floor with knees bent like in a “sit-up” position. The feet should be kept together and slightly off the floor. Keep your torso straight and your back off the ground at a 45 degree angle. Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell with both hands. Next, the arms should be moved from one side to another in a twisting motion, with each swing to a side counting as one repetition. Move slowly for a more challenging workout.

 

4) V-Crunch: The fact is that our lower abs typically need the most work, so give them the attention they deserve.

Start on your back, legs straight, with your feet touching. Extend both arms overhead on either side of your ears, palms facing up. Exhale and bring your legs up to meet your hands in line with your naval. Slowly lower your legs and arms back down to start position. 

 

5) Side Plank: In yet another variation of the boombastic plank, Side planks are much more challenging than they appear at first glance. While the focus is mainly on your waist, due to the stabilising nature of this exercise, you’re also working your entire core as a whole; mainly your obliques and QR’s.

Put your feet and legs together as you lie on your right side. Place your right arm under your body and lift your upper body so that your right elbow is directly under your shoulder. Your left hand should be up in the air. From this position, slowly raise your hips from the ground until a straight line is formed from your ankles to your shoulders. Hold the position for an extended period of time. 

 

Even the best exercise routine in the world is useless if you throw away your results with sloppy eating. Remember to keep your meals lean by avoiding processed carbs, packaged foods and bad fats. Fill up on lean proteins and fresh vegetables and reward yourself with fresh fruit. That, my friend, is lean living!