Tone Your Abs: 5 Exercises to Build a Strong Core
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could pick and choose where we lose and gain weight? Unfortunately we can’t meaning that spot training on its own is a futile endeavor. When our body needs energy it doesn’t take it from our belly just because we want a flat stomach, it takes it from all over our body. Moreover, as the saying goes, “abs are made in the kitchen,” so if it’s a six-pack you’re after you can do all the crunches you want, you’re never going to get definition with fat covering those muscles, no matter how much you build them up. While diet may be key for a flat stomach there’s no neglecting exercise for tone and when it comes to the strength portion of your workout plan, there are certainly moves that work your abs more than others.
Because standard sit-ups and crunches are boring we turned to personal trainer and Barry’s Bootcamp instructor, Omri Rachmut, known for his innovative takes on classic workout moves, to show us five of his favorite core strengthening exercises.
1. Table top climbers
Get into a table top position with your shoulders stacked over your palms (90 degrees at the knees, 90 degrees at the hips). Maintaining a straight spine tighten up through the quads by pushing the knees towards you chest without your feet leaving the ground; at the same time apply tension through your palms pushing them towards your chest. Drive one knee at a time towards your chest, the objective is to tuck each knee as far in as possible. Do this exercise for 30 seconds to one minute.
2. Side plank bicycle
Start off in a side plank, making sure to stack your shoulders over each other and tuck your pelvis in; maintaining a straight spine stagger your stance and place your top foot forward, at this point you will bent through the top elbow and place your fingertips behind your top ear. Drive the bottom leg up and across your body, rotate through the upper body so that you make contact with the top elbow and your bottom knee. Return to the starting position. Do this exercise for 30 seconds to one minute.
3. Side to cross mountain climber
Start in a push-up position making sure your shoulders are pulled back and down away from your ears. Stack your shoulders over your palms, grip the floor tight with your fingers to relive tension from the wrist joint and into the supporting muscles. Drive your right knee towards the outside of the right elbow once you made contact drive the same knee across your body towards the inside of the left elbow. A progression would be to cross back and forth a couple of times before getting back to your starting position. Do this exercise for 30 seconds to one minute.
4. Hollow body hold
Lay on your back; extend your legs engaging the quads knees and pointing your toes. Both hands should be extended behind your head and locked out. Elevate your heels off the ground and elevate your shoulder blades off the ground maintaining a locked and tight body. As a modification you can:
- Bent the arms and place your fingertips behind your ears.
- Place hands on the ground to the side of the body.
Do this exercise for 30 seconds to one minute.
5. L-sit hip flexor raise
From an “ L “ sit on the ground, extend both legs in front of your body (knees together heels together, point your toes). Stack your shoulders over your hip and place fingertips on the floor in order to ensure you don’t lean back. Raise your legs off the ground maintaining straight legs. A modification would be to do this one leg at a time. Do this exercise for 30 seconds to one minute.