Got big plans for your summer? Before you pack your beach towel and bikini, you may have a goal to get those abs ready to face the sunshine! Getting your core into shape can be a great confidence boost, but even more importantly it will increase your full-body strength, improve posture and sculpt definition – so you can get on with making the most of those long summer days!
To get started on your best abs yet, try s5 of my favourite exercises that will get your whole core section working hard to burn off that winter "coat" and get you feeling summer-ready.
1. Toe touches
Target Muscles: Upper and lower abs
Lie flat on your back and bring your legs perpendicular to the floor. Hold a light dumbbell in your hands and extend your arms above you. Then slowly lift your shoulders off the floor and try to touch your feet with the dumbbell. Whilst you do this, also contract your core and lift your hips in one movement. Repeat for 15 reps.
2. Lifting side plank
Target Muscles: Transverse abdominis, obliques
Lie down on your side (start with right side) and prop yourself up with your elbow. Your elbow should be directly under your shoulder for stability. Stack your left leg on top of your right and place your left hand on your hip. Then slowly lift your hips, so your right hip comes away from the floor. Hold for a breath and then slowly lower back down to the floor. Repeat 20 times on each side.
3. Reverse crunches
Target muscles: Lower abs and obliques
Lie flat on your back with your arms by your sides and hands pressing against the ground.. Start by slowly raising your legs so that they are perpendicular to the floor. Then continue to contract the core to raise your legs higher, and let your hips and lower back come off the ground. Then slowly lower all the way back down. Repeat for 15 reps.
Remember when training your abs, good form and activating your core with every exercise is essential. By engaging the right muscles and controlling every movement, you will be more likely to build strength and create definition.
4. Medicine ball push-up
Target Muscles: Transverse abdominis, pecs, deltoids, triceps
Start in a push-up position and place a medicine ball under your right hand. Keep your left hand flat on the floor. Keep your feet close together to give yourself better stability and make sure your hips don’t sag. You should feel this in your entire core region. Bend both arms like a push-up to get your chest close to the ground. Then slowly rise back up and roll the ball to your left hand. Repeat push-up again. Keep alternating between hands for 10 rounds on each side.
5. Sliding plate or towel pull
Target Muscles: Rectus abdominis and gluteus maximus
Start in a push-up/plank position. You want your arms shoulder width apart and your wrists aligned with your shoulders. Place a sliding plate, or a towel (if you have non-carpeted floors), under your feet. Contract your abs, bend your knees and slowly draw your feet in towards your chest. Then slowly extend your legs back out. Repeat 15 times.
Emily Skye is a strength training expert and the face of FIT, the digital fitness app that helps women worldwide build strength and confidence, stay active through pregnancy and rebuild post-pregnancy. Emily holds a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is also co-founder of James Cosmetics and a mother of two.
Get results you can see and confidence you can feel with internationally renowned trainer Emily Skye.