Your abdominals and core are the foundation of each and every movement your body performs keeping your body upright whilst allowing your body to hold proper posture. Your abdominals work 24/7 even when lying down so with this fact taken into consideration, a specific routine should be devised for your abs. Here are the 5 Top Abdominal Exercises to improve you to your core!
The plank is a muscular endurance exercise which is not performed with a specific amount of rep ranges rather it is performed for an amount of time, usually until you can’t hold your posture anymore in which the set will finish. To perform the plank, lie down on your front with your buttocks raised off the floor. Then place your forearms in front of your head on the floor with a 90 degree bend in your elbow joint and lift your body from the floor ensuring you keep your back straight and your stomach tight. With your feet, ensure that you are on your toes to hold your lower body up from the floor.
2. Ab wheel roller
The ab wheel is for me the best exercise I’ve done for total abdominal stimulation. It stretches the abdominals keeping it in constant tension throughout the movement. To perform this you get on your knees and using both hands on the ab wheel handles, roll it out in front of you until you can get your upper body perpendicular from the floor ensuring a maximum stretch is reached. The movement should reminisce one of a diver with your hand above your head by the time the movement is finished. This exercise can be prescribed with a number of repetitions so for a beginner I would say do 6-8 and for advanced 12-15 repetitions.
3. Cable crunches
Cable crunches are a personal favourite of mine for thickening the abdominals. You need to be on a cable apparatus to perform this exercise and it can be performed either stood up or on your knees and leaning your upper body forward like a hinge but contracting your abs so they are doing all the work. I would recommend a lower repetition range for this exercise as added resistance is used which your abdominals will definitely not be used to and they will respond positively to this stimulus.
4. Broom twists
Broom twists will target your obliques and serratus muscles. The exercise is simple to perform, just twist your upper body keeping your legs as still as possible in the process so that your core is isolated. Have the broom behind your head and grip each end with your hands and this will keep correct posture and technique throughout the movement. I suggest doing a higher rep range for this exercise as there is no added resistance to it.
5. Leg raises
Leg raises target your lower abdominal and the Psoas Major which is located on your hips. In order to perform a leg raise you must lie on the floor on your back and place your hands under your buttocks to elevate your lower back. Then raise your legs together so they are 90 degrees from your body and lower slowly, but make sure your feet don’t touch the floor on the way down. A higher repetition range is recommended on this exercise due to the lack of resistance that can be used.
These are the 5 exercises I perform and recommend in order to fully target your core. I would perform this routine around 3 times a week having a day rest in between each session to start with. Stick with it and take your core and abdominal development to the next level. We’d love to hear how you get on!