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Want rock hard abs?

Sorry, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but even if you have rock hard abs – if they are hiding beneath a layer of fat then no-one is going to see them. Step 1: to the abs you’ve always dreamed of, is to lay off the beer, or chips, or whatever your guilty pleasure is. Let’s imagine that you are already doing that and that broccoli and steamed fish is your nightly dinner staple… now we can look at some exercises to help strengthen your core and get you a 6-pack (or maybe a 4-pack is sufficient)

Step 2: Plank

PlankGet into a push-up position  and then lower your elbows down to the ground, your elbows should be beneath your shoulders. Rest your weight on your forearms and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Squeeze your butt cheeks together, roll the the thighs inwards and pull your belly button into your spine. Hold the position for as long as you can. If you are doing it correctly 60 seconds should be challenging enough.

Increase the difficulty – rest the tops of your feet on a medicine ball to create some instability and challenge your core to engage further. OR Add extra weight – a weight plate works really well – or you could even get a mate to sit on you. (Maybe work your way up to this one)

The longer you can hold the plank, the more resilient your lower back will be to injury, and the better your abs will look once you get that bit of extra fat off them.

Step 3: Double leg hold

double leg holdThought the plank was a good exercise? How about turning it over? There are a few different names for this one – my yoga teacher likes to call it the little dish because from the side you look like a little dish….but anyway…Roll over onto your back, put your hands under your bum and raise your head and shoulders off the ground. Put both your legs in the air, feet together (toes pointed is good too, even if it’s a bit girly) then lower them as far as you can towards the floor, without the small of your back lifting off the ground. This may not be very far – but don’t  worry, you’ll get better at it. If it’s too much of a challenge then you can bend your knees a little.

Step 4: Lift heavy weights!

Oh yes, just what I’ve been looking for – another reason to lift heavy weights. When you lift heavy weights and I am not talking about machines here, they need to be free weights, dumbbells or barbells. Heavy lifts like squats and deadlifts and standing dumbbell shoulder press challenge abs to stabilize, tighten and hold strong. So there you go do more squats!!