Mon | May 29, 2017

Fab abs for bikini season

Published:Monday | July 6, 2015 | 7:00 AM
The Oblique Twist, which is being done on an abs machine, targets the rectus abdominis – transverse, internal and external muscles.
Danielle demonstrates the most popular abs exercise – sit-ups. Doing sit-ups is a quick way to get stronger abdominal muscles. Start off with the basics and then try some modifications to the traditional sit-up when you get stronger. It also has a great range of motion so not only does it work all your abdominal muscles, it works your hips too, helping to build a strong core. Grab a mat to use a small amount of space. Lie on your back with your knees bent and you feet flat on the floor. Place your finger tips behind your ears. Pull your shoulder blades back so your elbows are out to the side. Brace your abs and then raise your body up towards your knees, shoulders should be lifted off the floor. Head always looking straight, no chin on chest and do not pull the head forward. Roll back down to the starting position. If you experience any back pain, then the sit may be best performed on a gym ball as this will help to comfort your spine.
Danielle demonstrates another variation of the crunches with Oblique Twist.
Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. For this exercise, you will need to put one hand beside your head and the other to the side against the floor. Make sure your feet are elevated and lift the shoulder in which your hand is touching your head. Simply elevate your shoulder and body upwards until you touch your knee. If you have your right hand beside your head, then you want to elevate your body upwards until your right elbow touches your left knee. The same variation can be applied doing the inverse and using your left elbow to touch your right knee. Remember to breathe in during the eccentric (lowering) part of the exercise and to breathe out during the concentric (upward) part of the exercise. Continue alternating in this manner until all of the recommended repetitions for each side have been completed. Note: While you cannot add resistance to this exercise you can concentrate on perfect execution and slow speed.
Danielle demonstrates the elbow plank which is harder on the abs than the traditional plank in push-up position. Start the elbow plank face down on the floor resting on your forearms and knees. Push off the floor, raising up off your knees on to your toes and resting mainly on your elbows. Contract your abdominal to keep yourself up and prevent your booty from sticking up.Keep your back flat – don't let it droop or you will be defeating the purpose. Imagine your body as a long straight board, or plank. Hold as long as you can. Aim for 20-30 seconds in the beginning and work your way up to one minute, as you get stronger. Repeat three times.
Plank exercise works the abdominal and strengthens the back. Plant the hands directly under the shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder-width apart) like you’re about to do a push-up. Ground the toes into the floor and squeeze the glutes to stabilise the body. Your legs should be working in the move too; careful not to lock or hyperextend your knees. Neutralise the neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond the hands. Your head should be in line with your back. Then hold the position for 20 seconds. As you get more comfortable with the move, hold your plank for as long as possible without compromising form or breath.
If you are looking for a lean stomach and a strong core you should definitely focus on working the oblique muscles with this knee-raise exercise. Working the oblique muscles helps to tighten up your love handles, which give the waistline a smaller and more slender look. Hang from a pull-up bar with your legs and feet together and your knees slightly bent. Slowly lift your knees up to one side as high as you can. Do this by curling your midsection from the bottom up, not simply by lifting your knees. Squeeze your lower abdominal and oblique at the top of the movement for a one-count, then slowly lower and repeat on the opposite side. Remember to have your abdominal do the work in a slow and controlled fashion. As you become more advanced you can start to rotate your pelvis forward at the top of the movement to really engage the lower abdominals. You may also straighten your legs to increase the difficulty of this movement.
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Want to turn those stomach drabs in fabulous abs? Well, hop on to Flair's summer health train and transport your waistline into the hourglass you have always desired by training those obliques, all while engaging the rest of the core.

We have enlisted the expertise of 'fitness engineer' the Spartan Health Club, which has kindly agreed to steer us into discovering the secret in eliminating fats and strengthening the core so you can fit perfectly into your favourite swimsuit or summer outfit.

Here is the breakdown of these quick exercises that will keep your daily core workouts interesting.