Our Top 5 Abdominal Exercises

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1.  Bicycle Crunch

  • Lie on your back on the floor or your mat. Feet flat on the floor, knees at a 45° angle.
  • Place your hands by your ears or behind your head, however be sure to avoid pulling on your neck during this exercise.
  • Engage your core.
  • Lift right leg off the floor and raise it to about 90°, lift other leg but keep it straight.
  • Raise shoulders and upper back off the mat & bring your left elbow towards your right knee.  In a smooth fluid movement alternate to bring right elbow to left knee, while opposite leg is straightened.
  • Breathe evenly throughout the exercise.
  • Complete 2 or 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.

2.  Reverse Crunch

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor
  • Place hands on the floor out to the side.
  • Bring your knees up towards the chest so they are at about a 90° angle.
  • Engage your core, contract your abs and lift your hips off the floor in a very small movement.
  • Slowly lower and repeat.
  • Complete about 2 or 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

3a. The Plank

The basic plank exercise, (also known as the ‘hover’), is great for improving your core strength and stability.

  • Lie face down on your mat with your torso, forearms and toes on the floor.
  • Engage your core.
  • Keeping your torso straight and firm lift your body off the mat. Keep your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or arching of the back.
  • Your head should be relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds to start with. Then return to the floor.
  • Over time slowly work up to 30, 45 or 60 seconds.

3b. Plank with Leg Lift (advanced)
Once you have mastered the basic plank you can take it to the next level with this exercise.

  • Get into the plank position as above and engage your core.
  • Slowly raise one leg 5-6 inches off the floor.
  • Count to two and slowly lower your leg to the floor.
  • Switch legs and repeat.
  • Complete about 2 or 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.

4.  Vertical Leg Crunch

  • Lie on your back on your mat with your legs up and knees slightly bent.
  • Place your hands by your ears or behind your head, however be sure to avoid pulling on your neck during this exercise.
  • Engage your core, contracting your abs and lift up until your shoulder blades leave the floor.
  • Keep your chin up and your legs in a fixed position.
  • Lift your torso toward your knees.
  • Slowly lower and repeat for 10 repetitions. Over time work up to 12-16 repetitions.

5.  Swissball Crunch

  • Sit on the exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor about hip width apart.
  • Allow the ball to roll back slowly and lie back until your thighs and torso are parallel with the floor.
  • Engage your core and contract your abdominals as you slowly raise your torso to about a 45° angle.
  • Complete 10 repetitions.
  • To make this exercise harder move your feet closer together, this make you less stable thereby taxing the abdominals more.

Please note for specific core exercises in relation to your fitness needs we advise you to seek professional guidance ie: a registered personal trainer or physiotherapist.

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