Copyright (c) 2007 Greg Brookes
As a London Personal Trainer I often get asked how to develop a strong core and 6 pack stomach muscles. It seems that so many people are still practicing old exercises and cranking out hundreds of situps on a daily basis in the hope of reducing stomach fat and developing their 6 pack abs.
Doing regular sit ups or crunches will not only give you back problems but doesnt really help in develping your core and revealing your stomach muscles. Our core / stomach muscles are more complex than you may think and need to be worked in three different planes of motion for optimal results. Doing regular situps and crunches is both unnatural and only addresses one plane of movement, and its not very good at doing that.
As well as taking the core / stomach muscles through 3 different planes of movement the body fat covering the abdominals must also be addressed. Forget the old wives tale about spot reducing fat, this simply isnt the case, hundreds of situps wont burn stomach fat – fat naturally comes off in layers from all over the body. The only way to reduce stomach fat is with a good total body exercise programme and by eating a healthy diet.
Remember that we all have stomach muscles waiting to be seen under our belly fat but in order to increase their size and make them more visable they need to be trained like any other body part. So, a combination of the correct abdominal / core exercises, a healthy diet and a good all over body routine will bring your 6 pack abs out for all to see.
I have found the following 6 exercises to be the best for stabalising your core and reducing potential back pain whilst bringing your abdominals / obliques to the surface.
1. The Side Plank – keep your hips inline, belly button in and maintain this postition for as long as possible. Start with 30 secs and increase up to 2 minutes over time. Breathe!
2. The Front Plank – keep your body in a straight line, belly button in and arms at 90 degrees. Start with 30 secs and increase up to 2 minutes over time. Breathe!
3. The Bird Dog – keep your back flat, belly button pulled in, thumb up and out at 45 degrees. Opposite leg goes straight back. Start with 6 reps on each side and work up to 3 sets of 12.
4. The Front Mountain Climber – in a press up position with you back flat and belly button pulled in bring your knee straight up to your chest. Breathe out as you do so and contract your abdominals as if you were being punched in the stomach. Take leg back and repeat. Start with 6 on each side and work up to 3 sets of 12.
5. The Outside Mountain Climber – as above but drop your hips slightly and bring your knee to the outside of your elbow. Squeeze the side of your stomach, your obliques, together as if being folded in half sideways.
6. The Inside Mountain Climber – as with the above mountain climber but bring your knee across and squeeze the side of your stomach muscles (obliques).
Perform all these exercises 3 times a week along with your regular workout for the ultimate strong core and the highly ellusive six pack stomach muscles.
Good luck and enjoy your new abs!!
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