Who wants those steely Victoria Secret type abs for Christmas? We do, we do!….Who doesn’t right?! Alas, if only it was as easy as drooling over them on TV whilst you lay on your comfy little sofa! OK, so we know that just aint gonna cut the mustard. So the answer must be thousands of sit ups right? Wrong my friends. Here’s my 5 simple top tips for getting a cracking set of abs….
1) Core Training vs “Ab” Training
First and foremost (and most critically) make the distinction between abs and your core. Your core is made up of all of your body that doesn’t inclue your arms and legs. Think glutes, hips, back, shoulders in addition to the conventional ‘abs’. Notably it is NOT only the front of your torso – the infamous 6 pack. Your core represents everything. You HAVE to train all aspects of your core not just the abs. Your core is at the centre of everything you do. A strong core, brings strong form, brings strong abs (and the rest of it!). Think glute bridges, planks, side planks, leg raises, cable woodchops, bird dogs, med ball slams etc vs just crunches.
2) Say no to crunches and hi to your abs
Let me tell you what a lot of PT’s want you to know….crunches are one of those those exercises that have waaaay too much credit than they deserve. We spend our days in a constant state of spinal flexion (think crouched over a desk, mobile phone etc). The last thing your spine wants you to do is to keep placing this additoinal pressure on it by crunching out tonnes of sit ups – and please don’t get me started on the “sit up” type machines at the gym, or electric “magic” ab zappers you can buy, just say NO kids. Trust me on this. None of these are the answer to long term ab-fabulousness.
3) Train your core without doing specific “core exercises”
Don’t get me wrong core exercises should always be a large component of a total body exercise program. BUT you can work your core HUGELY during exercises that aren’t necessarily core centred exercises. Like compound movements for instance (think squats, deadlifts, pull ups etc). In order to keep your body in the positions it needs to maintain to perform these exercises correctly your core must switch on. Same with balanced based exercises, like single legged squats, single legged deadlifts, exercises on the BOSU ball. I personally love to use the TRX, the nature of it being suspended means you’re constantly engaging your core to keep balanced and stable.
4) Abs ARE made in the kitchen
Yup I know…we’ve heard it all before, but it could not be more true. For years I ate junk and trained like a mad thing at the gym. Sure enough I blamed the gym for my lack of results. I didn’t once question the correlation of my nutrition on my gym progress. The second I made the link between healthy, clean eating (anyone who knows me knows full well I love to eat rich, delicious treats as much as the next person) but the moderation and balance of the good stuff will be what you start to see on your 6 pack.
5) Total body wellbeing
Your core (or abs) are a reflection of your wellness as a whole. You cannot solely train one body part and get any sort of results. If someone is rocking a set of abs you can bet your bottom dollar (on most occasions) they are well rounded in their lives in terms of diet, not overly stressed, sleep, hydration and total body training. To get the most efficient workout possible you should be training all of your big muscle groups think back, legs and chest. By working the whole of your body (whilst keeping your nutrition, sleep and stress levels balanced) you will see huge body composition differences.
So get on those weights. Stick those crunches where the sun doesn’t shine, nail your nutriton (70% of the time) and you’ll be on your way to those rockin’ abs in no time. I’ll be posting a core workout on my instagram videos very soon, so stay tuned for more help on core training!
Please note: this is only a quick bite sized overview for you. There are lots of factors (as you can see) that effect your body composition, and thereafter abs. I hope this has helped to make the picture a little clearer for you guys. Please let me know any of your questions or thoughts, I love hearing from you!
Sending health & happiness,
- Photo: Luke Ayling
- Location: BLOK London
- Outfit 1 (featured image): Seafolly Australia
- Outfit 2 & 3: Sweaty Betty sports bra, Alo yoga leggings, Asics for Sweaty Betty running shoes