Saturday 10 December 2016

It's all about the abs... says Siobhan Byrne

Building up your abs isn't just about vanity - it's good for your health and posture too, says our fitness expert

Siobhan Byrne

Published 26/05/2015 | 02:30

Siobhan Byrne: 'strong abs will support your spine'
Siobhan Byrne: 'strong abs will support your spine'
Front bridge to T step one
Front bridge to T step two
Plank jacks step two
Diamond crunch step one
Diamond crunch step two
Side plank

For the next two weeks, we are going to be focussing on the abdominal muscles. I like to work on this muscle group using core and targeted exercises that give you a really intense workout, and if you are quite advanced, it's a great way to really punish the abs.

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There are many good reasons to have a strong abdominal wall, and they're not about vanity. Strong abs will support your spine, and if you think of the amount of work your back does each day, it could do with some help.

Whether you suffer from back issues or not, there are still plenty of reasons to build up your abdominal muscles. If you find you can do endless amounts of sits-ups or crunches, it's more than likely that you are using your back to do some of the work. This type of overworking back can lead to weaknesses and injuries.

One of the other main reasons to work your abs and core is to help improve your posture and stability. Many of us spend our days hunched over computer screens, which can cause problems. Working on your abs will help you sit up straighter, which in turn can help alleviate issues that stem from bad posture.

Of course, we want balance and symmetry to the body, and the abs are a crucial part of that.

But remember that the more muscle you have in the body, the more fat you will burn, so while those flabby, unworked abs won't burn any calories, toned ones will.

Front bridge to t

1/ Start by supporting your body in the top position of a push-up, resting on your toes and your arms. 

2/ Raise one hand upwards towards the ceiling, rotating your body at the same time. Look up at your hand and briefly hold the position, then lower yourself back to the floor and repeat the movement on the opposite side.

Plank Jacks

1/ Start on your hands and toes with your arms straight, your back flat and your feet together.

2/ Jump your feet out to the sides without moving hand position. Immediately jump back to the middle and repeat. Keep your back flat throughout.

Diamond crunch

1/ Start by lying on your back with the soles of your feet together, your knees out to the sides and your arms up over your chest.

2/ Raise your head and shoulders off the floor. Lower the body back down to the starting position and repeat the movement. Keep the soles of your feet together throughout the exercise.

Side  plank

1/ Support your body by leaning on your side, on your elbow, and on the side of your foot with the opposite foot sitting on top. Keep your body straight and hold the position. Try to hold the position for at least 15-20 seconds, while at the same time keeping your form. Then swap sides.

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