Tuesday 26 September 2017

Siobhan Byrne: Core is key when getting set for summer stah

Why this is the perfect time to start hitting those abs with all you've got, says our fitness expert

Siobhan Byrne: now is the time to start tightening those abs
Siobhan Byrne: now is the time to start tightening those abs
Crunches on BOSU ball
Crunches on BOSU ball
Side bridge with leg raise on Bosu Ball 1
Side bridge with leg raise on Bosu Ball 2
Weighted crunch with feet up
Weighted crunch with feet up 2
Windscreen Wiper with Swiss Ball 1
Windscreen Wiper with Swiss Ball 2
Windscreen Wiper with Swiss Ball 3

Summer is just around the corner and, if you want to look at tightening up those abs for that swimsuit or bikini, this is the perfect time to start.

There's a famous saying that 'abs are made in the kitchen', which is true - if your diet is not right and you continue to overeat, and also to indulge in processed, high-sugar foods, you really will not see all that work in the gym paying off in terms of how your abs look.

I often find it much easier to improve the diet once the weather starts to pick up, with brighter days and warmer temperatures.

Steering towards eating lighter foods like salads, without all the extra, calorific dressings, will really get you noticing a big difference, and it's much easier to eat this sort of food at this time of year.

Saying all that, you have to put the work into your fitness regime too, so, whether you are training at home or in the gym, the exercises we are featuring this week are great for really helping to engage the abs and core.

Look at including an upper and lower exercise for abs as well as a core exercise and obliques.

Abs don't necessarily need long amounts of time spent on them during your workout - short and intense bursts can work very effectively, so aim to spend no more than 7-10 minutes on abs.

If you are used to do doing abs exercises and don't find you are getting much benefit, look at mixing up a weighted crunch to really hit the abs and then a core movement like a roll out on a swiss ball on elbows.

Featured hear are some of my all-time favourite abs exercises.

Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one. When you have completed each exercise, that is one set. Catch your breath before moving on to the next set, and do three to four sets, three to four times a week

Focus on abs

Side bridge with leg raise on Bosu Ball

1/ Start by leaning and balancing on one hand on the bosu ball, on your side, with feet placed on top of each other.

2/ Slowly raise the resting leg and then return to start position.

Crunches on Bosu Ball

1/ Start by lying on the bosu ball with your back supported and hands to the side of the head, and your feet flat on the floor with knees bent.

2/ Slowly crunch up towards the ceiling and return back to start position.

Weighted crunch with knees up

1/ Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet raised, holding a kettlebell on your chest with both hands.

2/ Lift your head and shoulders off the floor in a crunch, keeping your legs in the same position. Lower your back down to start position and repeat. Look at a rep range between 15-20.

Windscreen Wiper with Swiss Ball

1/ Start by lying on your back, holding a Swiss ball between your feet with your legs straight in the air and your arms out to the sides, balancing the body.

2/ Allow your torso to twist while your legs rotate to one side towards the ground holding the ball.

3/ Then roll your legs to the opposite side. Do not allow the body to twist throughout the exercise.

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