Life Fitness

Friday 14 December 2018

Siobhan Byrne: Abs-olutely fabulous

Compound exercises are a great time-saver and calorie burner, says our fitness expert

Fitness expert Siobhan Byrne. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan
Fitness expert Siobhan Byrne. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan
Crossover lunge on bosu 1
Crossover lunge on Bosu 2
Press up on BOSU ball 1
Press up on BOSU ball 2
Turkish Get Up 1
Turkish Get Up 2
Turkish Get Up 3
Turkish Get Up 4
Shoulder press on bosu 1
Shoulder press on bosu 2

Siobhan Byrne

In the final two weeks of our focus on the abs and core, I'm going to show you how to develop your workout by using great compound and functional exercises that bring in the core and abs and can be very effective.

Utilising exercises that involve using multiple muscle groups can be a great time-saver in your workouts but can also be a great calorie burner.

Working out your core and abs is not limited to floor work. Incorporating BOSU and Swiss balls and exercises like hanging leg raises and chin-ups or assisted chin-ups with bands (if you can't complete a chin-up with your own body weight) are extremely effective at hitting the abs.

You may have a favourite abs exercise, but it's important to vary your exercises and make sure you are not giving preference to a particular one just because you find it easy.

When you complete an exercise correctly you should make sure your form is as perfect as possible and the exercise challenges the body, so you can push out of your comfort zone and get the best from your workouts.

One of the best examples of where people don't really challenge themselves is in a standard squat. Depending on your level of flexibility and what you are trying to target, a squat can be extremely challenging.

To really engage the glutes you must go below the parallel (think bottom to the floor) while at the same time making sure your back is straight and your knees are not going past your toes, my own preference is keeping the knee from straying past the shoe laces.

A compound exercise can engage the abs and core, but by pushing further, exercises such as the squat and lunge can be very effective for targeting the abs and core.

Breaking down your workouts: The abs and the core - week 3 of 4

Press up  on BOSU ball

1/ Start with your hands placed evenly on either side of the BOSU ball, directly under your chest and your body straight in a plank, with feet hip- to shoulder-width apart.

2/ Press down towards the ball, bending your elbows while keeping your back straight throughout. Return to the start position.

Cross over Lunge on BOSU Ball

1/ Start by standing upright next to a BOSU ball, with your arms by your sides.

2/ Step sideways onto the BOSU, lowering your body down and leaning your torso slightly forward. Keep your trailing leg straight and then push off with the other foot to return to the start position.

Turkish get up

1/ Start by lying on the floor with a kettlebell straight up over your chest and one leg bent at the hip and knee.

2/ Come up to a sitting position on the floor while holding a kettlebell with one hand straight up over your head and your legs crossed.

3/ Push off one leg, raising your body up off the floor. Place your opposite hand on the floor and then come up onto one knee with the kettlebell overhead and your arm straight.

4/ Stand upright with your arm fully extended overhead.

Complete the reps on one side before changing sides.

Shoulder press with dumbells on BOSU

1/ Start by kneeling on a BOSU ball while holding dumbbells at shoulder height, with your elbows bent and your palms facing forward.

2/ Raise your arms overhead while keeping your back straight. You may leave your toes resting on the ground for more stability or balance fully on the knees for a more advanced version of the exercise.

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