The core, let’s be honest it’s the number one area of interest that most clients want to improve. I ask a million questions during my consultation with clients, and the core comes up quite often. It is a problem areas for most people, but most of my female clients believe it’s where they need the most work.
A few disclaimers here, everyone has abs. Yes you did hear that right, every single person have abs. It just depends on the amount of insulation covering our abs that makes them visable or not.
So how do we whittle away that insulation until we start seeing some abs?
The first would be overall fat loss. This can be done a number of ways, but the first way is to change up your cardio routine. Instead of doing steady state cardio, try HIIT cardio. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training.
HIIT cardio takes an allotted period of time where you are increasing your heart race purposely (example: sprints), and an allotted period of time where you are actively resting (example: jogging). Active rest means you are not completely stopping, this means you are jogging or faster walking.
An awesome example of HIIT cardio would be a spin class. By design these classes have intervals of harder pedaling (increasing the resistance), easier pedaling (lowering the resistance), as well as intervals where you are standing and are exerting yourself more along with rest periods.
If you wanted to do HIIT intervals yourself you could do so on any piece of equipment or outside. The easiest way to do it is to time yourself for what I call a 30/30 interval.
30 seconds of all out exertion
30 seconds of active rest.
You can repeat this for as long as you want, but I recommend starting conservative at around 5-10 minutes and working your way up to 20 minutes (feel free to change your intervals as you see fit).
The second disclaimer to obtaining abs is you can’t outwork a bad diet. So if a nice strong core is what you’re looking for, I would highly recommend getting your diet under control, and some consistency in that department. I would highly recommend cutting SOME carbs from your diet and seeing how your body reacts. If you start to notice a difference in the minute amount of carbs being scrapped than this is a great thing!
The diet portion of this is far more complicated than what can be summed up in a few sentences, but that’s my best recommendation in about 100 words. The bottomline is, you do have to use the right cardio-HIIT, and switch up your diet somewhat to get those abs to come through.
Now that we have gotten the disclaimers out of the way, I will give you my personal go-to core workout. All you will need is 15 vigorous minutes with no breaks to leave your core shaky and sore. This is a time under tension workout (TUT) and therefore you are doing all of these movements very slow and focusing hard on the squeeze portion of each one of these. Here are your movements:
1. Weighted Vertical Crunch-I tend to do this one on a dip machine (as seen on the link). I go heavy with this because I have done this movement for awhile, but if you are a beginner I recommend going a little lighter to start. 12-15 reps, and squeezing the core the entire time.
2. Isolated Ab Twists with Band– These are pretty self explanatory, but the video is there for clarification, make sure you are squeezing the entire time, 15 slow reps each side.
3. Lying Leg Raises– These can be awful if you really slow this movement down on the way down. As your legs are getting closer to the floor, slow your tempo down, focus on your core, NOT your legs and this movement will be awful.
4. Ab Plank with Rotation– Starting in the plank position stay here for the first 20 seconds and then SLOWLY rotate left, hold for 15 seconds, back to your plank position for 20 seconds, slowly rotate right for 15 seconds, and back to your plank position for another 20 seconds. Hold your stomach in, keep everything tight, and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.
Repeat these 4 movements for the next 15 minutes and you are guaranteed to leave shaky and tired. We are headed into fall weather, but your summer body will thank you.
Remember if you want a great core a. get your diet in order, b. get the right cardio in, and c. work that core, HARD.
As always, keep working hard.
Megan Williams Training