Ab-exercises

The Best Lower Ab Exercises Ever

Looking to tone up your body, just in time for the much anticipated bikini season? Some simple ways to shed those extra kilograms include eating right, avoiding processed foods and working out. The secret to a flat tummy is a series of simple but effective exercises which work out the abdominal muscles, and keep your body looking in fabulous shape.

Beginners

Bent Knee Hip Raise

  1. Start off by lying on your back, and keep your arms stretched out straight on your sides.
  2. Now bend your knees at a 90º angle, and raise your hips off the floor. At this stage, the goal should be to keep your knees above your chest. Then simply go back into the start position.
Bent Knee Hip Raise
Bent Knee Hip Raise

Lying Leg Raises

  1. Lie down on your back, and place your hands under your hips.
  2. Press your legs together and raise them upwards. Remember to point your toes, and keep your body straight.
  3. Feel free to use ankle weights for extra resistance.

Intermediate

Mountain Climbers

  1. Get into a push-up position, and keep your back nice and straight.
  2. Push your hips down to the floor, and bring your knee up to your chest. Switch legs in a climbing position.
Mountain Climbers
Mountain Climbers

Advanced

Jack Knife

  1. Using a fit ball, get into a push up position with your legs arched and your back straight as can be.
  2. Bring your thighs forward towards your abdomen and stop once your tip-toes are touching the ball.
Bosu Bicycle Crunch
Bosu Bicycle Crunch

Bosu Bicycle Crunch

  1. Hop onto a bosu ball, and raise both of your legs into an arched position. Make sure you’re in a position where you can keep your balance.
  2. Place hands behind your head, and keep your legs straight. Now bring one knee towards the chest, and alternate just like you’re riding a bicycle.

Images via TW Fitness, Will Run For Boston, Ground Report

August 18, 2014

Fitness Tips: 3 Exercises to Get Strong Abs

Many women underestimate the importance of their abdominal muscles. Strong, toned and defined abs do much more than just improve your appearance and help you fit into your skinny jeans. Your abs are part of a group of muscles known as core muscles, which are your body’s critical supporting tissues. They help you even when you don’t realise it, such as properly supporting your spine, improving upper body strength and helping to minimise the risk of injury. If you want stronger abs, here are a few exercises that will help you get them.

Leg Lifts

You might think that lifting your legs has nothing to do with your abs, but you’d be mistaken. As you lift, your abs work to stabilise your legs, hips and butt, thereby taking on the bulk of the workout’s intensity. Best of all, this simple and effective exercise can be done in the comfort of your own home.

Find a spot on the floor that is large enough to allow free movement. Lie down flat on your back with your legs extended and your arms resting above you. Next, slowly lift your legs and arms until they’re at a 90 degree angle to your body, ideally making an attempt to touch your toes. Hold the position for a few seconds before slowly lowering your arms and legs. Repeat each step until it becomes too difficult to continue.

You can also put your own spin on this exercise. For example, it works very well with a stability ball. Assume the same position, but grasp the ball between your knees and try not to drop it. This will force your legs further apart and give you something to hold onto, which will help to increase the resistance. If regular leg lifts have become too easy for you, this is an ideal next step.

Deadlifts

Deadlifts are a classic bodybuilding exercise meant to ramp up muscle growth. However, they’re useful for far more than that. Deadlifts challenge nearly every muscle in your body, but especially your core abdominal muscles. If you want to make them stronger in a hurry, this exercise is your best option.

Depending on your current fitness level, choose a weight that challenges you but that you’re also comfortable with. Set the weights on the floor and stand in front of them with your feet flat and shoulder-width apart. With smooth, controlled movements, squat down and take hold of the weights. Keeping your spine straight and your abs tensed, lift using your knees and not your back. Bring your body back to its full standing position and repeat the movement in reverse until the weights are back on the floor. This exercise should present a challenge, so if it’s too easy for you, choose a higher weight to get more results.

Hanging Crunches

For strengthening abdominal muscles, it all comes down to crunches. However, normal crunches, although helpful, stop being as effective once you reach a certain level of fitness. So you have to increase the challenge. Pull-ups are good ab exercises, but what if you haven’t worked up to those yet? Well, you can get the best of both worlds by doing hanging crunches.

Find a pull-up bar and grab onto it like you’re about to do a pull-up. Make sure that your hands are spaced evenly on the bar to prevent shoulder injuries. Next, put your legs together and carefully bring your knees up toward your abdomen. Bring them up as far as you can and hold the position for a few seconds. Slowly lower them back to the ground and repeat.

What exercises do you do for strong abs?

March 19, 2014

5 Secrets of Ageing Gracefully

Most of us worry about ageing by focusing on how our face will look. But as we age, so does your body – your muscles shorten, your bones weaken and you repair from injury more slowly. It is important to not only look after your skin, but your body as well. The healthier you are on the inside, the healthier and more youthful you will look on the outside.

Jason T Smith, renowned physiotherapist, founder of the Back In Motion Health Group and author of Get Yourself Back In Motion shares his five secrets to help you age gracefully.

1. Walk everyday
Walking every day is one of the easiest ways to maintain fitness and keep you looking and feeling younger. The motion your body goes through when walking is similar to the motion you go through as when you run; your arms and legs move simultaneously together. The benefit of walking over running is that you’re not putting as much stress on your joints and therefore minimising the risk of damage.

You can walk for much longer periods of time than you can run (unless you are super fit!), and it is easy to incorporate into your everyday activities as incidental exercise. Walk up the stairs, walk to the train station or even walk to work if you live close enough.

2. Focus on your abs
As we age, that fit toned tummy seems to almost disappear. Sagging stomach muscles are one of the first signs of ageing. A strong core helps your posture and balance, which can make you look and feel younger. One of the main reasons for back pain is bad posture. If you strengthen your stomach muscles, your posture will improve and back pain can be better managed. Your abs are also important for your balance as they are the centre of your core. I would recommend exercising your core 2-3 times per week. Sit on a physio ball and see how well you can balance by drawing your stomach in and moving your pelvis side to side.

3. Eat healthily
A diet that lacks in nutrition will age you both internally and externally, with obesity proven to accelerate the process of ageing. Eating a healthy, balanced diet low in sugar is the best anti-ageing medicine! Eat plenty of whole foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables and lean meat. Avoid highly processed foods as these are high in fats, sugars, salts and plenty of other nasties that may accelerate the ageing process. Drinking 1-2 litres of water a day is beneficial to help eliminate the toxins in your body.

4. Squats
Squatting isn’t just a great thigh and buttock toner; it’s one of the most natural human movements – think of how many times a day you stand up from a seated position. If done properly, squats help stimulate muscle growth and develop muscle mass throughout your whole body. This movement also spreads nutrition from foods your body has processed into your organs and glands. Squats help to keep your body healthy on the inside, whilst keeping your youthful look on the outside. Start with 10 squats a day, and increase over time, for health and body benefits.

5. Moving regularly
Consistency is key! Start small and increase your exercise weekly as your fitness levels improve. However many times you exercise per week, keep it consistent. You won’t see results if your exercise regime is irregular.

Jason Smith is the founder of Back In Motion Health Group, Australia’s leading provider of physiotherapy and related services. Jason’s new book Get Yourself Back In Motion is available at Back In Motion practices around Australia, major book retailers and online bookstores, RRP $34.95.

January 7, 2014