1. Always engage your core in everything you do
We always need to make a conscious effort to work our core! From standing at the bus stop to sitting in the office – remind yourself; draw your belly button into your spine, pull your ribs down, sit up straight, chest open, shoulders down – engage that core make it strong.This will work your abs without you even knowing it and help develop a strong posture throughout life.
2. Drink water when you first get up and before you go to sleep
Dehydration is the enemy! Your body sees this as a threat and then does everything it can to retain fluid causing your body to bloat and gain weight. Caffeine is a diuretic and so only adds to the problem by further dehydrating your body. Rather than starting the day with a coffee, treat yourself to a pint of trusty water. For that added benefit and some tasty citrus flavour, add a chunk of lemon!
3. Compound movements – squats and deadlifts
These are great as they will target your whole body especially your mid-section as your core is engaged throughout. The after effect is a metabolism that will continue to be active well after your workout. Plus your legs and bum get some much-needed attention.
4. Planks, normal and side
These are great at activating your deeper core muscles pulling that tummy in and keeping you long and lean. There are so many variations to the plank, mix it up and see the benefits develop before your eyes. Planks are fantastic stabilisers for your entire body, working the shoulders, arms and that all important core. A strong core is vital to safe and effective training and is very important in the long term for you to maintain a good, strong, healthy posture!
This is a great tool to learn how to really understand your core, engage it and work it. Pilates focuses on technique, alignment and lengthening while maintaining a focus on your core at all times. This lead to long, lean and healthy physique with a tummy to die for!
Reformer Pilates allows for a huge range of exercises, come and give it a go at Frame.
6. Avoid crunches
Yay, great news! People like to crunch, as they feel the burn as they are doing it, but, in fact they do not help, crunches will build the top layer of abdominal muscle outwards rather than pulling them in. They can also be quite damaging on the neck and back if done badly, you are far better off targeting the transverse deep core muscles to pull it all in and work towards that flat tummy you have always wanted. Don’t forget about working the back, this will help to support your core and also pull in further. If you have weak or tight back muscles they can become under active and short causing your abs to lengthen and disengage.
Maintaining a flexible body is vital in life. You should always do a warm up before exercise to mobilise the body and get it prepared for what’s to come and always have a good stretch after to prevent the mucsles from tightening up. Remember if you have 1 really tight muscle the opposite 1 will lengthen causing it to disengage and stop working, for instance if the lower back is tight the abs could become loose or if you have one oblique becomes tight the opposite one will lengthen causing you to be lopsided. Flexibility allows all your muscles to work together allowing your core to function properly and your tummy to tighten!