3x sets of 12 repetions of each exercise
And, remember, those 5 exercises are part of a comprehensive core workout. Select one of them or all and add them perhaps to your core routine. Have fun with it, be inspired and creative!
1. Bicycle Crunches
This move works your abs two and a half times harder than those sit-ups we’ve all tried, according to the San Diego study.
- Lie on your back with your feet in the air and your knees bent to 90 degrees.
- Place hands behind your head.
- Bring your knees in towards your chest and lift your shoulder blades off the ground, without pulling on your neck.
- Straighten your left leg so it’s at 45 degrees to the floor while turning your upper body to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee.
- Switch sides, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee.
- Alternate sides while pumping your legs back and forth in a cycling motion.
2. Vertical Knee Raises
- Position yourself in the ‘captain’s chair’ machine and grip the handles to stabilise your upper body.
- Press your back against the pad and tense your abs.
- Raise your legs and bend your knees upwards until your knees are level with the bottom of your chest. Don’t arch your back.
- Pause for a second at the top of the move, then lower slowly to the start.
3. Vertical Leg Crunch
- Get some grit under your belt by lying on the ground with your hips bent at 90 degrees to the floor with your knees locked.
- Your body should form an L-shape with your torso on the ground and legs in the air.
- Lift your hips and your lower back off the floor and towards the ceiling.
- Quickly inhale through your nose to fully expand your lungs. Then slowly exhale the air through your mouth, using your abs and diaphragm as much as possible.
- Slowly lower hips back to your starting position
4. Roll Out
- Start this exercise by kneeling in front of a barbell.
- With arms shoulder-width apart, grab it with an overhand grip.
- Keeping your arms straight, with just a slight arch in your elbows, roll the barbell out in front of you so you lower your trunk to the floor.
- When you’re about 5cm above the ground, pull back on the bar so you roll yourself and the bar back to the start position. You should finish with your torso upright.
5. Swiss Ball Crunch
Crunching with your back on a Swiss ball makes you recruit 45 per cent more muscle in your core than doing it on the floor, suggests research in the Journal of Physical Therapy.
- Lie face-up with the Swiss ball resting under your lower back.
- Cross your arms over your chest.
- Tense your abs to lift your torso off the ball, pulling the bottom of your rib cage down towards your hips.
- As you curl up, keep the ball stable.
- Squeeze your abs at the top of the movement.
- Lower yourself to the start and begin again.