In order to help you get your abs bikini ready for summer its important to know the different parts of your ab muscles so you can target each area appropriately. There are three general areas, the rectus abdominus made up of the upper and lower abs, the obliques, which are on the side and the transverse abdominal muscle. The upper rectus abdominus is what people typically think of as the six-pack and the lower rectus abdominus is below your belly button. The obliques are the muscles on the sides of your abdomen and allow your body to twist and bend. Finally, the transverse abdominal muscles are very important and one the most overlooked. Suck in your stomach; you have just activated this important muscle, which is like a corset that holds in your internal organs. This muscle helps you stay balanced and stabilizes your lower back. This muscle essentially tucks it all in and gives you an overall tighter, slimmer and sleeker midsection. One of the most effective moves to work this muscle is the plank, which has the added bonus of not just working your abs but your back and arms. For beginners simply holding a standard plank for 30 seconds and working your way up to one minute is great! The modified version is to do the plank on your elbows and the more advanced is to go up to your arms. There are a few easy instructions to follow:
- Keep the elbows under the shoulders (or you can do a plank on your hands)
- Rise onto your toes, feet are just outside of hip-width
- Pull your abdominals into the spine-keep them locked there
- Squeeze the glutes and remember to keep your booty down. It shouldn’t be hiked up in the air
Ok now that we have the basics lets make it even harder.
Plank Twists: My absolute favorite move, which you may have heard me talk about on twitter, the plank twist. While up in your plank position take your left knee and try to drive it towards your right arm pit and then switch sides.
Elbow to hand planks: Start up in the plank position on your hands and then lower to your elbow one side then the next and then instantly go back up on to your hands. Aim to do this up and down plank exercise for a full minute.
Plank with a leg lift: While on your hands or elbows simply lift your left leg into the air straight out for 15 seconds and then extend it out to the side for another 15 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
Spiderman Plank: While up on your hands, lift and bend your left leg and try to bring this knee up to the left elbow then repeat on the other side. Once you are more advanced hold for a few seconds on each side before returning to your starting position.
Renegade rows: These are great because they also really focus in on your upper back. Place a set of weights underneath your hands, start light and work your way up. When you are in your plank position on your hands lift your right arm, focus on keeping the arm close to the body and the elbow will point up to ceiling. Aim to do 15-20 each side.
I hope you guys like a few of these plank exercises and I promise to demonstrate them on video soon! Be sure to check back on my site, as I will post all about side planks and their variations soon! XOXO