#11 – Abs of steel

Hey guys! Welcome back to the Road to Hawaii series. Now the Easter break is over, it’s time to put down the chocolate and really spend the second half of this series completely focused and on track with our goals. Last week, I spoke about bringing in cardio to my workouts to really cut down my body fat to create that toned, lean look. I’ve decided to start implementing cardio twice a week into my workouts – going for 30 minute runs with a mixture of fast paced running and more relaxed jogging. This method is called interval training and I find that it’s a great method to really feel the results. The method is quite simple – you are alternating between periods of high intensity cardio and low intensity. So what I’ve been doing is sprinting for 1-2 minutes and then taking a jog for 3 minutes before sprinting again for 1-2 minutes.

I’m hoping this cycle of cardio for the next few weeks will help me be able to shred my body fat down to a low percentage, to really make those abdominal muscles pop and become much more visible.

You can work your core and abs as much as you can, but if you don’t lose the fat on your body, then you aren’t going to see the results of your core workouts.

I don’t have the best abs by far and I’ve never had a full on 6 pack, but I always find the time to finish each day with some sort of core or abdominal exercise. So, I want to show you guys my ab workout below:

I’ve mentioned this exercise in this series before, but I swear by the plank. If you want to really build a strong core and strong ab muscles, then the plank is a must. And the best part of this? It takes about a minute of your day and you can do this exercise at home or at the gym.

Man doing plank. Courtesy of iStock
Place your elbows and the outside of your forearms on the floor directly below your shoulders. Push your upper body off the floor. Only your toes and elbows should be touching the floor. Squeeze and brace your stomach and butt. We want to tone those muscles! Try holding this position for 20-30 seconds. Every day after, aim to increase the hold by 10 seconds.

CRUNCH (4 sets to failure)

Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and feet placed on the floor. Place your hands behind your ears and have your arms bent. Tense and pull your stomach inwards. Curl your body up slowly using your chest (do not pull your head up with your hands!) making sure your head, neck and shoulders are off the floor. You do not want to sit up all the way (different exercise). You want to just bring your upper chest to a 45 degree angle. Lower your body back down. Repeat the exercise again and see how many you do. Increase by 1 each day after

Girl doing crunch. Courtesy of iStock

This is the one exercise that really takes my ab workout from intense to absolute killer. I’m a massive fan of using body weight exercises in my workouts to really build that strength, and I discovered this exercise a few years ago after reading about Bruce Lee. I love martial arts and after reading that this was Lee’s favourite ab exercise and how challenging it was, I decided I wanted to give it a go.

Dragon flag exercise. Courtesy of VAHVA Fitness

Lie on a flat bench and grip the bench behind your head. You want to tense your abs and brings your legs up from the bench, until you are in a straight diagonal line (see picture above). Point your toes to help your balance and maintain proper body alignment. Keep your abs contracted and hold that position for as long as you can. Keep practicing this exercise everyday and you’ll see your abs become more visible.

RUSSIAN TWISTS (4 sets x 20 reps)
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a kettlebell or bottle of water in your hands infront of you. Lean back until your are in a 45 degree angle. Keep your back straight throughout the duration of this exercise. Contract your core and lift your feet off the ground and rotate your arms all the way to one side and then to the opposite side. This is 1 rep.

Russian twist. Courteous of iStock