We all love training our abs. Most power comes from having a strong core and strong legs. Here are some of my favourite abdominal exercises and common mistakes I see with clients.
Hanging leg raises
Either hanging from a rack or in a back supported chair slowly raise your legs by tilting your pelvis, then in a controlled movement bring them back down.
Don’t let your body relax at the bottom. Maintain a curve (pelvic tilt) throughout the entire movement. Otherwise, you’re engaging your hip flexors and not your abs. Think of the position your hips are in when doing a hip thrust.
you’re not engaging your upper body. You need to keep your scapula retracted, locked and all muscles braced throughout the movement
You’re using momentum. Swinging your body won’t do you any favours. Use a controlled motion from the bottom, all the way to the top of the movement and back down to starting position.
Tip: if you’re struggling to get reps in using proper form and effective tempo, try bending your knees. If that’s still too challenging, try doing them laying on a bench.
Plant your feet on the ground and distribute your weight on your toes and your forearms. Brace ALL your muscles, and pull your core tight for as long as you can.
Your butt is up in the air or your hips are sinking to the floor. People do this so they can hold the position longer. Longer doesn’t mean more effective. You also put more pressure on your shoulders which can cause injuries.
You’re not flexing every muscle in your body. You need to squeeze your thighs together while squeezing your quads. Arms and shoulders should be locked in position with your scapula retracted and arms strong.
Ideally, you want to picture your ribs being pulled toward your hips and your hips toward your ribs. Keep your lats flexed and toes pressed hard into the ground. Imagine you are trying to drag your toes toward your ribs. You won’t be able to do it, but try and pull your feet. All this going on while you keep your hips aligned with the rest of your body.. You want ALL your muscles fully engaged in this exercise. That’s a perfect plank!