Want to know how to reveal your abs? Then read this. Because if you’re not following these rules, you might not see the results you’re after. Here, your core commandments, courtesy of the pros: performance coach Brett Klika and strength and conditioning specialist Michelle Arent.
Do focus on full-body exercises
And skip targeted ones. A new study found that moves that recruit the delts and glutes (like the bird dog) create more ab activation than crunches do. Plus, total-body moves, like dead lifts, burn more fat, getting you closer to those lean-body goals.
Do practise “crocodile breathing”
It engages abs more. How to: lie on your belly, hands under your forehead. Inhale through your nose, filling your abdomen (not chest) for five seconds. Hold for one count; exhale for three. Try it while working out, exhaling during the exertion part of the move.
Do chest openers
Exercises that work the back and open the front of the body will improve your core strength and posture by firing up your glutes and the muscles along your spine. And these moves tend to retract your head (which pokes forward most of the day, putting pressure on your midsection).
Don’t waste time with tons of crunches
“Crunches aren’t worth it,” says Klika. They just don’t do much to work any part of the core except the rectus abdominis. Plus, if you sit and hunch at your desk all day, the last thing you need is more forward-bending movements, says Klika.
Don’t fret about marathon planks
A four-minute plank might be a cool challenge, but it doesn’t translate to everyday life or sports, says Arent. The better choice: a variety of moves that work on stiffness, rotation and anti-rotation.
Don’t skip unilateral moves
One-limbed exercises are a great way to increase core activation. They can be tough, so start with body-weight options, like a one-legged glute bridge, step-up or Bulgarian split squat. Using one limb means the core has to work overtime to make sure the body stays stable, says Klika.