For my whole life I’ve thought that I had a strong core. This all changed when I started S.W.E.A.T. 1000 a year ago and failed miserably when it came to the interval that focused on building up our core strength. That first class, I realised just how many abs exercises lay ahead of me.
S.W.E.A.T. 1000 is a one-hour workout that promises to have you sweating up a storm and burning calories faster than you can run on the treadmill. S.W.E.A.T. stands for Specialised Weight Endurance Athletic Training and, if you push hard, you can burn up to 1 000 calories per class. Put them together and you get S.W.E.A.T. 1000. Each class combines cardio and weight training, so throughout the class you’ll move back and forth from the treadmills to the floor.
Usually, at the end of each class, before the final sprints, there is a section of class that focuses just on your core. This is where I came horribly short at first (to be fair, though, I came horribly short in every aspect of that first class). Luckily, I’m building up my strength with each class and the difference between where I was and where I am now is massive. There are, however, four core exercises that still kill me every time, so I know that they’re working my abs hard – and they’ll work yours hard too. Here they are:
Lie on the floor with your fingertips at your temples, your knees at 90 degrees. Tighten your stomach muscles and bring your right knee to your left elbow, while extending your left leg. Reverse the movement and repeat on the other side.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Hold a medium to heavy weight with both hands, then lean back so your torso is at a 45-degree angle with the floor. Bracing your core, rotate to the right as far as you can, moving the weight to the side of your body. Pause, then reverse the movement and repeat on the other side.
Lie on your back, legs straight, arms straight above your head. Tilt your pelvis up to flatten your lower back against the floor. Keeping your tummy muscles tight, bring your legs up to ninety degrees, knees bent, then raise your shoulders off the floor. Extend your legs out straight, hovering a few centimetres above the ground. Hold for 10 seconds. Don’t arch your lower back.
Up, Up, Down, Downs
Get into plank position, forearms on the floor, elbows under your shoulders, legs extended behind you. Place your right hand flat on the floor, then your left, straightening your arms to push-up position. Return to start by lowering onto your right, then left, forearms. Repeat, leading with your left hand, and continue to alternate.
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