Is a strong, toned stomach your ultimate fitness goal? Doing hundreds of sit-ups and crunches every day to get closer to the washboard abs you crave? Then we have some counterintuitive advice: Stop doing them! Isolated abdominal exercises are a great supplement to your workout, but they’re not enough to give you an all-around strong core. The key to success is a holistic workout combined with the right nutrition that supports your fitness goals. Click here for our nutrition plans for healthy weight loss and muscle building.
Why are strong core muscles so important? They stabilize your entire midsection, help maintain a healthy posture, and are just as necessary for numerous everyday movements as they are for athletic performance. The frontal abs, also called the rectus abdominis, are very popular, so many people forget to strengthen the lateral, posterior and oblique muscles in the core as well. The good news is that it’s a lot easier than you probably think! Here are the five most important success factors on your way to a strong core:
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1. Do full-body exercises above all else
Sure, crunches and sit-ups are the classics for a toned core, but they activate almost exclusively the frontal abs. You can achieve a much more effective, holistic abdominal workout with exercises that require your torso to stabilize the rest of your body. These include, for example, the basic exercises of squats, lunges, push-ups, and pull-ups.
These full-body strength training exercises have one big advantage: you get your entire body in shape because you’re training not only your core, but also your leg, glutes, back, and arm muscles at the same time.
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2. Focus on balance training
Another effective way to strengthen your core is balance training or stabilization training. This kind of exercise improves your body’s stability – and leads to a firm, strong core along the way.
Stabilization exercises are typically isometric strength exercises, which means that you don’t move at all or just a little bit. Holding a static position requires a high degree of body control, body tension, and concentration. Some great exercises to get started with include standing balance poses, one-legged glute bridges, and pistol squats.
Kettlebells are the ultimate tool for getting your entire body in shape. Their big advantage over classic dumbbells: because the weight isn’t directly on the handle, your body is forced to cope with centrifugal forces. Your torso has to stabilize your body during almost every exercise to compensate for the imbalance. After a kettlebell set you’ll really feel it in your abs. Here’s our top twelve kettlebell exercises for your next workout.
Don’t forget to provide your body with important nutrients after a workout, like our Recovery Aminos!
4. Train your belly from all sides
Do you love ab exercises? Then you don’t have to cut them out of your workout completely! Just make your abdominal workout varied and integrate different movement patterns like torso bending, side bending, and rotations. Use a combination of classic exercises like planks, bicycle crunches, and Russian twists. Click here for our most effective exercises for a toned core!
When you’re more advanced, try to make static exercises like planks more difficult by placing your elbows on an unstable surface (like a medicine ball) and rotating in a circle. Your core muscles will thank you!
Our tip: Complete your workout twice a week with a circuit of ab exercises. Ten to 15 minutes extra is enough.
5. Work out regularly and stay motivated
One of the most important success factors on your way to reaching your fitness goals is continuity! If you want to be fit and toned in the long term, you have to make lasting changes to your lifestyle. Don’t lose hope if you don’t achieve the desired effect right away. Every body is different!
Instead, develop a healthy diet and make your holistic fitness plans into a routine. Our tip for avoiding boredom and making steady progress: Keep your workout varied! Super tools for this include dumbbells, resistance bands, and the previously mentioned kettlebell. The most important thing is to stay on the ball! Here are our top motivational tips for when your inner slacker wants to stay on the couch.
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