By Cory Stieg; photograph by Juan Algarin
Because your tummy deserves some attention…
Best part: targeting your core produces more than a taut stomach — it turbo-charges your overall strength and metabolism.
That sports-bra-only yoga instructor. Women who make belly rings look sexy. Let’s face it: we’ve all had moments of ab envy. But beyond how well those women can pull off a crop top, there’s a more important reason their midsections should inspire you to work your own.
“Your overall strength stems from your core,” says spinning instructor Keoni Hudoba. “It’s the main pillar of your body. Your arm and leg movements originate from that centre, so the stronger your core is, the more efficient you’ll be in the weights room, on a run or in spinning class.”
This routine, created by Hudoba, is a two-for-one deal: it will build that critical core strength – and score you enviable abs. Do the following moves up to three days a week, moving from one to the next with as little rest as possible after each. (You can rest for up to 60 seconds between circuits.) Repeat for a total of three circuits.
You’ll need: a medicine ball or weight – choose a weight that challenges your core during the last few reps, without compromising proper form.
1. Reverse wood chop
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees bent, and hold a medicine ball outside your right knee. Keeping your arms straight, brace your core and stand as you raise the ball diagonally above your left shoulder. Pause, then return to the start. That’s one rep. Do five, then switch sides.
Quick tip: Choose a medicine-ball weight that challenges your core during the last few reps without compromising proper form.
2. Reverse lunge rotate
Hold a medicine ball with both arms extended at chest height, feet hip-width apart. In one motion, step your left foot back and bend both knees to lower into a lunge as you rotate your torso to the right, bringing the ball outside your right shoulder. Slowly reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Do five, then switch sides.
3. Folding chair
Lie on your back with your feet raised, knees bent 90 degrees and arms at your sides about five to 10cm off the floor, palms facing up. Brace your core and reach your fingertips towards your heels as you raise your shoulders off the floor, keeping your head neutral. Pause, then return to the start. That’s one rep. Do 10.
4. Ruler reach
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Extend your left leg, keeping it parallel to your right thigh. Brace your core and, on three counts, raise your back, keeping your head neutral and reaching your arms towards your left foot. Pause, then slowly roll down. That’s one rep. Do five, then switch sides.
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