Just because you’re not chasing a six-pack, it doesn’t mean you should neglect your abs. Personal trainer and performance nutritionist Tarek Shuhaibar has created a seven-move workout that won’t just fire up all the muscles in your midsection, it will also help your weightlifting workouts.
“During pretty much all of the major compound lifts – such as back squats and deadlifts – being able to maintain a neutral and stable pelvis under load is a key factor in being able to progress,” says Shuhaibar. “If you find your core losing tension and pelvis tilting, your form will break down and you may risk injury. The moves in this abs routine will teach you how to keep your hips and core stable.”
You don’t need any equipment for the following workout. Shuhaibar recommends spending one minute on each exercise with minimal rest between moves. If you struggle to hold each exercise for a minute, start at 30 seconds and build up the time you spend on each move over subsequent sessions.
1 High plank
Lie on your front, then push yourself up so you are supported on your toes and hands. Your arms should be extended and your wrists are directly under your shoulders. Engage your core and hold your body in a straight line.
2 Side plank left
Lie on your left side with your left forearm on the floor perpendicular to your body, and your elbow under your shoulder. Lift your hips so your body forms a straight line. Raise your right arm or rest your right hand on your hips.
3 Side plank right
Repeat the side plank movement on the other side.
4 Forearm plank
Rather than supporting your body with your hands, as in the high plank, use your forearms, with your elbows directly under your shoulders, and your hands flat on the floor. Engage your core and hold your body in a straight line.
Lie on your back. Extend your arms to raise your body, supporting your weight on your heels and hands, with your wrists under your shoulders. Engage your core and hold your body in a straight line.
6 Dish hold
Lie on your back with your legs together and arms by your sides. Engage your core and draw your bellybutton in towards the floor, then lift your legs and arms just off the floor. Keep your lower back in contact with the floor throughout.
7 Prone cobra
Lie on your front with your arms by your sides. Squeeze your legs and glutes, and lift your arms and chest, but keep your lower stomach in contact with the floor. Squeeze your shoulder blades and keep looking at the floor.
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Lucy is an experienced health and fitness journalist, and was formerly health editor for TI Media’s portfolio of women’s titles. Lucy qualified as a level 3 personal trainer with Train Fitness in 2016, and also holds qualifications in pre- and post-natal fitness, as well as in nutrition for exercise.