When many of us think of losing weight we immediately look at our midsection to see how many inches we need to take off our waistline. During the holidays eating can get out of control from all of the festive goodies that are flowing around each party, causing us to add an inch, or two. Though the holidays are over, you may still be suffering from a “holiday hangover,” even in February.
It is true that our nutritional intake will determine the majority of our fat loss to the midsection, proper training can also help slash body fat. A well-rounded weight training program, complimented with some good cardiovascular exercise will be a great addition to a diet full of veggies, high quality protein, healthy fats, and water. Proper core (abdominal) training will also help carve out the midsection that you desire. Not only for aesthetic purposes, but also to help you increase your core strength. Once you lose the body fat that you desire, having a strong abdominal region will only help your progress. Try these 5 core exercises this month to help regain the midsection you need for spring break.
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Not every gym will have this apparatus, but most gyms will have a barbell that you can stick into any corner of a room. They will both work. Grab onto the handle, or the top part of the barbell securely. Make sure to maintain neutral posture at all times. Squeeze your glutes and abdominals, soften your knees, and keep your arms strength throughout the movement. You will perform the movement by making a half circle as large as you can without breaking posture. You will ONLY move your arms and nothing else. This exercise is sure to hit every deep core muscle in your body. Perform 5-10 reps each way.
Regression: use the lightest barbell you can find and progress from there.
Find a sturdy weight bench and lay down on your side. Start with your hipbone at the end of the bench. If you are on your right side, place your right foot underneath the right side of the bench, and place your left foot under the left side of the bench. With your body in neutral posture, lower your body until it is parallel to the ground. Try and hold up to 6- seconds on each side.
Regression: Hold a side plank for 60 seconds before you try this move.
Wide Stance Anti-Rotation
Find a cable stack and use a rope attachment. With neutral posture, straighten your arms as much as possible in front of you. ONLY move your arms through the movement as you draw a straight line in front of you. Squeeze all of your core muscle and brace your body. Again, do not move anything BUT your arms during the movement. Strive for 8 reps each direction.
Regression: Close your stance and use very light weight.
Lying down on the floor, place your arms above your head. Raise yours arms and legs about 4-6 inches off the ground while keeping them as straight as possible. Press your lower back into the ground and tighten your abdominals. Once you are in this position, rock your body back and forth without breaking posture. Go for 15-20 seconds without breaking posture.
Regression: Start by holding this position for 20-30 seconds.
Assume a push-up position on your hands and feet. Walk your hands out as far as possible without breaking neutral posture. Simply hold as long as you can until you cannot maintain neutral posture. Make sure to squeeze your glutes and abdominals, and keep your chin tucked. To make the exercise harder, keep your legs closer together. To make it easier, spread your feet apart. 45-60 seconds should do the trick.
Regression: Start by holding a push-up plank position for 45-60 seconds.
Justin Grinnell is the Owner of State of Fitness in East Lansing, Michigan. State of Fitness opened up just four years ago and is already one of the leading training facilities in the Midwest. State of Fitness has over 450 members who train every day under his leadership. In addition to being a facility owner, Justin has his own blog at www.grinnelltraining.com (link below), and has been a featured writer for over 6 years in the magazine Healthy & Fit and is a writer for Muscle & Fitness.