Top 5 Ways to Strengthen your Abs
Having strong abdominals is essential for having a strong core and improving your overall strength, balance and posture. Having strong abdominal muscles is important because it helps to support the spine, improve posture, and can help recover from bouts of lower back pain. It also helps to stabilise the trunk so that the body can maintain balance during physical activities. Strong abs are also important for core strength, which is essential for performing everyday activities with ease.
At Surrey Physio, a big problem we see is that patients are generally deconditioned. We help to motivate you to do the right exercises.
In 2021, our founder Tim Allardyce presented a workshop at the World Conference on Injury Prevention and Performance for the International Olympic Committee in Monaco. During the workshop, he discussed the latest research and concepts around strong abs, and if core stability really helped to prevent back pain. Although there is limited research to actually support that it does prevent back pain, we can see clearly from numerous research studies that core strengthening helps people to recover from back pain.
Here are the top 5 ways to get your abs strong and toned:
1. Plank: Planks are an excellent way to target your core muscles and strengthen your abs. To do a plank, start on your hands and knees, then place your forearms on the floor and extend your legs. Keep your body in a straight line from your head to your toes, without allowing your belly to sag. Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat for 3 sets.
2. Crunches: Crunches are the classic ab exercise that helps to strengthen and tone your abs. To do a crunch, lie on your back with your knees bent, and perform a crunch by contracting your abdominal muscles and lifting your shoulder blades just off the floor. You can perform the exercise with your hands placed beside your head, or across your chest if you prefer. This exercise helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles.
3. Boxer Oblique Crunch: Boxer oblique crunches are a more advanced ab exercise that targets the entire core. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent, and perform a crunch by moving your elbow towards the opposite knee. You should make sure your shoulder blades just lift off the floor. Repeat each side. This exercise helps to strengthen the abdominal and oblique muscles. Switch sides and repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
4. Russian Supine Twists: Russian supine twists are a great move to target the oblique muscles as well as the abdominals. To do this exercise, start by lying with your back on the ball, arms outstretched and hands together. Rotate your torso don’t just twist your shoulders/arms. You will know if you are doing it correctly because your arms will remain straight. If your elbow is bending you are not rotating the torso. This is an excellent lower-upper back mobility exercise. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
5. Forward ball rolls: This is an advanced exercise that will help you target the entire core. Go on to your toes, with your elbows resting on a Swiss ball, roll the ball forwards by straightening your arms. Maintain good posture. This is a tough exercise, so only do this when you have adequate core strength. Hold the position for a few seconds and then pull the ball back towards your body. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
By incorporating these top 5 ab exercises into your workout routine, you can help strengthen and tone your abdominals. Remember to always warm up before doing any exercise and listen to your body to avoid injury.
(These videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises www.rehabmypatient.com. If you are a patient needing advice, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page).