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Concrete abs: SB Ambassadors’ favourite core exercises

posted on Thursday, 29th October 2015 | find under Fitness

You heard it here first. Steel is out, concrete is in. With regard to your solid, super strong core, that is. With concrete hues running through the Tomboy collection, Team SB was reminded of the strength and sturdiness of the muscles you’re training beneath your favourite workout wear. And of course the hallmark of exceptional fitness is a solid core to support your every movement. Here Sweaty Betty ambassadors volunteer their favourite moves to strengthen and define your midsection....

Sweaty Betty Ambassador Hollie
Hollie wears the Yama Padded Yoga Bra and Dynamic Yoga Leggings

Bird Dog

“This is my favourite challenging core exercise as it works the small supportive core muscles rather than the more superficial rectus abdominis,” says global ambassador and Pilates PT founder Hollie Grant. “Great for strengthening the spine and building a solid foundation for your core.”

1. Start by placing hands and left knee on a fitness ball with your left leg extended out behind you, toe resting on the floor. Spend some time getting your balance and finding a point on the ball whereby your left big toe feels very light and you are no longer wobbly.

2. This may be challenging enough for you. If you want to work harder, try to lift and hold your left leg out behind you, keeping it in line with your spine. Squeeze your left glute to keep the leg high, engaging the abdominals to maintain balance.

3. Still feeling steady? For an even more advanced option, try reaching your right arm out in front of you too. 

Sweaty Betty Ambassador Kim
Kim wears the Sweat It Out Bra and Vinyasa Yoga Capris

Side Plank

Bristol ambassador Kim Ingleby swears by her five stages of side plank to secure an unshakeable middle. “By strengthening our obliques we improve our core strength for running, triathlon, skiing, snowboarding, cross fit and more,” she says. Here’s how to do it:

1. Bend your supporting leg and lift up from the waist. Keep your supporting elbow in line with your shoulder, extending the top arm into the air.

2. Add in a rotation of the top arm, threading it through the gap between your waist and the floor. This will work the internal and external obliques from a different angle.

3. Now lift the top leg off the floor to further activate your lower abs. Make sure you maintain your shoulder alignment.

4. For an added challenge, repeat the above sequence holding a kettlebell or dumbbell.

Sweaty Betty Ambassador Becky

Sweaty Betty Ambassador Becky

Becky wears the Niyama Yoga Vest and Contour Workout Leggings

Elephant’s Trunk

Walton Ambassador Becky Pell from The Yoga Hutch recommends this yoga pose for a creative way to hit the core.

1. Sit tall with the legs extended and feet flexed in Dandasana. Place hands flat on the mat either side of the hips and draw the pelvic floor up, as well as lightly drawing in and up just below the navel. As you exhale, press firmly into the hands to lift the bottom away from the mat. Stay here for 5 slow, steady breaths, and exhale to lower back down.

2. From Dandasana, bend the right leg and, supporting the knee, bring the ankle to rest just above the left knee. Keep flexing both feet, and providing there is no pressure in the right knee, place hands flat on the mat either side of the hips and draw the pelvic floor up, as before. Hold for 5 slow breaths on each side.

3. From the second stage position with the right leg bent, hold the inside of the right foot in the left hand. Scoop the right hand under the right heel to hold the outside of the foot, then encourage the thigh out and back, out and back, bringing the right upper arm under the leg. Imagine you're putting on a rucksack! Once the thigh is resting on the back of the upper arm or shoulder, release the hands to rest flat on the mat either side of the upper left thigh. Draw the pelvic floor up for the final time, holding here for 5 slow, steady breaths before switching sides.

Sweaty Betty Ambassador Dominika
Dominika wears the Zero Gravity Pinnacle Tights, Niyama Yoga Vest and Sprint Start Hoody

Scissor Kicks

Scissor Kicks are Richmond ambassador Dominika Brooks’ go-to abdominal strengthener.

1. Raise both legs toward the ceiling, press your lower back gently towards the floor. Inhale and tighten your core muscles.

2. Keeping the legs straight, lower your left leg until it’s about six inches off the floor. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor, hands supporting your head.

3. Holding the legs still, lift your head, neck and shoulders off the ground on exhale up and down 5-10 times. Switch legs and repeat on the other side.

Strong abs at the ready? Shop Sweaty Betty’s new winter collection to show off your progress in silhouette-flattering vests and layers.

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