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The secret to flatter abs

posted on Friday, 17th June 2016 | find under Fitness
Want to tone up your stomach? While they say abs are made in the kitchen, toning your tum with targeted moves is also essential. Enter our expert ambassadors exercises for abs of steel.

Nikki Urwin and Hank, Notting Hill

how to get abs of steel
Nikki wears the Bakasana Top and Urdhva Reversible Leggings

1. Come into a strong plank position. Remember to engage your abdominals thinking of a long spine, tucking your tail, drawing pubic bone towards the nose.

2. Spread your hands wide and place your shoulder directly over your wrists. Feel yourself lift from the space between your shoulders and back of your neck drawing your shoulders away from your ears. 

3. It is important that you initiate this move from your core, not just from the back of the leg. Extend one leg, lengthening it away from the hip so your foot lifts off the mat a few inches.

4. As you extend your leg away, your hip will lift slightly, the challenge is to keep the rest of your body stable as possible. Return your foot to the mat and extend the other leg and repeat the lift five to seven times on each side. Try not to tense up, use only as much energy as you need to keep perfect form and breathe steadily. Focusing on creating length from the tip of your toe to the crown of your head. 

Find out more about Nikki at NubodyPilates.com

Charlie Morgan, Battersea

how to get abs of steel
Charlie wears the Yama Yoga Bra and Isolate Capris

Boat pose is the perfect pose to gain great abs for the summer. Come to a seated position with the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Grab hold of the backs of your knees and lift your feet of off the floor. Engage your core, lengthen through the spine and extend the legs as much as you can. Then release your arms by your sides. Try and hold this for 10 breaths, then relax. Repeat 5 times. 

Find out more about Charlie at CharlieMorganYoga.com

Ellie Priest, Brighton

abs of steel blog

1. Lie on your back with neutral spine. Bend your knees up so your shins are parallel to the floor. Place your hands behind your head, supporting the base of the skull. Keep the elbows wide. 

2. Then exhale and draw your abs in and up (leaving the pelvis in a neutral position), curl the chin and shoulders off the mat up to the base of the shoulder blades before inhaling to hold.
3. Exhale and keeping the elbows wide, rotate from your ribs toward the bent right knee and extend the left leg.Inhale: Inhale come back to the centre.
4. Exhale and rotate your upper body towards the left knee. Keep your chest open and elbows wide the whole time and extend the right leg. Repeat for around a minute. 

Find out more about Ellie at BrightonPilates.co.uk

Dee Moi, Global Ambassador

how to get abs of steel
Dee wears the Brahma Padded Bra and Dynamic Yoga Leggings

1. Start on hands and knees in a long stance and position the shoulders directly over the wrists with the arms strong and perpendicular to the floor. Do not bend your elbows. Lift your knees off the floor until your torso is parallel to the floor.

2. Rotate your triceps outwards and firm the base of your index and thumb fingers into the floor. Draw your shoulder blades down your back and firm them against your back, then imagine a hand pressing between them and you are trying to push that hand away from you, in other words allow them to spread away from the spine. 

3. Keep the firming action in the upper body as you lift your front thighs away from the floor by engaging your quadriceps without locking the knees.

4. Lengthen your tailbone in the direction of your heels and push your heels to the back of the room. 

5. Lengthen the crown of the head forward and keep your teeth, throat and eyes soft while you hold the pose for 60 seconds before dropping to your knees and taking a child's pose.

Find out more about Dee at DeeMoi.co.uk

Amalia Steel, Cambridge
how to get abs of steel
Amaila wears the Isolate Capris

1. Lie face up on the mat then place a fitness ball between your feet and ankles. Squeeze to hold tight.

2. Start with hips in neutral position, legs straight, ball touching floor, arms overhead. Draw the navel and lower back down towards floor and engage the abdominal muscles.

3. Lift legs while simultaneously reaching the arms upwards to receive the ball.

4. Pass ball to hands then slowly lower legs to the floor while extending arms overhead. Reverse the motion, lifting arms and legs to place the ball back between feet and ankles.

5. Squeeze the ball and slowly lower legs while extending arms overhead, returning to start position. Work towards 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions. 

Find out more about Amalia at Ethos.co

Victoria Milligan, Global Ambassador

how to get abs of steel
Victoria wears the Athlete Vest and Spilts Leggings

One of my favourite exercises for abs is the Double Crunch. It is super time effective as it works the loser and upper abdominal at the same time and can be tailored to anyone's abdominal strength. I am using a 3k dumbbell in the picture but start without a weight until you get the technique correct.

1. Start with straight legs lifted straight up into the air, with heels pushing away from you keeping your coccyx on the mat. Lift your head and shoulders off the mat and reach up with your hands to touch your knees or shins depending on flexibility.

2. Sucking your belly button into your spine, slowly start lowering your legs whilst simultaneously lowering your head and shoulders to the mat and taking your arms straight arms above your head. Lower your legs far enough so that you feel the bite in your lower abdominals but not too low that you feel it in your lower back. Ensure that you keep you belly button sucked in and a neutral curve in your spine during the whole exercise.

3. When you have 'opened out' reverse the move by bringing straight legs up to 90 degrees again, head and shoulders off the mat and arms reaching towards the knees or shins.

4. When you are comfortable with the exercise and want to add some extra challenge to the exercise, add a dumbbell.

Find out more about Victoria at VictoriaMilligan.co.uk

Sally Talbot, Bluewater

abs of steelSally wears the Zero Gravity Run Tights

1. Lie on your side with your elbow under your shoulder and your legs straight and on top of each other and keep your core engaged throughout.

2. Plank up so the weight of your body is on your forearm and feet then exhale as you slowly lift your top leg up about 30cm towards the sky

3. Inhale as you lower your leg. Your body should remain still in the plank position at all times. Repeat this 12 times before repeating on the other side.

Find out more about Sally at CompletelyHolisticFitness.co.uk

Kim Ingelby, Bristol

how to get abs of steel
Kim wears the Resistance Bra and Pump It Capris

I love a straight arm plank to tone the abs.

1. Lie on your tummy and place your hands in line with your bust, lift your body weight up so you are holding your body in a straight line.  Your arms are directly under your shoulders, lower core muscles switched on and feet together. Breath and hold this position for 30 secs.

3. Concentrating on keeping your hips level, lift one hand off the ground and bring it up to your bust line (like a row movement, so your arm stays close to your body), and back down again. Aim to do 5 – 20 rows each side.

3. Rebalance, and repeat the same exercise with the opposite arm. One side may feel stronger and better balanced than the other, so you may have to really concentrate to keep your balance. Remember to breathe.

4. If you are feeling super strong, you can lift the right arm into the row, whilst extending the left leg. Pause, hold, breathe out and relax, switch sides and repeat. If you can, aim to do 5 arm and leg extensions on each side.

5. Finish by holding the straight arm full plank for another 30 seconds. Pause, stretch out, breathe, then repeat the exercises 2-4 sets for Abs of Steel! 

Find out more about Kim at EnergisedPerformance.com

Julie Diamond, Montana Avenue

ambassador guide to abs of steel
Julie wears the Athlete Vest and Shallow Water Leggings

1. Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground (pull your ABS down to also engage your deep abs), then interlace your fingers & put your hands behind your head.

2. Lift your legs & shoulder blades off the ground. Bend your left knee while turning your upper body to the left bringing your right elbow to your left knee (make sure your rib cage is moving & not just your elbows).

3. Now straighten your left leg to match your right & hold 3 seconds. Switch sides & do the same motion to complete one rep. Repeat for 15-25 reps, try to stay slow and controlled. 

Find more about Julie at JulieDiamondFitness.com

Hollie Grant, Global Ambassador

how to get abs of steel
Hollie wears the Brahma Bra and Level Workout Leggings

This is Pike on the fitness ball. Great for abdominal strength, proprioception, balance and endurance. Ensure you use your abdominals to lift the hips, not just hip flexors.

1. Set yourself up in a strong plank position on the ball - hips usually need to be higher than what feels natural when on the ball so watch you aren't dipping into your lumbar.

2. Inhale to prepare and on the exhale draw the abdominals in, press into the hands and lift the hips upto the ceiling, rolling onto the toes on the ball and forming a triangle with your body.

3. Inhale to hold and on your next exhale slowly, and with control, begin to roll back into your start position. 

Find more about Hollie at PilatesPT.co.uk

Melody Davi, Madison Avenue, New York

how to get abs of steel

1. Begin in a high plank: arms straight, shoulders stacked over wrists, hips in line with shoulders, towel/slider under both feet

2. Bend knees halfway into chest; stop when they create a 90 degree angle. 

3. Extend legs back straight to high plank (option to add a pushup)

4. Repeat slowly for 1 min, 3 x through.  (Make sure to initiate movement from abdominal tightening and lifting as opposed to legs pulling!)

Find out more about Melody at MelodyDavi.com

Ciaran Organ, Marlow

how to get flatter abs
Ciaran wears the Sunrise Run Tank and Kicker Run Capri

Sit on the mat and place your hands in prayer. Draw the belly in and curl your spine into a C shape. Twist the upper body with one elbow touching the floor and the other pointing to the ceiling, holding your tummy in to keep the hips and knees still. Repeat on the other side. 

Find out more about Ciaran at PureStretch.co.uk

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