It’s said that sweat and tears equal results, but we believe in a slightly snappier (and more effective) approach. We believe that, in just five minutes every morning before work, you can make a world of difference to your body. Savoir Flair has teamed up with personal trainer and health blogger Carly Neave of Lean Living Girl for a series of five-minute workouts that target each main area of the body and, this week, it’s all about getting abs of steel to rival those of Victoria’s Secret Angels. Repeat each ab exercise below for one minute and feel the burn for a stronger core and a supermodel stomach.
Start in a raised plank position with your hands pressed firmly on the floor and your feet supported on your tip toes. Ensure your core and pelvic floor are engaged (imagine drawing your belly button to the back of your spine), with your shoulders relaxed. The lower back should be neutral, with hips in line with your whole body.
Start to draw your hips up to the sky, moving with a straight back. Continue until you reach an inverted “v-position” and then slowly draw your hips down, back to the starting plank position. The slower the movement, the more tension on the core and the more effective the exercise is. This is a great move for your abs, as well as the shoulder and back muscles. The most important thing is to have a controlled movement during which your core is engaged throughout; this will maximize the effectiveness of the exercise.
Start in a raised plank with your shoulders relaxed and core engaged, making sure that your neck is in line with your spine. Using a “sliding” surface (a tiled floor is perfect), slide your feet to just over shoulder-width apart using your core muscles to draw them out. Bring your feet back the same way, ensuring your upper body remains in a strong and stable position, with your back straight. This exercise is brilliant for building balance and getting your body to use the smaller muscles that are harder to target. It works the deep core muscles, as well as the obliques.
Rotating Side Plank
This is an advanced version of the classic side plank. Again, starting in the raised plank position, lift one arm up and start to slowly turn your body in one direction. Your feet will naturally shift. Keep your hips lifted high so that your body remains in a straight plank position throughout the movement and keep turning until you finish in a strong side-plank position with your glutes tucked in and core engaged. What you don’t want is for the straight-plank position to alter as you move through and up. Once you have reached the full position, come back down slowly to your starting plank.
Again, this is an advanced version of a classic crunch that targets more of the oblique muscles. Begin by lying on the floor with both knees bent before lifting one ankle up onto the opposite knee. Support the back of your neck with both hands and focus on pressing your ribcage downward, engaging your core. It’s important not to start the exercise until the core is engaged. Slowly crunch up, taking one elbow to meet the opposite knee. Your knee also moves in slightly to meet the elbow, creating a “dual” crunch in the abdominal area. Breathe out as you rise up, and breathe in as you come back down.
Sliding Mountain Climbers
Starting in a raised plank, make sure your core is engaged and your neck is in line with the spine. You will need a sliding surface, again, for this style of mountain climber to work. If you have trainers on, simply use a small towel under each shoe to help your feet slide.
Draw one knee up to the chest, keeping your shoulders relaxed and your back straight. Return your knee back and then repeat with the other knee. The higher the knees come up to the chest, the more effective the exercise and the more demand is put on the abdominal muscles. This version of mountain climbers is great for reducing impact on the body and making your muscles work throughout the entire range of the movement.
Carly Neave is the blogger behind LeanLivingGirl, a health and fitness website based in Dubai.
Photographer Renjith Krishnakripa