With warm weather comes an instant reminder to us all that summer is near. Before you know it, it’ll be time to peel away the button ups and start unveiling that bikini and boy shorts body you have been working hard on.
No matter how in shape you are, it seems as if the hardest area people struggle with is the glorious and many times stubborn mid section. Lets face it — we all want a six pack, or an eight pack for my D.C. overachievers. I constantly see people with flat stomachs or the infamous two pack, who haven’t been able to achieve that ripped, six-pack look. Today I’ll tell you four of my secret exercises I use to really get you the midsection you want and not the one that you just settle for.
Add on the resistance
That two pack or four pack may have been OK for the winter, but it’s time to really attack that core and build some major muscle so that your abdominal muscles can show. Many times people don’t have the six pack showing because they frankly don’t have enough muscle there. Solution, add more resistance to your core workouts. Face it honey, gravity alone ain’t doing it, look at yourself. That comes from a place of love. Don’t be afraid to bump it up with a heavier medicine ball, more weight on the cable or using a stronger band. Here are three resistance exercises I love to use to get that ripped look.
1. Plank with cable row. Align yourself in plank position, on your forearms and toes with a flat back off the ground, facing a low pulley machine or a band looped around a stable pole. With an outstretched arm, take one hand and grab the pulley or band handle and pull the handle in toward your body while keeping your body parallel to the ground. Repeat for 12 reps then switch to the other arm. Do this for three-four sets of 12 reps.
2. Resisted knee to chest. Align yourself in pushup position, on hands and toes with a flat back off the ground, facing away from a low pulley or band looped around a stable pole. Hook one of your feet in the handle and while maintaining the body parallel to the ground, raise your knee toward the chest. Make sure to hold for one second at the highest point and then return to the starting position slowly. Repeat for 12 reps then switch to the other leg. Do this for three-four sets of 12 reps. For an even higher intensity, try to bring your knee across the body to the opposite elbow.
3. Cable wood chopper. Stand beside a high pulley with the handle at the highest point a little above your ears. Reach up to grab the handle with both hands, then stand with feet shoulder width apart. In one motion diagonally chop your arms across your body toward your opposite knee while simultaneously squatting. Slowly return to the starting position while resisting your upper body from twisting. Throughout the exercise, try to keep your belly button facing forward throughout the movement. Repeat for three sets of 10-12 reps on each side. You can also try this move from a low position to a high position. Remember this takes lots of coordination so start with light weights until you have the move down.
4. Medicine ball side plank. While lying down on your side, place your forearm directly under your shoulder and feet on top of each other. Next grab a medicine ball and place it on the hip closest to the ceiling. While keeping your body perpendicular to the floor, raise your hips up as high as possible then slowly return close to the floor without touching it. Repeat for three sets or 12 on each side. For more of a challenge, try lifting the top leg while performing the dip.
As we get ready to reveal our washboard abs this summer, remember that adding resistance exercises to your normal core workout will help build the muscle you need to look fierce and feel your best. As always, slow progression is the best way to safely and effectively get the results you want while avoiding injury. Start slow now and you will be the head turner all summer.