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5 things a trainer wishes you knew about getting abs

Cosmopolitan (UK) logo Cosmopolitan (UK) 6/08/2017
5 things a trainer wishes you knew about getting abs © @kaylaitsines/@kelseywells 5 things a trainer wishes you knew about getting abs

Aside from getting stronger, fitter and healthier, a lot of people have aesthetic goals too when they hit the gym - like getting ripped abs.

But there's a lot of BS floating around on the internet about how to actually 'get' abs by working out - so Shannon Jewell, personal trainer, fitness expert and Concept Manager at top gym ONE LDN, busts some of the biggest ab myths people need to stop falling for...

1. Stop doing abdominal workouts (like crunches) every day

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Crunches are a classic ab move - but according to Shannon, they don't target the whole of your mid-section effectively:

"Abdominal crunches only activate the peripheral abdominal area of your core - and a large volume of crunches will only irritate your back. Avoid this and include extension exercises or ab exercises that focus on eccentric muscle movements which help create little micro fibre tears - this will improve your definition and shape your abdominals"

2. These unexpected exercises work your abs better:

So if you're not doing crunches, what do you do instead? According to Shannon, great exercises to replace crunches with are these:


At home core workout πŸ’ͺ🏻 building a strong core is not about having defined abs but about building a solid trunk which can improve balance, posture, stability and overall strength! As with any other muscle in our body they need training too, and so here are some simple but effective dead bug core exercises to incorporate into your training, from beginner to more advanced. The best part? They can be done from the comfort of your own home, with no equipment required! TAG a friend and try these out together in your weekend workout! 1. Dead bugs with just the feet touching the floor. 2. Dead bugs extend just the heels away from the body. 3. Dead bugs with opposite arm to leg extending. 4. Dead bugs with lateral slide. Let me know how you get on! Happy Sunday all, I hope you have a great day πŸ’ͺ🏻 #Core #Fitness #Workout #Abs

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Hanging Leg Lifts

Barbell Roll Outs

The key with these moves is make sure you're doing them slowly, and with enough weight:

"Make sure you focus moving really slow on the down movement working against gravity, and think about hitting 10-30 reps, then increasing the weight you lift", she says.

3. Feel the burn

And you should really feel it the next day if you've worked them hard enough:

"If your abs aren't sore the next day you've not adapted them - I think that (mild) soreness 24-72 hours later is a good sign you're working at the right levels."

4. Abs really are made in the kitchen

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Remember, you can do all the abdominal exercises in the world, but Shannon says you're unlikely to see any definition (if a defined mid-section is your goal) unless you tailor your diet to reduce your body fat percentage.

While there's absolutely nothing wrong with having body fat over your abdominals (in fact, most women do need need a certain body fat percentage for healthy hormone levels), if definition is what you're after, 100 crunches alone won't get you there.

5. Make sure you're progressing with the weight

To make progress when growing a muscle, you've got to challenge it! Shannon says you should aim to increase the weight you lift every 2-4 weeks, as small increments will avoid injury.

And while muscle soreness the next day after a workout can be a pain, Shannon says it's a tell tale sign that you're working hard enough, as the muscle soreness is created by small muscle fibre tears created by lifting weights at the correct intensity.

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