Beach season is fast approaching, so whether you're looking to completely overhaul your core or just fine tune the six-pack you already have, here we've teamed up with Myprotein.com to look at the 3 best moves you can do in the gym or at home to ensure you're sporting a chiselled six-pack this summer.
#1 Barbell Roll Outs
One of the best, and less conventional, ab exercises to produce great results is the barbell roll out. To perform it place a barbell on the floor with some round, 2.5kg weights on either end so it's able to roll back and forth. Then kneel on a mat and grab the barbell in both hands with an overhand grip and with your shoulders directly over the bar. Then roll the bar out in front of you, keeping your arms straight and your knees in place as your hips, torso and arms go forward. Advance as far as you can without arching your back. Pause for 1 second, then pull back to the starting position. Perform this for 5 to 10 repetitions, for 3 sets. This exercise is ideal for training the muscles of the core (rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis) in a position and manner they are perhaps not used to and was one exercise famed for producing the ripped and elongated six-pack appearance of Brad Pitt in 'Fight Club'.
#2 Plyo Side Plank:
The ordinary plank is a great exercise to train the stomach muscles but if it becomes too easy, try this variation; The Plyo Side Plank. Get into the plank position on your side where your resting your upper body on your forearm and then you raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Then lift your top leg and swing it back and forth in a controlled motion. This will cause your torso to contract and resist the momentum of your leg. Perform either for 30- 60 seconds or for 20 repetitions (swings of the leg) and then repeat on the other side. This is not only ideal for training the main stomach muscles but will also train the obliques as well which are responsible for producing those desired lines down the side of your stomach that will 'frame' your new six-pack.
#3 Renegade Rows
Another exercise that uses the momentum of the body to stabilise and engage the stomach muscles is the Renegade Row. To perform it get into a press up position but with a dumbbell weight in either hand (5-15kg is roughly recommended for this) then gripping the weight lift your right hand and 'row' it towards your chest. This will cause your abs to contract and 'brace' as you lift the weight, again in a way that's different to the ordinary crunch.
Lastly while the above exercises have all proved effective in training the muscles of the six-pack, experts also say that for your abs to be visible and show you must have a body fat lower than 9%. That's why any abdominal conditioning exercises must be coupled with a well-planned diet and specifically designed cardiovascular routine as well. In addition Myprotein.com have created Thermo-Extreme, a potent thermogenic blend that contains ingredients scientifically proven to aid fat loss such as green tea extract which contains Epigallocatechin gallate that's been shown to increase the amount of fat your body is able to burn and white kidney bean extract which studies show can prevent the enzyme alpha amylase from breaking down carbohydrates into sugar, consequently reducing the amount of energy that the body can extract from starch and then turn into fat (if not used during exercise). 120 capsules of Thermo-Extreme are available from Myprotein.com for £20.99 http://www.myprotein.com/uk/products/mp-max-thermo-extreme