Welcome to The Core of It All, a one-stop shop for all things abs. This summer, we want you to focus on centering yourself—not only in the name of looking good and getting toned, but for better overall wellness and relaxation. To kick things off, read on for how to think of your abs from a 360-degree angle, and much more to come.
Let’s talk abs.
When we think of those pesky stomach muscles, what we really want to focus on is the core. Much in the same way that the core of an apple keeps the fruit intact, the core of our bodies are our source of strength and movement.
The core isn’t just about the six-pack abs we used to see on Baywatch. Instead, it’s comprised of every abdominal muscle—from the sides to the spine and all the way to the back. It’s important to understand not only how your core muscles affect the way look, but how you move, carry yourself, and prevent long term injury. All ab muscles have to be worked and conditioned equally.
And to do that, we need to think of the core from a 360 degree angle, making sure we target all areas in a dynamic way. Aside from the main ab muscles in the middle, your abdomen has essential muscles on the sides—the obliques—that are major targets in our workouts. Working on these through multidimensional movements sets a foundation for a slim, sculpted stomach. It’s not about crunches, planks, and other traditional ab workouts that only scratch the surface of the core’s movement. After all, your core is responsible for all the movement of the upper body.
Your core effectively acts as a torque converter, propelling your body through time and space. (This slows down the momentum of movement to prevent the pressure and energy from transferring into your bones and joints and resulting in injury!) The more you can engage and activate these muscles, the more force you’ll have in all of your movements throughout the day.
Consider the sit-up or plank movement, for instance. Think of how one-dimensional these moves are—they only target the basic functions of the core and don’t do much for the upright stance. On the other hand, ab work done while standing is crucial to building a strong core that can improve posture, walking, and mobility in other workouts. This doesn’t mean that sit-ups and planks should be completely erased from your regimen, but simply that many other things need to be properly incorporated along with them in the right ratio.
Any and all P.volve movements will help target the core from all angles, but the ones below hit the abs from all angles:
Step Back and Reach
Start in a p.sit with arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height. Step right foot straight back at 6 o’clock, keeping right heel lifted and knee full extended. At the same time, lift both arms toward the ceiling, following your hands with your eyes, stretching through the stomach. Lower your hands as you return the right foot back to start. Repeat 8 reps, then switch legs.
Twisted Leg Lift
Start standing, with hands behind your head. Put soft bend in left knee and tap your right foot in front of you while slightly leaning back through your torso to elongate the front abs. Pull your right knee up to hip height in front of you while rotating your upper body towards the lifted leg. Return to start and repeat 8 reps, then switch sides.
Step Back Arm Rotation
Start in a p.sit, step your right leg straight back behind you keeping your heel lifted and extend your right knee while keeping a soft bend in your front left knee, in line with your left heel. With your arms out in front of you palms facing each, other twist towards the front left leg as you rotate your left arm back behind you towards 6 o’clock. Face back to center and step your right foot back to start. Repeat 8 reps, then switch.
For more ab-centric advice, read tips for greater portion control and moves to flatten your stomach.
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