Abdominal Training : 13 Exercise For A Strong Core


It doesn’t matter what sport you are into or what work you do during the day, having a strong core is utmost important. Now, we know its easy to get a flat tummy but chiseling it further for those rock-hard six-packs chicks drool over, is a different ball game. Not to forget, the lower stubborn ones which just won’t show a face.

So, here we bring you a series on Abdominal Training to level up your exercise regime and have a strong core.

Abdominal Training for strong core

The first in series: Abdominal Exercises: 13 Extensive Exercises to Train Your Abdomen

1. Heel Slide

Starting position: Begin lying on the floor on your back. Your feet and knees should be 10-15 cm (4-6 inches) apart. Put your hands on your tummy, with the heel of the hand over your pelvic bones. Place the heel of each foot on a shiny piece of paper on a carpet, or on a soft cloth on a hard wooden floor.

  • Action: Perform the abdominal hollowing action and hold the abdomen tight. Feel the muscles tense beneath your fingers. Continue to breathe normally throughout the exercise. Slide one leg out straight while holding your tummy tight. As soon as the heel of your hand feels your pelvis begin to tip, slide the leg back in again.
  • Points to note: The aim of this exercise is to build up the ability of the abdominal muscles to hold the pelvis firm. The action of the leg muscles is therefore secondary to that of the abdominals.
  • Training tip: The weight of your leg should be taken by the floor throughout the movement. Do not lift your heel up from the ground. The action is to slide, not to lift.

(YouTube video for Heel Slide)

2. Bent Knee Fallout

Starting position: Begin lying on the floor on your back with your knees bent and apart by 10-15 cm (4-6 inches) apart. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your arms at about 45 degrees to your body.

  • Action: Perform the abdominal hollowing action and hold the abdomen tight, breathing normally. Allow your right knee to fall out to the side slowly to 45 degrees and then bring it back to the starting position. Repeat the action with the left knee.
  • Points to note: The aim of this exercise is to improve the ability of the abdominal muscles to hold the lumbar spine firm. The action of the leg muscles is therefore secondary to that of the abdominals.
  • Training tip: The weight of your leg should be taken by the floor throughout the movement: do not lift your foot.

(YouTube video for Bent Knee Fallout)

3. Leg Shortening (Lying)

Starting position: Begin lying on the floor on your back with your feet 20 cm (8 inches) apart. Place your arms out sideways in a ‘T’ shape or use your hands to monitor your pelvis.

  • Action: Move your pelvis up and down at the side (hitching the hip) to shorten and then lengthen each leg.
  • Points to note: The leg must remain perfectly straight to focus the movement on the pelvis and, through this, on to the lower spine.
  • Training tip: Flex your foot, and lead the movement with your heel.

4. Spine Lengthening (Side Lying)

Starting position: Lie on your side with your knees together and slightly bent. Prop yourself up on one elbow so that your back is gently curved.

  • Action: Tighten (hollow) your tummy and lift the lower side of the trunk upwards so that you straighten your spine. Hold the position for 5 seconds and then lower.
  • Points to note: Hollowing tightens the muscles at the front and sides of your tummy, while this exercise tightens the side muscles still further. The result is that you feel improved muscle tone around the whole of your waist.
  • Training tip: Do not lift the underneath hip, simply allow it to rock gently on the floor as you straighten the spine.

5. Plank

Starting position: Begin kneeling on all fours (four point kneeling).

  • Action: Tighten (hollow) your tummy and lock your arms fully. Straighten first one and dub the other leg, taking your weight on the balls or your feet. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds and then lower.
  • Points to note: You should aim to form a straight line through your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders, if you are unable to maintain this line, and your hips drop, stop the exercise and re-start.
  • Training tip: If you find the alignment of this exercise difficult, ask a training partner to lift your pelvis and place you into a straight line. Begin holding for 2-3 seconds and build up to the full 10 seconds.

(YouTube video for Plank)

6. Abdominal Hollowing and Leg Straightening

Starting position: Sit on a chair or stool with your feet off the ground. Tighten (hollow) your abdomen and sit up straight, lengthening your spine.

  • Action: Keep your tummy muscles tight (hollow) and gradually straighten one leg, maintaining your normal back alignment.
  • Points to note: When you straighten one leg, tension in the hamstring muscles at the back of the leg will pull on your sitting bone (ishial tuberosity) and try to tilt your pelvis backwards, rounding your lower back. Ensure you maintain your alignment and prevent this.
  • Training tip: If your training partner places their hand about 1-2 cm (1/2 inch) behind the small of your backs they will be able to monitor the lumbar hollow (lordosis) and tell you if your alignment is being maintained.

(YouTube video for Abdominal Hollowing and Leg Straightening)

7. Leg Lowering (Supine)

Starting position: Lie on the floor with your feet comfortably apart. Place your fingertips on either side of your tummy below the level or your tummy button.

  • Action: Tighten (hollow) your abdomen and hold tight throughout the exercise. Raise one leg (keeping it straight) to a count or one, to 30-15 degrees above the horizontal. Pause in this position and then lower the raised leg back to the floor to a count of five. Rest in the lying Position for 2 seconds and then repeat with the other leg.
  • Points to note: On no account should both legs move together. Do not lift the second leg until the first is back on the floor and you have rested for 2 seconds. If you find the exercise too hard, bend both knees and lift the leg with the knee bent. This will shorten the leg lever and make the exercise easier.
  • Training tip: Monitor the position of your tummy with your fingertips. If you feel your tummy bulging (ballooning) rather than staying flat, stop the exercise.

(YouTube video for Leg Lowering – Supine)

8. Trunk Curl Shoulder Lift

Starting position: Begin lying on your back with your knees bent. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.

  • Action: Perform the abdominal hollowing actions pulling your tummy button in. Reach forwards with your fingers towards your heels so that your trunk bends and your shoulders lift slightly away from the floor. Your lower back should press lightly towards the mat.
  • Points to note: The action of this exercise is to bend the trunk, not to lift it from the mat. The bottom part of the shoulder blades should stay in contact with the ground throughout the movement. As you perform the abdominal hollowing action, breathe out. Breathe in as you release the movement.
  • Training tip: Reaching forwards (along the ground) towards the heels, rather than upwards for the knees, encourages the correct trunk bending action.

(YouTube video for Trunk Curl Shoulder Lift)

9. 3 Stage Sit

Starting position: Sit on a gym mat with your knees hip-width apart and bent, feet flat (the crook or hook sitting position). Place your hands to the outsides of your knees palms facing inwards.

  • Action: Tighten your tummy muscles and lean back slightly to straighten your back, bracing your shoulders. Straighten your arms and hold this ‘V’ shaped body position, breathing normally.
  • Points to note: You will finish the movement sitting on three points forming a tripod – both sitting bones (ischial tuberosities) and your tailbone (coccyx). If you find this painful, you may not have enough padding from the mat so sit on a folded towel placed on top of your mat.
  • Training tip: Your spine should be correctly aligned, with a gentle lumbar (low back) curve, • breastbone lifted, shoulder blades drawn back and down slightly and thoracic (upper) back almost straight. Avoid an excessive spinal curve into extension (hyper-extension) or flexion (spine rounding).

(YouTube video for 3 Stage Sit)

10. Lying Posterior Pelvic Tilt

Starting position: Begin lying on your back with your knees bent, feet shoulder-width apart.

  • Action: Abdominal hollow and then tilt your pelvis backwards flattening your hack on to the floor. Hold the position for 3 seconds and release.
  • Points to note: Keep your buttocks on the mat as you perform this action.
  • Training tip: As you perform the pelvic tilt, think about pointing your pubic bone towards your head and, as you release the action. point it away. It sometimes helps to visualize a saucer of water resting on your tummy. As you tilt your pelvis posteriorly, imagine that you are tipping the water onto your lower ribs.

(YouTube video for Lying Posterior Pelvic Tilt)

11. Abdominal Hollowing with Gluteal Brace

Starting position: Begin lying on your front on the floor. Tuck your feet under so your toes are bent (flexed). Place a folded towel beneath your forehead for comfort.

  • Action: Perform the abdominal hollowing action by pulling your tummy in tight, focusing your attention on your tummy button. At the same time, tighten your buttocks and brace your legs out straight.
  • Points to note: You must maintain the neutral position of your spine throughout the action. Make sure you don’t tilt your pelvis forwards or backwards.
  • Training tip: Tighten your tummy first, and then grip your buttocks together. Once you have mastered the individual actions, try performing both at the same time.

(YouTube video for Abdominal Hollowing with Gluteal Brace)

12. Pelvic Shift and Knee Unload

Starting position: Begin kneeling on your hands and knees (four-point kneeling). Your knees should be hip-width apart, your hands shoulder-width apart.

  • Action: Perform the abdominal hollowing action and shift your pelvis to the right, taking most of your weight through your right knee. Slightly (1 cm) lift your left knee clear of the mat. Maintain the position for 2-5 seconds and then lower the left knee onto the mat. Repeat the action to the right.
  • Points to note: Because you lift your left knee barely clear of the mat, your hips should stay more or less in line. If you lift your knees too high, you will twist your spine.
  • Training tip: Placing a book on your lower back can help you feel the subtle movement of the pelvis.

13. Kneeling Single Leg Lift

Starting position: Begin kneeling on your hands and knees (four-point kneeling). Your knees should be hip-width apart, your hands shoulder-width apart.

  • Action: Shift your pelvis to the left taking most of your weight on your left knee. Lift your right knee just clear of the mat. Straighten your right leg to the horizontal position. Hold the straight position for 2 seconds and then lower the leg. Repeat on your left leg.
  • Points to note: As you straighten the leg, make sure you don’t twist your spine.
  • Training tip: The action is to lengthen the leg as well as lift it. If you find you are losing good alignment, have a training partner gently pull on your foot to encourage the leg lengthening action.

(YouTube video for Kneeling Single Leg Lift)

Comments 0

You've got an opinion ?? Discuss Here !!

Back to