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So everybody wants a lean and ripped midsection, but sadly many people go about it the wrong way. Sorry, but running miles and doing hundreds of crunches isn’t gonna get the job done! In order to truly sculpt a rock-solid stomach, you need to work muscles other than the rectus abdominus. You need to work the deep core muscles such as the transverse abdominus, which acts like a corset pulling everything in to create a leaner midsection. Also, loading up your workout with whole body exercises torches calories and forces the core to work harder under heavy loads.
Overhead squats really force the muscles of the core to work in order to maintain correct posture while under load. The abdomen and thorax are in full extension while in dynamic motion; this causes core activation to prevent injury as well as allow legs to transfer force.
There are a ton of plank variations that can be used to really target the deep abdominal muscles. Plus, core stabilizers fire to maintain a solid plank as you change positions. Try a regular plank with your feet on sliders and pull the knees to the chest then back into plank or try pulling yourself along using your arms while keeping legs locked together. Side planks and side planks with rotation are another great move.
The kettlebell windmill will help really tone up your obliques while blasting calories and shredding fat. Consciously maintain control of the movement the whole time. Avoid letting momentum or gravity generate the movement. Instead, use your core to control speed.
Start by holding the kettlebell locked out in right hand and pressing up overhead, left arm extended toward floor, feet shoulder-width apart turned out at a 45 degree angle (from kettlebell arm). Push hip out to right while keeping arms straight at all times. Lower torso until you can touch the floor with left hand (bending left knee slightly as needed). Pause, and return to starting position. Repeat reps on right side before starting with left.
The turkish getup is another great movement requiring core strength and stabilization to execute correctly. The dynamic nature of getting up from lying on the floor to standing while keeping an arm extended overhead holding a kettlebell will really develop and shred you midsection.
Lay on your back with a kettlebell in your right hand. Raise the kettlebell up, positioning it above your shoulder, and bend your right leg keeping foot on ground. Push the kettlebell into the air with your right arm, lifting chest and upper back off ground while shifting your body to let your left elbow and forearm rest on the ground. Raise left side of body up by pushing up with left hand and right leg. Swing left leg behind body and rest left foot and knee on the ground. Raise up off left hand using core to support and stabilize. Now, stand up straight by pushing down with right leg bringing left leg forward. Finally, slowly reverse all moves until you are laying back on the ground again.
Don’t neglect the lower back. It’s essential to work the posterior of the body to have a fully toned midsection. By adding the twist at the top of the Swiss ball back extension, you’ll be targeting the undesirable softness around the kidneys often referred to as the “love handles”.