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How To Get Your Six Pack Summer Ready

Get Beach Ready Abs

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Summer is nearly upon us and the final preparations are being made for those long-awaited summer holidays where we get to strut our stuff on the beach and show off the physiques we've been working on all winter. Well that's the dream anyway!

If you're not quite there yet and need some assistance, fear not, we're here to help with these great ab exercises that are extremely effective at targeting all parts of your ab muscles, both hidden and visible, to give you a well-chiselled mid section that will be sure to receive plenty of admiring glances on the beach!


Hanging Leg Raises

This is one of the best exercises going as not only will it help build strong abs but it's also one of the best core strengthening exercises out there. It will target the lower abdominals and hip flexors which helps improve stability in the lower back.

To perform this exercise simply hang from a pull up bar with an overhand grip roughly shoulder width apart. Make sure your body is straight and your legs are off the ground. Tighten your core and slowly use your abs to raise your feet out away from your body until they're at a 90-degree angle. Pause for a second and slowly lower your legs until your body is straight again at the starting position.

Try and aim for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.


Kneeling Cable Crunches

This exercise is great for adding mass to your abs for a more defined midsection and also a safe way of increasing weight without risk of injury with the simple switch of a pin between plates. This move is all about the technique so make sure you master it before going to heavy as not a lot of weight is required in order to get the most out of the exercise.

Attach a rope handle to the pulley of a cable station and get down on your knees a few feet in front of it. Keeping your weight on your knees and shins, let the cable pull on your arms and torso so that you feel a light stretch in your abdominal muscles. From there, crunch your body, bringing your forearms down to your knees and your head to the floor. Slowly return to the starting position.

Go for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.


Dumbbell Side Bends

This is a very misused exercise but it is perfect for aiding the development of the obliques when performed correctly. It also incorporates some lower back and spinal muscles so is a great core exercise. This is best done with only one dumbbell as holding one in the opposite hand creates a counterbalance and doesn't work the obliques as well.

Stand up straight while holding a dumbbell in your hand (palms facing the torso) as you have your other hand holding your waist. While keeping your back straight and your head up, bend only at the waist to the side as far as possible. Breathe in as you bend to the side. Then hold for a second and come back up to the starting position as you exhale. After completing your repetitions on one side switch the dumbbell to your other hand and do them on side to complete the set.

Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.


Ab Wheel Roll Out

This exercise is more than just an ab exercise; it's a challenge to your hips, shoulders, triceps and latissimus dorsi. These muscles stabilize your body from shoulder to tailbone while the wheel rolls in front of your body. An ab wheel is an inexpensive piece of equipment which most gyms will have but if not you should definitely invest in one and use it a couple of times per week to work on your core strength and as a go-to exercise in your ab workouts. If these get to easy and you wish to make them harder then you can add further resistance by wearing a weighted vest!

Start by holding the wheel with both hands with the wheel at your feet and your arms and legs straight. Roll the wheel out until you’re laid out as far as you can go, but still under control. Hold for a second and slowly roll the wheel back to the starting position whilst tightening your abs and controlling your breathing the entire time.

Go for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.


Plank

If there is any move that is associated with a strong core then that would be the plank. The plank is one of the best exercises for a flat, toned stomach because it works all the muscles in your core, including the rectus abdominus (the "six-pack muscles" you can see), transverse abdominus, internal and external obliques, hips and back. It also supports proper posture and improves balance.

Place the forearms on the ground with the elbows aligned below the shoulders, and arms parallel to the body at about shoulder-width distance. If flat palms bother your wrists, clasp your hands together. Ground the toes into the floor and squeeze your abdominal muscles and glutes to stabilize the body. As you get more comfortable with the move, hold your plank for as long as possible without compromising form or breath.

Try and go for 3 sets and hold the plank for 30-45 seconds. Practice these a few times per week and work on gradually increasing this up to 2 mins with a 20-30 second rest in between sets.


Medicine Ball Mountain Climbers

This exercise is great for core conditioning and will help improve core, back, chest and shoulder strength. Use a decently weighted medicine ball for this exercise as you'll be balancing on it and ensure correct technique in order to get the full benefits. Similar to the plank, this exercise will put lots of tension on the abs, core and lower back so doing these regularly will increase the strength and tone of those muscles.

Begin in plank position with both hands cupping the medicine ball, arms straight and legs long behind you. Hold your body tense and tighten the abs whilst lifting a knee to the chest. Return the leg to straight and repeat this by lifting the opposite knee to chest and back to starting position. Once both legs have completed this motion that counts as one repetition.

Aim for 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Incorporate these 6 great exercises into your ab workouts 2-3 times per week until your beach holiday and your chiseled abs will be revealed and summer ready in no time!


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