Health & Fitness

Home workouts for a well-toned midsection

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Summary

  • Fitness trainer Masiga Siga says there are several at-home core workout exercises that an individual can perform to achieve a well-toned and firm core area, with or without the need for gym equipment.

A sleek six-pack or a beautiful midsection is arguably every fitness enthusiast's dream. However, the journey to attaining such a look does not necessarily have to be in the gym.

Fitness trainer Masiga Siga says there are several at-home core workout exercises that an individual can perform to achieve a well-toned and firm core area, with or without the need for gym equipment.

Sit-ups

sit

The workout is a classic ab exercise to test core strength and endurance. It involves lying on the ground on one’s back.

Using your body weight, keep your feet anchored to the ground with the knees bent. The feet should be six inches to a foot in front of your butt.

“Put your hands behind your head. Breathe out, brace your abs and sit up. Then, relax and lower yourself back down. Perform three sets of 10 reps,” he recommends.

Dead bug

bug

This is one of the best exercises for core strength and stability and involves lying on your back with hands above you and feet up so your knees are at a 90-degree angle.

Then straighten your leg until your heel is an inch from the floor, and lower the opposite arm so it's parallel to the floor. Return to the start position, and repeat with the other leg and arm.

Planks

planks

Planking is a full-body exercise and comes in a number of variations, but specifically works transverse and rectus abdominis and the obliques.

To execute the exercise, you need to begin on all fours in a push-up position while placing the forearms on the floor with the elbows directly below the shoulders.

Then clasp your hands together in front of you or keep your palms flat on the floor and engage the leg muscles to help stabilise your body.

Contract the abs to keep the lower back lifted while keeping the butt as low as possible without arching your back.

“Make sure your back is straight and tense your abs and your glutes. Hold without allowing your hips to sag for 30 to 60 seconds and release.”

Crunches

crunches

Crunches come in several forms ranging from reverse crunch to bicycle crunch. The exercises increase the upper and lower abdominal area.

For the reverse crunch, you need to lie on your back with the knees bent to the chest then lower your feet down to the ground slowly, trying to keep them elevated slightly off the ground before bringing the knees back up to the chest.

On the other hand, bicycle crunch involves sitting with a slight bend at the knees then bringing the right knee up and the left elbow down towards each other and repeating the same movement on the other side.

“This workout will test the upper and lower abs as well as the hips. On the other hand, the reverse crunch increases the strength in your low abdominal area,” says Mr Siga.

Mountain climber

mountain

Mountain climber is an intermediate exercise combining plank with knee movements making it excellent move for balance and core strength.

Start in a plank position with the hands below the shoulders while tightening the core. Lift the right knee toward the chest, keeping your back straight and hips down.

“Return your right leg to the starting position as you simultaneously lift your left knee toward your chest. Continue alternating legs for between eight and 12 reps every set.”

Glute bridge

glute

The workout activates the glutes which are needed for a strong core. To execute the workout, lie flat on the floor with your legs bent. Drive through your heels to push your hips upwards as far as you can go, before pausing and returning to the start position.

Russian twists

Mr Siga explains that Russian twists is a good core strength exercise as it mimics rotational movements.

“Sit holding a weight plate, dumbbell, kettle bell or sandbag with your arms extended and feet off the floor. Quickly twist at the torso, turning from side to side. Repeat the movement for between 8 and 12 reps in each set.”

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