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Work the right muscles to tone your abs

If you want well-defined abs, you must know how to work all the muscles that make up your midsection, also called the lumbopelvic girdle or core in English. To get a flat stomach and a strong lumbopelvic girdle, you need to work five main muscles.

This area of ​​the body is made up of many more muscles apart from the abdominals. All humans are born with abs, but they are hidden under a layer of abdominal fat. You can work the muscles of the middle zone with specific exercises to make them bigger and more defined.

To get well-defined abs, I recommend you follow a very effective complete exercise plan to burn fat, strengthen your muscles and work your midsection. I like to repeat that «strong abs are achieved in the kitchen» because it is essential to eat a good diet to show off those muscles (or any other) of your body.

Next, we show you exercises to work every muscle in your midsection. Try to include them in your balanced fitness plan.

Sit-ups: 15-20 push-ups, 3-5 sets 

These push-ups are a simple but effective exercise that will activate your abs (the muscles outermost of the middle zone). They are the ones that make up the famous «chocolate bar»! How to perform the exercise: Lie on your back with your knees raised and bent. Contract your abs and bring your shoulders toward your pelvis. Put your hands behind your neck or crossed over your chest. Hold the pushup for a second and return to the starting position.

Bicycle sit-ups: 30 seconds of sit-ups, 3-5 sets

The muscles on the sides of the waist are called the internal and external obliques. They are important for stability, especially for lateral movements (to the sides).

How to perform the exercise: Lie down facing upwards. Stretch your legs and put your hands behind your neck. Raise your legs to a 90 degree angle. With your feet together, contract your abs and touch your left knee with your right elbow. At the same time, keep your right leg straight, a few inches above the ground. Change sides by bending your right leg and stretching your left, mimicking the pedaling of a bicycle.

Leg raises: 10 raises, 3 sets

The psoas major, a hip flexor muscle, is used for all activities that require moving the legs. My favorite exercise to work this muscle is the leg raises in a lying position.

How to perform the exercise: Lie on your back on a mat. Put your hands under your buttocks to stabilize your pelvis. Without letting your lower back rise, raise your knees toward your chest. Then return to the starting position by stretching your legs. To build endurance, try this exercise with your legs straight. And for an even more demanding workout, try doing it on an incline bench!

Side plank pose

Hold it for 45-60 seconds, repeat for the other side

The deep internal stabilizer muscle that connects the upper and lower body is called the «quadratus lumbar muscle.» It is an essential muscle that stabilizes the hips and spine; but it helps the diaphragm in deep breaths.

How to perform the exercise: Lie on your side. Place your hand under your body and stretch your arm. Next, elevate the upper half of your body. Raise your other arm and hold it in the air or rest it beside you. Keep your legs straight and allow the lower half of your body to rest on your calf.

The void Contract your belly for 10-15 seconds and relax. 

This is what we call the «flat stomach muscle.» The “transverse abdominis muscle” is a deep muscle in the middle area that is responsible for

stabilize the spine and pelvis. The best thing about this exercise is that it is easy and can be done anywhere. I call it «the void.»

How to perform the exercise: You can do this exercise sitting or lying down. You can do it in bed, in the office or even while driving. It is enough to contract the belly inwards as much as you can and keep it that way. Make sure to contract your abs in as if they are touching your back.