First things first, if you have a body and you have a bikini then you have a bikini body for summer. It may not be what Instagram or Pinterest tell us is the “ideal” bikini body but it’s your body and your summer.
However, I know that for many women the thoughts of baring their body in the coming months is more than a little bit scary and so it’s not always enough to just say “go for it!”.
“Traditional” abdominal exercises (usually referred to as Abs) have fallen out of favour in recent years with some sources reporting that there is no benefit in doing them as they don’t result in you losing fat from this area. While the sentiment behind this type of information is correct as doing abdominal exercises alone won’t get rid of stubborn fat around the abdomen it is still beneficial to do them.
To strip body fat you have to do a combination of cardiovascular exercise (think your faster paced movements) and resistance exercise (your slower paced movements) in addition to reducing your calorific intake in line with your energy output (which basically means eating less crap food and moving more!).
Resistance exercises, which is the category that traditional ab exercises fall under, help to build muscle and give us what is what is commonly referred to as a “toned” look. Cardio exercise in line with this can then help to tackle the body fat overlying the muscles.
Strong abdominal/core muscles are not just important for vanity reasons, they are also important in preventing injury as a strong centre helps to support the rest of the body including the lower back.
Pilates-style exercises are very good for this and because they are more slow moving and more controlled they are often deemed as “safer” options than some of the traditional exercises like curls and kick outs.
Most importantly, when doing abdominal/core exercises is to maintain a strong core connection and protect the lower back. To do this you should concentrate on drawing your belly-button towards your spine in addition to lifting your pelvic floor muscles to about 80% of your maximum effort.
Try not to allow your lower back to lift any more than a flat hands-gap away from the mat and reduce tension in your neck muscles by lightly cradling your head in your hands when doing exercises where your head is off the mat.
I’ve put together five exercises that you can start with to help build your abdominal/core strength.
They are a mixture of the traditional style and the Pilates style and all have an easier option for beginners. Now all we need is plenty of sunshine for an actual summer and we’re sorted!