My Top 5 Ab Builders

So I love to gym (as you’d know if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter) and it all started from coming out of a bad relationship and a downward spiral. Gymming became a release for me and a way to get back on track to feeling good about myself again.

But the one thing I love training most at the gym is abs (or core). We all see the physiques of guys and girls with the “V” and the overpowering 6 pack – no I’m not after that, the V yes. Half of the time it looks fake or most people say “that’s steroids”, I’m here to say nope it really isn’t. It’s crazy dedication to training and a clean diet in the ratio of 30:70.

But I’ve been training for over a year now, massively on and off trying to balance my life in it all, but it’s only been the past 3 months where training hard and heavy has paid off and I can finally see my abs begin to poke through. Only ever so slightly but I can feel them there. So my top 5 Ab Builders are these:

1) Captains Chair: Hanging Knee Raises
It sounds like “eh what?”. But you know that huge chair like looking thing you always see in the gym? It’s that. Try it out: stand with your back against the rest and your hands gripped onto the hand grips (or the sides of the bars if the grips are too far away). Keep your legs closed and together (I find it easier to cross my legs over and make a ‘X’) and lift your knees up. Drop them back down and repeat. (Imagine someone is trying to tickle you and the only way to avoid is by pulling your legs up). Do 3 sets of 15 reps, and once you’ve got the hang of it and used to it, begin adding dumbbells to increase the weight.

2) Decline Crunch:
These sound like death. They are death when you first do them and they do begin to hurt like hell, but it does get easier the more you power through. Trick is – don’t let your back touch the back of the bench, it’ll be harder to pull yourself back up and it causes more tension to your back than your actual stomach. Power through 3 sets of 10 reps, and as before, once you’re used to them, add some weight plates to the workout. Some people find it easier to hold the plate out in front of them or above their head, I personally prefer holding it close to my chest as if I was hugging it.

3) Decline Russian Twist:
To add to the feeling of death by Crunches, twist it up on the bench. If you haven’t done a Russian Twist before, they are bloody killers the first few reps and a bit tricky to get into the swing of it. But no worries, give it a shot! It’s exactly the same principle as a decline crunch, only this time, instead of coming up and dropping back down again, when you are 3/4 of the way up, twist right then immediately left by the time you reach the top and then drop back and repeat. These you can add weight to, but I recommend building it up over time, they’re slightly harder to get used to and do take the life out of you (honestly speaking here). Get through 3 sets of 10 reps. Then rest.

4) Lying Leg Raises:
2 versions – hanging or lying down. I prefer lying down, hanging does hurt my back sometimes. Lie flat on the floor (ideally on a mat so you’re not uncomfortable) with your hands flat beside you and your legs straight in front of you. Now slowly lift your legs up keeping them together and without arching your back or raising your bottom up. Keep the hands flat or it’s cheating! Again, 3 sets of 10 reps and remember to rest in between.

5) Side Crunches:
I bet you’re thinking “what the hell is wrong with this girl, why does she do this to herself?!” Side crunches are pretty awesome. You lie back on the floor hands by your side again and this time, instead of crunching up to your knees, you crunch to the left and right side of your body. So imagine your like a little seal or something and your trying to touch your ankles. You feel a little like your waddling on your back, it’s fine, it’s normal. But it works the side of your stomach like crazy and believe me you will feel it when you sit up after. 3 sets of 10 (5 each side) and your done.

For anybody who wants to get the “beach body” with the flat stomach and potentially the lines that cut into it with it, it isn’t easy! Clean eating is a majority, but the exercises are important too. And for anyone needing inspiration – I managed to go from being a size 12 bordering on a size 14 to a size 8 – 10 and all of it was done without the use of protein shakes, weight loss aids and all that malarkey. I’m currently looking like this;

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