The best abs exercise ever?

16 Apr, 2018

Everybody should be working on the core strength. This key muscle group is the base of all our movements and targeting the abdominals can help a lot of people improve all their major movements (squats, jumps, presses…) as well as reduce back pain.

Most people will think sit ups are the king of belly-based training, but I disagree. Sit ups aren’t well suited to people with bad pain or sedentary lifestyles. All the flexing of the back and pulling with the hip muscles can lead to more pain and no progress. That’s why I suggest dead bugs and hollow bodies!

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Video transcript

Hi Guys, Charlie Hart from Charlie Hart Fitness here to show you my favourite abs exercise. We’re going to go through three levels of intensity. This is an exercise that everybody should be able to do.

It’s great for lower back pain, limited mobility or if you think you are a hard core expert.

We’re going to start with level one, which is the dead bug. Lay down and bring yourself up in to a sit up position; so I’m pulling my chest up to my knees. Already I can feel that my core is engaged. Now we’re going to make it a bit tougher by bringing the legs up and the arms up. Now we hold this position for as long as we can.

If we’re quite strong in this position we should be able to hold this for five to ten minutes, and that will start to get pretty tough. We can make this more difficult by lowering the legs or bringing the arms higher up.

The more we open the dead bug out, the closer we come to a hollow body. You can hear already in my voice that I’m starting to strain to hold this position. And that’s level one intensity complete in the dead bug position, level two intensity in the hollow body position. The lower your legs and arms go, the tougher it will be.

Key points for this exercise are that we do not feel it in the small of our back. If we are doing either the dead bug or the hollow body and we start to get pain in the small of the back, then it is time to stop. Our back has taken over from our abs. So make sure you are nice and comfortable in that position.

If we suffer from a stiff neck, such as spending a lot of time driving or bending over a computer at work, you can bring the head down. It makes the exercise slightly easier but hopefully much more comfortable for the neck.

Level three is the hollow body to dead bug. Starting in the hollow body position we close up to the dead bug and open back up to the hollow body. It is much more challenging than it looks! As we get more advanced we can even start to think about bringing our legs to either side of the hands. You can hear I’m struggling already!

We can focus on really pointing the toes and keeping our legs as straight as possible, so we are getting a wonderful stretch all the way down the back of the legs. We can even bring it in to a sit, and back. Lots of fun variations there.

First of all, make sure we can master the dead bug. Next, open out to the hollow body. Then we can start to work on the variations from there.

Charlie Hart is an experienced personal trainer, having worked with more than 100 clients clients in and around Cambridgeshire.

His interests in fitness, health and how they intersect help his clients to transform their bodies, sleep better and feel better in themselves.

Talk to Charlie today if you'd like help improving your well being.

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