Once upon a time it was thought that the only way to get a strong, toned stomach was to do endless crunches. I’m literally talking hundreds! And I knew one lady that would do 300 crunches a day, 5 days a week! But this was 25 years ago when we didn’t know any better. So keep reading to find out why, in 2020, we now know that just a few minutes a day is all you need to build a strong core. 

High intensity + limited reps

Since 1995, the abdominal muscles have been thoroughly researched (so we can say goodbye to endless crunches). One unique finding is like many other big muscle groups, we now know that our abs respond better to high intensity with limited reps. This means you are FAR better off doing 12 tough crunches over a Fitball than 100 easy crunches on the floor.

In order to strengthen, tone or sculpt a muscle you have to have 2 essential elements.

  1. Adequate Intensity
  2. Progressive Overload

Choose exercises that overload your abs in 5 minutes, rather than in 1 hour. This way, you’re more likely to be able to keep up the necessary intensity for a short period of time. Your “afterburn”, named post-exercise oxygen consumption by exercise physiologists, will be greater, helping you burn more body fat in the hours following your intense workout. 

It’s for these reasons we’ve designed a 10-day program that anyone can do in under 5 minutes/day.

This 10-day plan starts slow and safe, but gradually gets tougher. 

10 day core challenge

The first exercise is designed to engage your deep pelvic floor muscles. This is how you should start all your ab routines. Either standing, sitting or lying down, draw your internal stomach up and in, as though you need to go to the bathroom. Hold for the duration of the exercise. 

Engaging Pelvic Floor – Lying, Sitting, Standing

The second exercise, Lying Lower Abs, focuses on your transverse abdominals, which is your internal corset. It’s the muscle that (when properly engaged) gives you a smaller waist and takes pressure off your lower back. To execute, lie down on your back and draw your stomach in as though you’re wearing a corset. Lift one leg into the air to overload the muscles and hold for a moment. Lower, and do the other leg. Repeat for the duration of the exercise.

core

Lying Lower Legs – Leg bent, leg straight

The third exercise is a side plank for your internal and external obliques. These also help stabilise your core and help you move in several directions. Keep your arm strong, your core engaged and your chest open to ensure you’re getting the most benefit from the exercise. You choose to do this one on your knees or your toes.

core

Side Plank – On knees, on toes

For the fourth and final exercise – The Sliding Plank – you’re on your hands and knees. Start in a square shape with your hands below your shoulders and knees below your hips. Using a slider (paper plates work well on hard floors, and magazines on carpet) gradually slide your arms away extending the angle at your shoulders and hips evenly

Slide your hands out as far as you can while still maintaining a neutral spine, hold for a second before slowly returning to your start position. Tune into your body position and keep your core fully engaged the entire time.

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Sliding Plank – Knees, Toes

With any of these exercises, if you start to experience ‘bad pain’ such as your lower back arching and compressing then go back to the previous level until you comfortably reach the time goals.

Let’s go!

Day 1 – 30 secs x Engaging Pelvic Floor – Laying on ground

             30 secs x  Lying Lower Abs – Bent legs

             30 secs x Side Plank on knees – Each side

             30 secs x Sliding Plank on knees 

Day 2 –  30 secs x Engaging Pelvic floor – Seated

              40 secs x Lying Lower Abs – Bent legs

              40 secs x Side Plank on knees – Each side

              40 secs x Sliding Plank on Knees

Day 3 –  30 secs x Engaging Pelvic floor – Standing

              50 secs x Lying Lower Abs – Bent legs

              50 secs x Side Plank on knees – Each side

              50 secs x Sliding Plank on knees

Day 4 –  30 secs x Engaging Pelvic floor – Standing

              1 minute x Lying Lower Abs – Bent legs

              1 minute  x Side Plank on knees – Each side

              1 minute  x Sliding Plank on Knees

Now we drop the time and increase the intensity by straightening your legs for the second exercise and planking on your toes .

 Day 5 – 30 secs x Engaging Pelvic Floor – Laying on ground

             30 secs x  Lying Lower Abs – Straight legs

             30 secs x Side Plank on Toes – Each side

             30 secs x Sliding Plank on Toes 

Day 6  – 30 secs x Engaging Pelvic Floor – Seated

             40 secs x  Lying Lower Abs – Straight legs

             40 secs x Side Plank on Toes – Each side

             40 secs x Sliding Plank on Toes 

Day 7  – 30 secs x Engaging Pelvic Floor – Standing

             50 secs x  Lying Lower Abs – Straight legs

             50 secs x Side Plank on Toes – Each side

             50 secs x Sliding Plank on Toes 

Day 8  – 30 secs x Engaging Pelvic Floor – Standing

             1 minute x  Lying Lower Abs – Straight legs

             1 minute x Side Plank on Toes – Each side

             1 minute x Sliding Plank on Toes 

Day 9 – 1 minute x  Lying Lower Abs – Straight legs

             1 minute x Side Plank on Toes – Each side

             1 minute x Sliding Plank on Toes + 10 second pause at your full stretch

Day 10 – 1 minute x  Lying Lower Abs – Straight legs

             1 minute x Side Plank on Toes – Each side

             1 minute x Sliding Plank on Toes + 20 second pause at your full stretch



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