Core workout routine

Article Jun 19, 2014

Muffin top or baby belly - we've got the tailor-made solution for your core problems

Wouldn’t it be terrific to peel off your kaftan this summer and feel more confident about your abs than ever before? The good news is, you can; we’ve got all the moves you need to tone your abs to perfection.

Bloated tummy

Gassy, bloated tummies don’t only look unattractive, they’re also uncomfortable and a sign that your digestion isn’t happy. ‘Focus on having your meals at the same time every day, and avoid carbs or fruit after a meal,’ suggests Winhoffer. ‘Eating fruits after a meal causes the food to ferment, which then causes bloating and gas. Making your meals consistent also allows your stomach to become accustomed to what it has to break down on a daily basis.’

Beat the bloat with... crunches

Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Think of creating a concave stomach by pulling you belly button in towards your spine and then curl your truck up, keeping your head and neck tall and in line with your body. Keep pulling your navel in towards your spine during the whole movement. ‘You don’t want protruding abs,’ says Winhoffer.

How many? Three sets of 25 reps.

Fat around the belly button

‘Belly fat is often a result of stress,’ says Lee. ‘Cortisol, the hormone released in response to stress, encourages the body to release sugar into the bloodstream to fuel the “fight or flight” response. If you use this energy to get away from a physical danger, there’s little chance of the sugar being stored as fat, but if it’s released repeatedly through stress, it’ll be stored as fat, especially around your middle.’

Relieve stress and tone up with... the downward dog to plank sequence

Start on all fours, with your wrists slightly in front of your shoulders. Separate your knees to hip-width apart and curl your toes under. Exhale, then lift your knees off the floor, reach your sit bones toward the ceiling, and straighten your legs in a downward dog position, pushing through your heels. Hold for five slow breaths. Inhale, then shift your weight forward into plank, with your core strong. Hold, then exhale and push into a downward dog. ‘This move is good for strengthening your core and elongating your hamstrings and back,’ says Lee. ‘It will also have a calming effect, helping to lower your cortisol levels and boost your circulation.’

How many? Five rounds, holding each pose for around five breaths each but rest if you need to.

Love handles

If you love wearing jeans, but hate the bulges at your waistline, cut out sugar, saturated fat and white flour, says Winhoffer. ‘They metabolise quickly and cause soaring sugar levels, which result in fatigue and excess sugars being stored as fat. Base your diet on lean proteins such as chicken and fish, and plenty of vegetables. Chromium picolinate is my favourite supplement because it ups your metabolism and helps to stabilise blood sugar. Take 300mg a day.’ (£17; biocare.co.uk)

Target love handles with... a one-legged plank hydrant

Get into the plank with your hands on the floor. Pull one of your knees close to your chest then, without touching the floor, push your leg back out and up so it’s behind you at a 45o angle. Hold for two seconds, then bring the leg back into your chest. ‘This move targets your lower abs, love handles, inner thighs and bum,’ says Winhoffer. 

How many? Two sets of 10 reps on each leg.