Feel that? The weather is starting to warm up, and that means that bikini season is imminent! But if you’ve been spending most of the winter indulging your hygge habit (Netflix totally counts as hygge, right?), then right now, your abs are probably paying the price.
In short, you could use a supercharged Hail Mary pass to speed up the toning process and get you ready for the pool-laden weeks ahead. And that means you might have to do something a little bit more intense than a few lackluster sit ups here and there.
And while a flat tummy can certainly make you feel more confident in your itsy-bitsiest bikini, toning your abs comes with additional benefits for your body, too. Working the core—and particularly the lower abdominals and obliques—improves posture and helps you stand just a little bit taller. And that can have a big effect on anyone who happens to be gazing at you from across a crowded pool.
4 quick and easy ab strengthening tips:
Planking strengthens your core. Start off with 30-second increments and work your way up to 5 minutes. While 5 minutes doesn’t sound like much, novice plankers will find this a challenge. Once you’re comfortable with this, incorporate variations such as lifting right arm for the timeframe and test the difference. Your abs will be popping in no time.
Overhead kettle bell squats
Kettlebells complement many movements. Place your legs hip-width apart, grab a 10 lb kettlebell, assume the squat position then carefully jut hip forwards and propel the kettlebell overhead. Start with a lighter weight to make sure you are comfortable with the movement prior to lifting with anything heavier. You will feel this throughout your body as well.
Often overlooked jumping rope is a full body exercise. You’ll notice all around toning and core strengthening. Like planking start off with minute intervals and work your way up to 10 minutes. Try doing 4 sets of 2 minutes to start and then work up to additional minute intervals.
One of the basics, first start off with a 5-minute walk/run warm up. Then try 30-second sprint, 30-second rest, 30-second sprint, 30-second rest. Repeat this 8 times, to begin with. Remember to wear comfortable sneakers and make sure if you have high arches that proper insoles are used. If possible find a track near your home to do these to reduce pressure on your knees.
Likewise, the pelvic and abdominal muscles work to stabilize your body and protect your lower back. So when you strengthen those muscle groups, you’ll likely see an improvement in that end-of-workday back pain. Oh hello, four-inch stilettos!
So pull on your workout gear and get ready for an all-encompassing ab boot camp that will help you wear that new suit with pride, all summer long!