How to tighten your abs

Three exercises to strengthen your stomach muscles and improve your core

Cycling doesn’t specifically work your mid-section, so help to work your stomach muscles with these simple exercises – as recommended by Bristol-based personal trainer Barry Ireland.

These moves will also strengthen your core, which helps improve all-round fitness. Perform these once a week.

Dead bug

Lie flat on your back with your hands out in front, feet in the air and knees bent, like a dead bug.

Straighten your right leg out and lower it, foot just above the ground, while extending your left arm behind you.

Return and repeat with the opposite limbs. The key is to keep your navel pulled in through the movement, working your abs while avoiding flexing forwards.

Walking the plank

Assume simple plank position, on hands and toes, facing forward.

Draw your stomach in tight and move your left hand six inches left, then the same with your foot.

Bring the right into line and keep going for 30 seconds, then repeat 30 seconds right. Don’t let your hips fall too low.

Keeping the abs engaged through the movement will train stomach muscles while holding good posture.

Negative sit-ups

This is the same movement as a normal sit-up except you lower your torso back to the ground over at least 10 seconds, rolling one vertebra gently onto the ground at a time.

Don’t hook your feet onto anything. A slow, controlled lowering will work your abs hard while extending your spine, and lengthening your posture.

Do six to 10 of these to feel the burn.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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