Three simple exercises to tighten your abs

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 three simple exercises – as recommended by UK-based personal trainer Barry Ireland.

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

1. The dead bug

The dead bug exercise
The dead bug exercise is a good workout for your abs
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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.

2. Walking the plank

Walking the plank
Walking while holding the plank is hard but effective
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Assume the 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 moving right. Don’t let your hips fall too low.

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

3. Negative sit-ups

Negative sit-ups
Negative sit-ups: like sit-ups but slower
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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.

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Do six to 10 of these to feel the burn.