Abs oh abs, where art thou?
As a former personal trainer to Elle MacPherson when it comes to supermodel worthy abs, Jess Schuring knows what she is talking. So it's not surprising her classes at her Heartcore fitness studios - mainly pilates but there's also Barre, TRX and HITT - have a month long waiting list of those wishing to find their six pack. Jess and her team of specialised trainers will make you squat lower, plank longer and stretch further than you ever have before but the results, all sculpted limbs and lean limbs, speak for themselves. Here she fills us in on four of her favourite moves for killer abs.
Props you'll need...
Pilates ball (low weight and able to squeeze) or a Pilates ring.
Light set of dumbells (1kg’s or 1.5 kg’s)
The focus is on controlled movement and keeping the working muscles engaged throughout the exercise.
Less is more. Work on time rather than repetitions. It's quality over quantity.
Reset your position at any point if you’re not in the correct alignment.
- Beginner: each exercise for 45 seconds (2-3 rounds)
- Intermediate: each exercise for 1-1.5 minutes
- Advanced: each exercise for 1.5-2 minutes
Marching on the spot with torso twists...
Stand tall with a light ball between the palms of your hands, arms held overhead. Keep a slight bend in the elbows.
As you lift your right leg (knee to hip height), turn your torso and arms to your right side and at the same time bring
your arms down to the outer side of your right hip. Exhale on the twist.
Alternate each time.
Make sure to engage your abdominals and focus on the twist coming from your obliques
Static wide stance squat with bicep extensions...
Focus is on glutes, thighs and biceps/shoulders.
Come into a deep wide stance squat with your feet slightly turned out. Hips should be almost at knee level.
Upper body upright with abdominals engaged.
Dumbbells resting in the palm of your hands facing up.
Shoulders rolled back and down with elbows at waistline level.
Extend your arms outwards to the side focusing on bringing elbows forward and keeping shoulders retracted and externally
rotated. Fully extend the elbows – from here bend elbows only 3 inches and extend again.
Kneeling leg circles...
Focus on abdominals, waistline, obliques, outer thigh.
Come into a table top position with hands and shoulders, knees and hips aligned.
Extend your right leg out to the side and extend your left arm forward (if possible). Hold your right leg straight out to the side with your knee cap turned up to the sky. Move your leg in tiny circles from your hip joint. Repeat taking the circles in the other direction.
Maintain good alignment by keeping your hips parallel to the floor. Keep your abdominals engaged, lifting your belly up into your spine. Continuous breathing.
Keep your eye line slightly forward.
Squat with overhead lift
Focus is on glutes, thighs and back.
Stand with your feet hip width apart holding on to a resistance band with your straight arms slightly wider than your shoulders.
As you squat down, lift your arms straight overhead, try to lift through your arms and torso.
Drop into the squat to almost knee/hip level.
Press through your heels and glutes to stand back up.
Control the motion by counting down 4 seconds as you squat, hold the squat for 4 seconds and 4 seconds as you come back up again.
Keep your shoulders down, maintaining a long neck.