The best ab exercises (if you’re over 40)
3 January 2018
Both men and women lose strength as they age and this is primarily down to a lack of muscle use. However, knowing which exercises to do can help combat this and keep your fitness levels up.
- Ab-wheel rollout
Hold your ab roller with both hands and kneel on the floor. On your hands and knees in a push-up position, place the ab roller in front of you. Then, start to slowly roll the ab roller forward and stretch your body into a straight position. Make sure you go down as far as you can without touching the floor with your body. Pause before pulling yourself back into the start position, keeping your abs tight at all times.
Although this exercise is not recommended for those who have lower back problems, it works to tighten and tone your core.
- Swiss ball crunch
Lay on the ball so that your back arches over it and place your feet firmly on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest and engage your core so that your lower back is controlled. Then, crunch your shoulders up toward your hips as quickly or as slowly as you wish. As you crunch, make sure your upper body is straight and hold this for a few seconds. When you lower yourself back down, aim to do so in 3-5 seconds until your shoulder blades touch.
This is very similar to a regular sit-up crunch, but the ball allows you to lengthen your six pack muscle even further. Plus, the instability of the ball means that you’ll be working your stabilising muscles a lot more making it a good option for those who suffer from back pain.
- RKC plank
Start from the standard plank position and clench your hands in front of you, pulling your shoulders into a shrug. Tensing your quads, force your knees up and then clench your glutes. To spread the tension, squeeze from your shoulders to your toes and raise your midriff into a pike position and hold it for as long as you can.
It might look like a normal plank, but the RKC plank works your abs and glutes a lot more and in less time.
- Side plank
First, lie on your side with your knees straight and prop your body on your left elbow and forearm. Then raise your right hand so that it’s straight with your torso and your body is in a T shape. Contract your abs and raise your hips high enough until your body forms a straight line. Hold this position for as long as you can.
This strengthens your spine and works your core because you have to use your stomach muscles to stay upright. It will also help you to improve your balance for other similar poses you might want to try in the future.
If you’re struggling to maintain a fitness routine at home, why not try a weight loss holiday where you can benefit from an encouraging environment, surrounded by people who have the same goal.