Fit Tip: Shaping Summer Abs
Summer abs… two words that give many of us anxiety. The idea of putting on a swimsuit or baring our midsection after hiding behind winter clothes can be daunting. This has been on my mind a lot lately after having my second baby 9 months ago. I’ve learned over the course of my fitness career and over the last four years with two pregnancies and two postpartum recoveries, however, that there are two secrets to getting summer abs: 1. Change your mindset and 2. Train your deep core (transverse abdominus).
First, let’s get rid of the notion that we have to have perfect a perfect six pack to get out to the beach or pool. If you want a “Beach Body”, just go to the beach! As much as we worry that others might be looking at us, critiquing our body parts, most people are just trying to get out and enjoy the summer. Let’s all join in!
Please don’t get me wrong, we should all want to be fit and strong and feel confident in what we are wearing. But it’s also important to realize that true changes in our bodies start with changes in our brains and the way we choose to see ourselves.
Next, in order to really train our abs and have a functioning core, and (in the words of what people ask or search for the most) to “get that flat tummy,” it starts with training our deep core, or the transverse abdominus.
Without making this too much of an anatomy lesson, the transverse abdominus (or TA, for short) is our deepest layer of core muscles and acts as a corset wrapping around our midsection to support our spine. On top of this is our rectus abdominus (we’ll call it RA), two paired sheets of muscle making up our “six pack.” The RA muscles tend to see the most action in our workouts. Then we have your internal obliques (running diagonally up your sides) and external obliques (running diagonally downward the outer layers of your sides). All are important for function--believe it or not, our core muscles are working hard all day long to keep us upright and moving—but when it comes to tightening, toning and flattening out that belly, we have to start with the TA.
Don’t worry, while it’s often the most underused of our core muscles, working your TA is not that hard! In fact, you’ve probably already been working your TA if you’ve ever done Pilates or certain exercises. It takes some concentration to keep your RA muscles from taking over, and being specific about pulling that deep core in (think zipping up a pair of pants), but with the right moves and the right mind, you’re on your way to Summer Abs! Below is a quick Core Circuit targeting your Deep Core.
Summer Shapeup Workouts - Abs
Do each for 45 seconds or work, followed by 15 seconds of rest, then repeat.
- Dead Bug Push
- Knee Drop Toe Tap
- Side Plank Knee Crunch
- Bear Plank Knee Dips
- Plank Singles
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