An abs workout with no planks? Sign me up. And only 10 minutes long? Even better. Abs workouts are my least favorite way to exercise, but as a runner, I want to reap all the benefits of a strong core: more efficient running mechanics, improved mobility and stability and better posture. I also want to improve my all-round strength, so I’ve made a promise to myself to stop skipping abs workouts.
This week’s core cruncher of choice comes from personal trainer Roxanne Russell. It has a lower abs focus with 10 exercises and no equipment needed. The lower abs aren’t a separate muscle group in the core, but the lower portion of the rectus abdominis muscle. Spoiler alert: there may not be any planks, but the movements are still challenging. Lower ab muscles are hard to work and easy to fatigue. Watch Roxanne Russell’s lower abs workout to see what’s in store.
The format is simple: you do each exercise for 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds of rest. “You’ll find several of these moves involve lifting and lowering the legs. This is to specifically target the lower abs area,” says Russell.
Form, as always, is important. If you find your lower back starting to arch up, creating a space between you and the floor, you’ll need to reset. Reengage and tighten your lower abs so that your lower spine comes in contact with the floor again. Alternatively, take a quick break.
“If the moves become too challenging to maintain good form, you could try placing your hands under your hips. This will support your lower back and help to keep it down. You can also use a soft, flat pillow under the glutes for added support. These are just aids and proper core engagement should be maintained the whole time,” says Russell.
I found Russell’s hand-under-hips tip particularly useful for keeping my lower back from arching in the flutter kicks.
Russell highlights that if your goal is visible abs then you need more than just lower abs workouts. “You need to match workouts like this with good nutrition and lower body fat. You can’t spot reduce belly fat but you can reduce overall body fat with appropriate changes to your diet. That way you’re more likely to see muscle definition in your abs,” says Russell.
If you want to work towards abs that pop then check out our six-pack diet tips. If you want stronger abs for running and overall fitness then it’s what’s on the inside that counts