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Abs aren't just sexy, they are also essential to good posture

Grant Foreman works his core.
Photo credit:

When I lift up my shirt, I want to see a flat stomach and ideally visible abs maybe even with a little vein or two popping out at the bottom.

Getting there I use more than just crunches that’s for sure!

Whether you want a flatter belly or just the back-saving aspects of a stronger core, these moves I’m going to share will help create both and can be done anywhere you have some space.

A little kinesiology before we play: our spine needs not only the support from our multitude of back and hip muscles, but the balance achieved by an equally strong core up front.

The main thing this core is doing, all day long, is working with our back to support us while we stand, walk, lift, etc. It’s not curling our shoulders towards our waist in a classic “crunch” type movement.

This spinal stabilization is why the bulk of my core work are variations of planks (think top of a pushup position).

It’s hard to downplay the importance of being able to support a neutral spine position far beyond abs but in terms of injury prevention to fixing so many common aches and pains that are actually stemming from posture issues and imbalances.

So let’s play!

Start with the standard plank, once you can maintain this position well for one minute you can begin to add variations like the one pictured.

1. Your setup should look like you’re about to perform a pushup.

2. Hands just under shoulders with fingers splayed facing forward with elbow pits also facing forward (creating a better internal setup for the shoulders)

3. Squeezing the glutes, draw the belly button up towards the spine and create a slight bow to the body like you’re trying to “hollow out”.

Everything should be engaged here. This is not a resting position for us, but a total body exercise. Shaking near the end is normal so work until you feel form begin to falter, take a short break, and go again until you reach 1 minute.

Once these static planks becomes easy, tack on another minute and then try a more dynamic version like the Plank Row I’m doing in the photo (thanks Dave for always taking such amazing pics btw!). link www.davelandweb.com

1. Setup same way as the static plank above.​​

2. Grab a kettlebell or dumbbell that you can pull 8-12 times with good form and place under a shoulder.

3. As you draw the weight to around your upper ab area, watch your hips! Keep them square to the ground and not rolling away as the row happens.

4. Allow for quick rest as you switch sides with the weight and repeat for the same number of repetitions on the opposite side. Give a longer rest (about 45 seconds) and try for another 2-3 more rounds.

Remember, your set is over when those hips start to sag or roll too much!

No point working beyond where your body is able to take you safely, give it time.

Finish your core off with a set of old school crunches! Try shooting for 100 reps broken up however you can.

Build up to three times a week of this and you’ll notice a huge difference in posture and your waist line.

Let me know if you need even more ideas or training plans by writing to me writegf@gmail.com.

Happy belly blasting friends!