You're 50plus you look in the mirror and notice your midriff is starting to spread. If you're anything like me, Dadbod is rapidly becoming Grandbod! Well, fear not, you can do something about it and below I have listed 5 exercises suggested by Keith Lazarus, personal trainer, strength coach and functional fitness expert.
Before we start let's get these two facts clear:
First: "There is no such thing as spot weight reduction." You can't target the area on the body that you want to lose weight. So if you want those abs to show, you're going to have to lose that excess weight and the best way to do that is to commit to a weight loss program. Check out the NHS program here. It's free and it works. Remember we're over 50 and everything takes longer.
Second. Just because you can't see your abs doesn't mean that your hard work isn't paying off. At 50plus core, strength development plays an important part in preserving our functional fitness. In a systematic review published in the July 2013 issue of Sports Medicine, trunk muscle strength (core strength) correlates with better balance, functional performance and lower risk of falls in older adults.
NOTE: If you're 50plus like me (or even if you're not) before starting any new exercise ,check with your doctor first. It's better to be safe than sorry. That said here are our top five ab exercises for those who are 50plus:
This exercise is great for activating and firing up your core. It'll help you develop control when contracting your core muscles.
It does require a little bit of coordination but is simple to perform with a little bit of practice. Try 3 sets of 6-10 reps, or whatever it takes to feel your core light up!
Push your stomach into the floor to close the gap under your back
Extend 1 arm and leg straight out from the body
Bring your arm and leg back to the middle and repeat on the other side
The plank is an essential core strength-building exercise for any level. It teaches you to brace your entire core, which is useful when performing other exercises such as a squat or pull up. The aim is to hold the position for a set length of time, or for as long as possible without dropping or lifting. If you feel any kind of strain in your lower backrest, and when you try again keep your pelvis pulled in towards your belly button.
Make a straight line from your shoulders to your heels
Keep your elbows beneath your shoulders
Keep your pelvis and belly button pulled in to stop your back from arching
Stay relaxed and breathe.
The intention is not to squeeze but to stay braced.
Start with 3 x 10seconds and build up from there.
While regular crunches can hurt your back, reverse crunches stay true to their name by doing the opposite. This makes them one of the best abs exercises for men, though you’ll have to do a lot of them to really feel the burn. Keep your upper back straight on the ground as you lift your legs, glutes and lower back toward your chest. Repeat until sore.
Try doing 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
Keep your knees bent with your heels close to your bum
Place your hands by your side for stability
As you lower your feet to try to keep them slightly elevated from the floor
Aim to slightly lift your hips at the top of the movement to get full ROM
Keep your back flat on the ground, your hands by your sides, and your knees bent. Put your feet on the floor, keeping them hip-width apart and close enough to your torso so that your hands can reach your heels when you’re in the starting position. Now, push up your hips while keeping your back straight. Hold for 15 seconds before slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat the process, working your way up to a longer hold as you go.
Muscles worked: abdominals, obliques, hip flexor, glutes, hamstring, lower back, core
Equipment needed: exercise mat
The side plank will work your obliques which are the muscles on each side of your abs. Like the plank this exercise is performed as an isometric hold, however, you can also raise and lower your hips to make this a dynamic exercise too. Including this exercise in your training regime will ensure that you have stability along the sides of your core. You will also notice your abs are braced on this exercise too. Try holding for a set period of time, or for as long as you can on each side.
Place your lower elbow directly beneath your shoulder
Lift your hips from the ground to form a straight line along your body
If you find it difficult try bending and resting on your lower knee
Use your top arm for balance or place your hand on your obliques to feel the tension
Kneel on the floor with your hands shoulder-width apart. Brace your abs and lift an alternate arm and leg. Point the arm out straight in front and extend the opposite leg to the rear. Hold at the top of the move for 5 seconds before returning to the start position. "Getting your body as long as possible really focuses the exercise on your core stabilisers," says PT Greg Brookes. Perfect this technique for maximum muscle activation.
3 sets of 5 reps on each side
Make it easier - try reverse breathing. In the same stance, work the core by pushing out your belly as you breathe in and vice versa.
Make it harder Increase the time you hold each elevation.