A quick search online will bring up dozens of abs-focused workout routines, each promising to strengthen your midsection. But many rely on sit-ups and crunches, which aren't the most exciting moves to do over and over again.
Adding other core strengthening exercises to your training can help improve your performance as your core connects your upper and lower body. It can also help develop stability and even promote circulation.
If you're looking for a quick core-developing session to add to the end of your next workout, personal trainer Bradley Simmonds' eight-move core workout is a great place to start.
All you need is a bit of space, a yoga or Swiss ball, and several resistance bands. These portable bands are an excellent alternative to weights, and they often come in sets, like you'd find in our roundup of the best resistance bands.
The aim is to do three sets of each of the eight exercises, focusing on your form throughout. Helpfully, you can practice the technique using Simmonds' demonstrations or this resistance band abs workout before you start.
Watch Bradley Simmonds' eight-move core workout
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Trainers often talk about the benefits of a stronger core, noting how it connects several areas of your body including your lower back, hips, pelvis and abdominal muscles. This is why it's such an essential part of any strength workout.
However, though people tend to use abs and core interchangeably, there is a difference between abs and core training. Your abdominals, which include the rectus abdominis six-pack ab muscles, form part of your core.
So, while developing your abs will help strengthen your core, a dedicated core workout will cover all areas of your midsection.
For many, developing a visible six-pack is a major motivator for tackling abs workouts. However, according to Simmonds, you also need to focus on your diet and reduce your body fat to get there. "Through the right diet.. and a program to follow, anyone can achieve their desired body and have a strong core."
You can't spot-target fat around your stomach, so you'll need to focus on workouts that help you burn fat, like a high-intensity HIIT workout for fat loss. This keeps your heart rate high and helps boost your metabolism (the amount of energy you burn throughout the day).
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Lois Mackenzie is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering strength training workouts with weights, accessible ways to stay active at home, and training routines for runners. She joined the team from Newsquest Media Group, where she was a senior sports, trends, and lifestyle reporter. She is a dedicated runner, having just completed her first marathon, and an advocate for spending time outdoors, whether on a walk, taking a long run, or swimming in the sea.
Lois holds a Master's degree in Digital Journalism, and has written for Good Health, Wellbeing & The Great Outdoors, Metro.co.uk, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.
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