There are so many ways to access the abdominal muscles but for many of us, the hardest area to target is the deep core musculature. We need these muscles to stabilize and support the spine among many other functions.
Our core isn't necessarily the "washboard" muscles we get from doing thousands of crunches. Rather, it's are the muscles that protect us most from injury and that help our bodies move and function more efficiently in a number of different ways. And they also have the benefit of helping us look and feel tighter in the waist.
Of course Elvie can be used to strengthen those core muscles, but including other exercises will help speed up your progress.
We're thrilled to introduve fitness expert and Body Conceptions Founder Mahri Relin, who has kindly agreed to provide us with her top five core exercises.
Mahri's Core Exercise Guide
Grab a small pillow or small inflatable rubber exercise ball. Place the ball or pillow under your pelvis. It should be low enough to lift and tuck the pelvis a bit and feel extremely comfortable during the following exercises. Pull the lower abdominal muscles into the spine the whole time. And as an added bonus, try kegeling while doing these exercises!
1) Bring your legs into a tabletop position with a 90-degree bend in the knees. With small movements, pulse the legs out 30x. (You do not have to straighten the legs completely with these pulses.)
2) Keeping the legs bent with the knees together, twist the knees to the right. While maintaining this position, pulse the legs up and down 20x. Then twist the legs to the left, and repeat.
3) Maintain the twist to the left. Reach the legs out toward a straightened position (45 degrees off the ground), then pull the knees back in. Repeat 20x. Twist to the right, and repeat 20x.
4) Open the knees into a diamond position with the feet touching. Maintaining this shape, pulse the legs up and down 30x. See how low you can go with the legs in this position (although never too low to put strain on your lower back)
5) Start with the diamond shape, then cross the legs (to extend them about 45 degrees off the ground), squeezing the upper thighs together. Pull the legs back into a diamond shape, and cross again with the other leg on top. Do 20 sets of crosses
Remove the pillow or ball from your lower back, and place it between your knees with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor.
1) Start by squeezing the pillow or ball between your knees 20x
2) Keeping the squeeze, lift the legs up to the ceiling while lifting your upper body with your hands behind your head, and return to the ground. Repeat 20x. To add intensity, lift your pelvis off the ground every time you lift your legs.
What a workout - we'll definitely be feeling it on Monday! A big thank you to Mahri for sharing such excellent advice and we're sure you'll show your appreciation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.