Fitness | Wellness | Women

Let’s get fit with Esther Anu – All about the Abs!

4th August 2016

We’re excited to welcome Esther Anu to the blog, a personal trainer based in London, who will be providing us with some of her top exercise tips for the next few months!

There’s more to maintaining a flat stomach or ripped abs than doing 200 crunches a week. Like everything else in health and fitness, what you do much depends on what your goals are as well as your personal circumstances. For women just looking to keep the belly fat down, these ab exercises will both be extremely effective for strengthening your core, meanwhile intensifying your abs. I’ve also included some top tips for maintaining your abdominal condition at the bottom of this article. Enjoy!

Dynamic Chair Pose
1. Stand with your feet apart by 2 feet and your arms out to the side
2. Raise your arms through your sides and reach your fingers to the ceiling
3. Bend your knees and draw your hips back to a sitting position while keeping your back straight
4. Return immediately to the start position and repeat (this movement is to be completed as fast and controlled as possible)
5. After the set is completed, bring feet together slightly until they are completely together for the last set

Sets: 3
Reps: 15
Progression: increase the reps every week until you can complete 20

High Crunches
1. Lie on your back and bring your legs up to the ceiling
2. Stabilize your upper body with your right arm by placing your palm over your chest
3. Peeling your upper back off the floor, direct your head to the ceiling and reach your left arm towards the direction of your right toe
4. Pull your belly button down to the ground while reaching up as high as you can to increase the resistance
5. Switch arms and repeat the movement alternately on each side for the designated number of reps

Sets: 3
Reps: 15
Progression: increase the reps every week until you can complete 20
Regression: if you can’t keep your legs up during the movement, start with normal crunches. This incorporates the same motion but with your hands behind your head and your feet standing on the floor, with your knees pointed to the ceiling. (shown in the second picture)

Frog Plank
1. Begin in an elbow plank position, with your back straight, shoulders drawn back and glutes tight
2. Elevate one foot and bring the knee as close to the elbow as possible meanwhile pointing your toes to the side
3. Return your leg and repeat on the same side for the rest of the set.
4. Switch legs and repeat on the other side

Sets: 3
Reps: 10
Progression: As this is a more difficult exercise, start with 10 reps then gradually increase the amount every week until you can complete 15.
Regression: This exercise can be regressed to a normal plank position. In this case, you would just be following step 1 and holding the position for 45 seconds in week one, followed by 60 seconds in week 2, then 90 seconds in week 3.

Half-Boat Pose
1. Sit straight, bend your legs then bring them up directly in front of you at chest level
2. Use your pelvic bones to maintain balance, while straightening your arms out in front of you at shin level
3. Keep your back straight
4. Hold the pose for 30 seconds

Sets: 3
Reps: 30 second hold
Progression: increase the hold time every week, aiming for 45 seconds in the second week and 60 seconds in the third week.

Top Tips

Remember, the body is a system. The best way to lose body fat significantly in any area is to complete total body workouts – with that in mind try not to focus just on your abs for a lengthy amount of time, as with any other body part.

As I have structured these exercises, try to think of training your core instead of training your abs – this way you will reap the benefits of an integrated, stable, strong system, with an amazing midsection to show for it. Aesthetics are a showcase of all the hard work you put in!

Keep your intake of processed foods, high glycemic foods and dairy products down – avoid consuming these foods particularly before a workout due to the high sugar and unhealthy fat content!

Maintain a sufficient intake of protein, and aim to eat more of your natural carbohydrates during the day when you’re most likely to be using it – before a workout or a walk

Complete these exercises 2-3 times a week – either as a part of your main workouts or separately. I find that yoga is a nice way to incorporate some of these exercises, enhancing your mobility and stability as a result. It also gives you a lovely variation!

How did you find the exercises? Let us know!

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