Abs are made in the kitchen. This may seem like a bit of a cliché, but it really is true. Unless you are eating a healthy and balanced diet with fewer calories than you’re taking in, then revealing your hard-earned abs will prove extremely difficult. Cleaning up your diet should be the first port of call when you’re looking to develop a six-pack.
Nevertheless, you still need to work your abs muscles. The bigger they are, the more impressive your six-pack will be when you burn off all the belly fat – and not only that, but it also helps develop a strong core which is the basis of functional strength. The improvements in balance and mobility gained from direct core work will boost your performance in other exercises and everyday movements.
Where most core-specific exercises fail is by involving predominantly the inward contraction of the upper abdominal region. Directly engaging the lower abs is equally important. Some find the time to include both upper and lower abs isolation exercises in their training routine, but if you’re strapped for time or looking for a move that targets both areas effectively, then look no further than the V-sit. Here’s how to perform it.
How To Do A V-Sit
Lie flat on the ground (or a gym mat if you want to be more comfortable) with your arms by your sides. Raise your legs as high as you can, keeping them straight and together, and lift your torso up towards your thighs so you form a V-shape. Keep your back straight and try to keep your movements smooth and controlled – avoid jerking. You can keep your hands on the floor or bring them up to meet your feet. Then slowly lower back to the ground.
This variation on the classic V-sit is slightly easier because you don’t hold your legs straight during the exercise. Lie on a gym mat with your arms on the floor next to your body, your legs straight and your feet slightly raised off the floor. Keeping your back straight throughout, sit up in a controlled motion, bringing your lower back off the mat and your knees in to your chest. Keep your glutes engaged at all times so you can balance on them at the top of the movement.
Once you’ve got to grips with the basic V-sit try adding some weight. Hold a dumbbell, kettlebell or weight plate in both hands by your chest and then lift it up towards your feet as you perform the exercise.
V-sit with twist
This variation will transfer some attention from your lower abs to your obliques – the muscles on the sides of your abs. Start by lying flat on the ground as normal, but as you lift your torso up to meet your legs twist your upper body to the right and reach with just your left arm up towards your feet. Then lower and repeat, twisting to the other side and raising the other arm to your feet.