This Elite Trainer Just Shared The Secret To Her Chiseled Abs
Yeah, yeah, you’re well aware that to achieve Grecian-statue-level abs, you need to put in the work. But there’s no denying doing a million crunches at the end of a tough workout is the worst. Abs training can be boring and monotonous, and half the time, those classic abs moves don’t seem to be doing anything, anyway.
Enter trainer Betina Gozo’s favourite abs move: the alternating V-up. Gozo knows a thing or two about working your abs. (Also: see her six-pack for proof).
The alternating V-up is her go-to abs exercise for a lot of reasons. First, it’s equipment-free and you can do it anywhere. And, it’s challenging in all the right ways. “I love this move because it’s a sneaky one,” says Gozo. “The first few reps always feel a little easy, but then it starts to get tough!”
It targets your upper and lower abs, obliques and the transverse abdominis (a deep layer of abs muscles that wrap from your front body to the sides and are difficult to target). “It doesn’t take your spine too far out of neutral like the crunch, and it’s a functional move, meaning it’s training your body to move how you move in real life.”
Here’s how it’s done: Start by lying on your back, with your arms extended above your head and your legs flat. Next, lift your right arm and left leg to form a V, nearly touching your right hand and left foot at the top. Your opposite leg will remain on the ground, and your opposite arm will come off the ground, but not reach across your body to meet your raising leg.
Lower down to the starting position, then raise your left arm to your right leg, lower back down, and continue alternating sides. Focus on lifting your body up with your abs, instead of curving your back and just reaching your arms to your legs. Your shoulders and back should leave the ground, says Gozo, and your back should stay straight throughout the exercise. Think V, not C!
Another tip? Try to sync your breath with the movement so that you’re exhaling as your raise your body up, says Gozo. This will help you target those hard-to-activate transverse abs, and give you a boost to help you complete the move. “The ultimate challenge is to try to never rest your shoulders or legs on the ground, so you end up in a hollow hold,” says Gozo. “It’ll burn!”
If regular V-ups are too difficult and you feel yourself losing form, modify the move by keeping your opposite forearm on the ground, for support and leverage, says Gozo. To make the move more challenging, at the top of the move, add a slight twist towards the raised leg to engage your obliques even more.
Gozo recommends completing 20 reps (10 on each side) for three sets. You can complete this exercise a few times a week, and Gozo likes it particularly for active recovery during a strength workout. “Especially if you’re working a lot of upper body, you can give your arms a little bit of a break, but still give yourself a total body abs move,” she says. When you’re resting between weight sets, give this move a try. It’ll definitely keep your core fired up.
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