Trying to get those flat, strong abs? Workin' on a six-pack? We got you. Pop Physique founder and professional dancer Jennifer Williams knows a thing or two about building a strong core — and not just in the gym. She's a proponent of moving your body throughout the day, beyond your exercise class, to create a strong and healthy body.
A solid, toned midsection can impact nearly every area of your life; not only does it make your other workouts better, but it can help with your overall health. "There are so many more benefits to having a strong core than just the obvious aesthetic ones . . . though, those are great!" she told POPSUGAR. "But truly, a strong core will improve your posture, relieve back pain, and even help maximize toning of other parts of your body during workouts."
Jennifer shared her core-strengthening tips that you can practice both in and out of class so you can get those abs and feel better, stronger, and more powerful than ever.
- Exhale and Contract. "Use a sharp exhale during your workout," said Jennifer. "As you forcefully exhale, feel your abs pulling in. Hold them there. Then repeat with every exhale. Think of your abs pulling in, in more, and in again, without releasing. You'll be amazed how much more effective your workout is with the right breathing!"
- Focus and Intensify. Take that focus you're using during you're breathing, and apply it to how you're holding and working all your ab muscles. "Try to always focus on working into your deepest ab muscles; we call this transverse abdominis," she said (those are under your obliques!). "Strengthening these muscles creates flat, strong abs. This takes intense focus, but [it] is so worth it, as these muscles not only look great when toned, but aid in posture, back flexibility, and much more."
Throughout the Day
- Work Your Core All the Time. "Pulling in your abdominals throughout your waking hours will bring so much strength to core muscles." Think about holding in, flexing, and contracting your abs throughout the day.
- Stand Tall. Great posture can improve your core strength. "Draw your abs in and feel a sense of lifting up through the body."
- Sit Up Straight. If you're at a desk for long periods of time, ensure that your posture is erect and controlled. Hold in your muscles from time to time to get a no-gym ab workout.