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Talk to anyone in the fitness industry and they'll tell you that training your core is vital for your health and well-being. Follow this abs workout to get the stomach you've always wanted while strengthening your core.

Crunches

Our workout starts with a truly classic abs exercise for toning your stomach. This exercise will target the entire abdonimal area and work deep into the core. To perform crunches properly and with good technique, start by lying flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your fingers by your temples with your elbows kept back. Keep your chin tucked in to protect your spine and prevent you from over-stretching your neck. Using your stomach muscles (not your shoulders or back) lift your shoulders and upper back off the floor. 

The difference between crunches and sit-ups is that crunches are a much smaller movement. With sit-ups, you fully sit up so that your entire back is off the floor. With crunches, you are just doing micro movements for a more intense burn. For an added benefit, pause at the top of the movement and then lower back down very slowly.

Perform continuous reps for 30 seconds as a beginner, 45 for an intermediate exerciser, and 60 seconds if you're more advanced.

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Plank Shoulder Taps

This exercise truly targets deep into the core to strengthen your abs muscles and improve your overall fitness and conditioning. Start in a press up position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your back flat and straight. Slowly pick up one hand and touch it to the opposite shoulder. Squeeze your abs as you put it back down and then do the same with the other hand. As you swap hands be sure not to rock your hips; keep them as still as possible. This exercise should be quite challenging so take it slow and make it count.

Beginners should do this movement continuously for 30 seconds, 45 for the intermediate, and 60 seconds for the more advanced.

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The Plank

If you thought you'd be able to make it through this workout without having to do the dreaded plank, you'd be wrong! This exercise is a classic for a reason as it works the core and abs very effectively and is a great way to test your core strength. To perform the plank properly and with best technique, place your forearms flat on the floor with your hands flat, palms facing up. Keep your elbows directly under your shoulders at all times and place your feet hip-width apart. Keep your head in line with your spine but allow your eyes to look at the floor (or close your eyes if it helps!) Squeeze your belly button upwards towards your spine to keep your core tight.

Hold for as long as you can! 60 seconds is an excellent milestone. 

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Kettlebell Swings

This cardio exercise is not one many people would associate with being a core exercise, but when done correctly it can really work your abs and help you target this area effectively.

To perform kettlebell swings, start with your feet wider than hip width, holding the kettlebell by the horns with both hands. Bend your knees and start to swing the kettlebell between your legs. As you straighten your legs, swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height. You can swing it higher than this, but this is a safe and effective height for most exercisers. As the bell swings up, squeeze your core as tight as you can. As it starts to swing back down, don't let it drag your shoulders down with it. Instead, keep your shoulders up and your chest proud, looking up and ahead of you. 

A beginner will do well to perform this exercise for 30 seconds, intermediate 45, advanced 60 seconds. 4kg-8kg is a good weight range for a beginner. 

Read more about the benefits of the kettlebell swing

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