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HOW TO GET A BODY LIKE JENNIFER LOPEZ: ABS WORKOUT

It’s no secret that Jennifer Lopez’s enviable body has been an inspiration to women globally for years. 

However, having recently transformed her body for her role as a stripper in the film Hustlers, at the age of 50, J Lo has revealed abs the envy of women half her age.

The sought-after six-pack is the hallmark of dedicated fitness professionals and models. Having ‘abs’ is commonly cited as the final goal of those embarking on a transformation at Ultimate Performance.

Aside from the aesthetic benefits of having defined abs, having a strong core greatly benefits your movement in both daily life and sports performance.

Having abs (and maintaining them all year round) requires a serious commitment to your training and nutrition but it is 100% achievable.  So, if you’re about to bear all on the beach or want to take your body to that next level, we’ve put together some training tips on how to get six-pack abs like Jennifer Lopez for you below.

Why This Workout Works

The obliques are two muscles that run down the sides of the abs. The abs and obliques are the most visible and are supported by a number of other muscles underneath. Training all these muscles is key to a strong core and washboard abs.

Body Fat Percentage – We all have abs. It’s just that for the majority of people, there’s a layer of fat covering them up.

Unfortunately, you can’t spot reduce when it comes to fat loss (doing ab exercises won’t shift the fat over your abs) so to lose belly fat and see your abs you’ll need to reduce your overall body fat percentage.

This is done by creating a calorie deficit either by reducing your calories, increasing your output through activity – or a combination of the two through proper nutrition and training.

‘Ab’ exercises – In short, just doing hundreds of ab exercises is not going to get you a six-pack. Abs are relatively small muscles so working your abs won’t burn as many calories as working other larger muscles in the body.

The most efficient way to create a calorie deficit and lose body fat is to perform big compound movements like squats, deadlifts and pull-ups with heavy weight. This has a large metabolic effect on your body and also requires a huge amount of core strength as you should be bracing your core hard throughout exercise to support the rest of your body. Doing a combination of large compound movements and ab-specific exercises will lead to best results.

Progressive overload – As is the case with any muscle building process, if you want to build abs you need to progressively overload them by adding more weight or volume each time you train. Performing bodyweight exercises will only get you so far, you need to be adding resistance or reps over time to get strong, sculpted abs.

Nutrition – Part of the battle in the quest for abs is nutrition, which plays a key role in reducing your body fat percentage. Tracking your calorie intake, eating a high protein diet with lots of vegetables and reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates (sweets, cakes, biscuits) are some of the best ways to create and maintain a calorie deficit.

Stress – Stress can be a huge contributor to fat storage around the abdominal area, so taking steps to decrease your stress levels may help your journey to a six-pack. Try taking time out for relaxation, meditation, deep breathing and sleep to help relieve stress, particularly if you are prone to emotional eating.

The Workout

Looking to build a strong six-pack stomach of your own?  We’ve put together two ab-specific workouts which can be included as part of your full-body training regime.

These exercises can be performed either as a circuit or in straight sets and can be progressed by gradually adding resistance, reps or time as you get stronger.

Here are two ab workouts that will help you get a body like Jennifer Lopez:

The Workouts

WORKOUT 1

How to Perform the Exercises

This guide is aimed at trainees with a good knowledge of the exercises and how to train safely and effectively.

If you are unsure and want access to training programmes, nutrition information and over 250+ demonstration videos, sign up for LiveUP online coaching today or consult a qualified PT.

The Set-Up

  • Add the appropriate attachment to the cable, (a rope attachment works best if available) and hold either end of the rope.
  • Pull the rope towards you so that the ends of the rope are in line with your forehead.
  • Look at the floor and engage your abs.
  • This is the start and end position for each rep.

The Movement 

  • Engage your abs and hinge at the hips, pulling your elbows down towards your knees and letting your spine flex.
  • Contract your abs hard, hold at the bottom of the rep then slowly return to the start position.
  • Keep your hips above your knees and stable throughout the movement.

Trainer Tips

  • Keep your shoulders rounded throughout and allow your entire torso to roll forward.
  • Your back should remain rounded throughout the movement so do not allow your back to arch.
  • Your hands should remain near your head, holding the rope throughout.
  • Focus on contracting your abs throughout the set and getting them into their most shortened position at the bottom of the rep.
  • Keep the movement slow and controlled and avoid using momentum, which will take the emphasis away from your abs.

The Set-Up

  • Lie on your back, legs straight and together, hands by your sides.

The Movement 

  • Bracing your core and keeping your legs straight, slowly lift them all the way up to the ceiling until your hips come off the floor.
  • Slowly lower your legs back down until they are just above the floor. Hold for a moment.
  • Repeat.

Trainer Tips 

  • In order for the abs to be fully engaged, your lower back should remain in contact with the floor throughout this movement.
  • If you are unable to keep your lower back on the floor, this exercise can be regressed by placing your hands underneath your hips, having a slight bend in the knees or reducing the range of motion so that you stop lowering your legs as soon as your lower back starts to lift.
  • This exercise can be progressed by performing the exercise on an incline bench, adding weight (ankle weights work well for this) to the legs or performing the exercise whilst hanging from a bar.

The Set-Up

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent towards you and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Lean back so that your upper body is at a 45-degree angle to the floor.

 The Movement

  • Keeping your back straight and core engaged, link your hands together in front of your chest and raise your legs up off the ground, keeping the knees bent.
  • Slowly and with control rotate your arms and twist your torso over to one side, then return to centre and repeat on the other side.

 Trainer Tips

  • Perform this exercise very slowly and carefully as exercises which involve twisting the spine can be dangerous if performed incorrectly.
  • Do not let the lower back to flex and keep the abs engaged and chest pushed out throughout the movement.
  • To regress this exercise, keep the feet on the floor.

The Set-Up

  •  Lie on the ground with your legs out straight and arms straight and by your sides.
  • This is the start and end position for each rep.

The Movement

  •  Keeping your legs straight, engage your core and lift your legs off the ground.  At the same time, lift your torso towards your thighs to form a ‘V’ shape and reach your hands up towards your feet.
  • Bring your hands up to meet your feet then slowly lower back to the ground and repeat.

 Trainer Tips

  • Avoid relying on momentum to perform the movement and keep your core engaged throughout.   Perform the exercise in a smooth and controlled motion.
  • Do not let your lower back arch, if you are unable to keep this flexed you are not engaging your core muscles.
  • This exercise can be regressed by performing the V-sit with one leg at a time, or by keeping your knees bent.
  • This exercise can be progressed by adding resistance either by holding a weight in your hands or adding weight to your ankles.

The Set-Up 

  • Lie down on your back with your arms stretched out overhead and your legs straight and together, toes pointed.

The Movement

  • Brace your core and lift your arms and legs off the floor.
  • Focus on pressing your lower back into the ground while squeezing your entire abdominal wall.
  • Shoulders should be slightly lifted and your ribs are tucked in you are aiming for a banana shape.

Trainer Tips

  • Focus on keeping your brace as tight as possible.
  • This exercise can be regressed by keeping the arms alongside the body or bending the knees and flexing the hip so that there is a 90-degree angle at both the hips and knee.
  • This exercise can be progressed by adding weight to the ankles or hands for added resistance.  Another popular movement for progressing this exercise is to remain in a dish position and slowly rock backwards and forwards whilst maintaining a tight brace.
  • Remember to breathe.

WORKOUT 2

How to Perform the Exercises

The Set-Up 

  • Start by kneeling on the ground on all fours.
  • Hold an ab wheel (or barbell) directly underneath your shoulders and engage your core.
  • This is the start and end position for each rep.

The Movement 

  • Keeping your abs engaged and arms straight, slowly roll the ab wheel out in front of you.
  • Keep your upper body tight and don’t let your lower back sag into the floor.
  • When you have reached the end of your range, pause, then slowly roll the ab wheel back towards you.

Trainer Tips

  • Your range is determined by the furthest point at which you can roll the ab roller away from you while still keep your abs engaged and lower back straight.
  • Aim to get your torso as close to the floor as possible, while maintaining a tight brace and as straight a line as possible from your knees to your wrists.
  • Perform the exercise in a slow, controlled manner and avoid using any momentum. Control is key here to ensure you are using your abs throughout the exercise.
  • This exercise can be progressed by starting from a standing position rather than with your knees bent.
  • This is a challenging exercise to execute correctly, so you may want to build up your core strength first by regressing to holding the plank.

The Set-Up

  • Lie on a bench on your back, then reach your arms overhead and hold onto the bench behind you.
  • With your legs together, bend your knees and raise them up so that your knees are directly above your hips, focus on pressing your lower back into the bench and engage your abs.
  • This is the start and end position for each rep.

The Movement

  • Keeping your abs engaged, slowly bring your knees towards you as if you are trying to curl up into a little ball.
  • Your knees should be pressed against your chest and the aim is to lift your hips up slightly from the bench.
  • Keeping your abs engaged, slowly return to the start position and repeat.

Trainer Tips 

  • Concentrate on pressing your lower back into the bench and do not allow your lower back to arch between reps.
  • Try and curl up into as small a ball as possible to get your abs into their fully shortened position.
  • This exercise can be progressed by extending your legs so that they are stretched out in front of you, by adding resistance to the ankles, or by increasing the incline of the bench.
  • Perform the exercise in a slow, controlled manner and avoid using any momentum. Control is key here to ensure you are using your abs throughout the exercise.

The Set-Up 

  • Start by lying on your back with your legs out straight, lower back pressed flat into the floor, and your head and shoulders raised slightly above it.
  • Place your hands by your ears.
  • This is the start and end position for each rep.

The Movement 

  • Lift one leg just off the ground straight and bend the knee of the other leg towards your chest.
  • At the same time, twist through your core so the opposite arm comes towards the raised knee. You don’t need to touch elbow to knee; instead focus on moving through your core as you turn your torso.
  • Slowly return to the start position then repeat on the other side.

Trainer Tips

  • Be careful not to yank your head up or use momentum for this exercise. You should be engaging your abs throughout and you should not allow your back to arch.
  • Perform this exercise very slowly and carefully, as exercises which involve twisting the spine can be dangerous if performed incorrectly.

The Set-Up

  • Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent up and your lower back pressed against the floor.
  • Softly place one hand either side of your ears.
  • This is the start and end position for each rep.

The Movement

  • Engaging your abs slowly, lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Pause at the top and contract the abs hard then slowly return to the start position under control.

Trainer Tips

  • Keep the movement slow and controlled and avoid using momentum, which will take the emphasis away from your abs.
  • Relax your neck throughout and avoid yanking your head up with your hands.
  • Your range of motion should be fairly short and you do not need to come all the way up to a seated position. Just lift the head and shoulders off the floor.

The Set-Up

  • Start by lying on your front with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and your forearms resting on the floor. Your legs should be straight out behind you.

The Movement

  • Tuck your toes under, engage your abs and lift your hips off the floor so that your body weight is evenly distributed between your forearms and your feet.
  • Keep your shoulders directly above your elbows and look at the floor.
  • Focus on keeping your abs and glutes squeezed hard throughout so that your body is in a straight line from shoulder to ankle with a neutral spine.

Trainer Tips

  • You can increase the intensity of the plank by slowly lifting one leg off the floor, reaching one arm forwards or slowly rocking backwards and forwards on your forearms.
  • The plank is harder the closer your feet are together. For increased stability try starting with a slightly wider foot stance and slowly work your feet towards each other as you get stronger.

By Rebecca Scott

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