Are you looking to build rock solid abs like some of the best martial artists on the planet? Then look no further than ONE Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee.
The 20-year-old global star has diligently constructed the perfect core necessary to compete with martial artists at the elite level, and even maintains killer abs when she is out of training camp. She credits that to her lifestyle, her eating habits, and her fitness routines.
With a little dedication, you too can achieve an impressive-looking core. Here are five of the champ’s best abdominal secrets.
#1 Do Some Planks And Other Isometric Exercises
Most people think in order to have a strong core, they must perform isotonic exercises in which they constantly move their bodies and joints to contract the muscles.
Lee urges people to include some isometric exercises as well, which are positions held under stress without any movement from the joints, into their routine. That’s why she highly encourages people to take advantage of “static-holding positions”.
“It is good to do exercises where you are moving, like crunches or leg raises, but it also burns your core to hold planks for two minutes.”
#2 Hold The Salt
Consuming excessive amounts of sodium will famously cause people to retain water, stall weight loss, and make people appear a little bloated. However, if you diminish your sodium intake, that water weight will slide right off.
“A lot of times, women especially, will feel really bloated, and they will wonder why their abs are not showing. Most of the time, it is just because of water retention,” Lee explains. “If you are taking in too much sodium, it can hold a lot of excess water and that is going to make you look, and feel, bloated. So just cut back on the sodium.”
#3 Vary Your Ab Workout
It is important to constantly shock the body. Muscles have the tendency to adapt to exercise routines, so by switching up workouts, it would lead to muscle confusion and stimulate new growth. That applies to all muscles, including the abdominal ones.
“Do not just focus on the same exercise,” Lee states. “There are so many different exercises that work different parts of your abs, and I think it is important to switch it up every now and then, because your body gets used to certain motions. Always try to keep it fresh.”
#4 Work Your Core In The Sauna
Are you in the mood to try something completely different? Then perform a few exercises in the sauna. Doing a couple of crunches, planks, and push-ups in humid conditions will elevate the heart rate, and could quite possibly increase your lean mass. That said, it is important to bear in mind not to overdo it, and to make sure you stay hydrated.
“If you want to get a really good workout in, sometimes what I like to do is work on my abs in the sauna. That is really good,” she says. “It really burns, and you get a really good sweat in, too.”
#5 Do Not Neglect The Lower Abs
When most people work their abdominal muscles, they tend to perform exercises that focus on their upper abs, and not necessarily the lower one. It is time to change that. Instead of crunches, try some other exercises that will work the bottom part of your abdomen.
“It is really important to work the lower abs. A lot of times, it is overlooked. Stuff like knee-ups, knee-holds, and leg raises are really beneficial,” Lee offers. “It is so important to have a tight core, especially for competing in martial arts. So much comes from your core.”