Gladiators star shares six bodyweight core exercises for toned abs

They can all be done from home and require no equipment

Original UK Gladiators cast
(Image credit: Shuttershock)

It may be over 20 years since Kim Betts stepped into the arena as Gladiators’ ‘Lightning’ but her physique, to this day, is still incredible. Now, she’s shared her favourite ab exercises so you can also get a toned torso, just like Lightning. Plus, they can all be done from home and require no equipment whatsoever. 

Lightning was one of the show’s toughest contestants who remained undefeated in the UK arena. There’s no doubt we were always envious of her well-defined abs and prominent biceps and since leaving the show, the former British gymnast has become an award-winning bodybuilder, and she looks just as incredible as she did almost two decades ago.

Most of these exercises are probably ones that you’ve heard of before, which is comforting to know that Kim’s not doing anything too ‘out of the ordinary’ or complicated to tone her tum. If training your core is pretty new, then we advise picking three of these exercises to start with and aiming for eight to 10 reps of each, for three rounds. Here’s Kim’s favourites:

  • Traditional crunches
  • Knee to elbow crunches
  • Table top crunches 
  • Leg raises
  • Scissors
  • Pulsed leg raises

Make sure when you do these exercises that your lower back isn’t arching, creating a gap. You want your back completely flat on the floor, so as to really engage your abdominal muscles. If you struggle with this, try tipping your pelvis more towards you. Too easy? Purchase one of these best dumbbells and hold it during the exercise. Kim also points out that it’s a combination of the correct nutrition, a low body fat percentage and exercising your abs regularly that will make them visible.  

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.