Working the abdominal area has many benefits: improves posture, balance and stability, prevents injuries, draws the tummy in, flattens the tummy and increases the endurance in our back and stomach muscles. It is always great to have challenges and workouts you are easily able to complete no matter where you are – the gym, a hotel, a park or in the comforts of your home. Below are two of my staple ab moves and a favorite ab circuit…
The “Double” Crunch
The double crunch works both the lower and upper abdominal muscles at the same time. It is important to work the core because we use it in our everyday lives.
- Grab a mat and lie on your back with hands behind your head and knees slightly bent as if you were in position to do a classic crunch.
- Curl your upper abs – by lifting your head and shoulder blades toward your knees. At the same time – slowly raise and curl your knees toward your chest.
- Exhale as you curl your body parts in and inhale as your return to the start position.
Tip: “In the beginning go slow, work on form, inhales and exhales. Really concentrate on curling the abs and breathing properly. After this becomes natural try some variations: straight leg double crunches or even try using a medicine ball in-between your legs as you complete the double crunch.
20 second/10second PLANK Challenge
The plank works the core from the inside out and the core impacts our everyday life. The challenge is a short goal and fun to complete – this is a must try!
- Grab a mat or a towel and have a clock or a stopwatch ready for use.
- Lie flat on the floor resting your body on your forearms with your palms flat on the floor. Ensure your shoulders are aligned with your elbows. Make sure your legs are straight behind and touching.
- In a push-up motion using your forearms, raise your body off the floor, supporting yourself using your forearms and toes. You should have a straight line from your feet to your head. You can clasp your palms together if needed. Make sure your back is flat (no arching or sagging) and the rest of your body is straight.
- Keep your abdominal muscles engaged and do not let your stomach drop or your back arch. Remember to breathe in and out the whole time while keeping your tummy nice and tight.
- Hold this for 20 seconds then drop to the floor and rest for 10 seconds and repeat until you reach 3 minutes.
- QUICK TIPS:
Tip: “Start with a 3 minute goal and work to increase it – also try different variations of the plank such as the rocking plank, up/down plank, plank jacks and hip-dip planks. You can increase the amount of time and the type of plank. With so many variations and challenges available this should be a staple on ab days.”
ABDOMINAL WORKOUT CHALLENGE
Try combining the following routine every other day for the next 3 months with a healthy fit nutrition plan. Be sure to take a before and after photo as well as a waist measurement to track your progress. Sometimes it can be hard to see a difference because we are so hard on ourselves and we see ourselves every day. One big piece of advice is to always remember that you will never out train a bad diet. I am not saying you have to be perfect when it comes to nutrition but remember 80% of your success will come from what you eat and drink and only 20% will come from training. It is important to find a balance with food and finding time to get moving.
Complete 3 rounds of the following:
*30 bicycle kicks
*30 “double” crunches
*3 minute Plank:
(20 sec plank/10 sec rest for a total of 3 minutes)
*1.5 minute rest and repeat
*for more of a challenge if this is too easy increase crunches to 50 and plank to 5 minutes