I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, way too long in fact, but my summer’s are pretty crazy with my husband’s business and me potentially (fingers crossed!) starting my own business and time just hasn’t been my friend lately. :-(
With the layoff in my blogging I’ve also been a bit more lax in my workouts, like most of you, when I get busy, taking care of myself and my health suffers. So in the interest of getting myself and my personal training clients back into peak shape, I decided to start a little ab challenge. For the next month, we will be doing 5 different abdominal exercises everyday, and every week those exercises will change and become more difficult as we get stronger. Then I thought, why not open the challenge up to my friends and family as well, the more the merrier! (or is it misery loves company! lol) So here’s this week’s workout!
Flat Ab Project
The first week are the basic exercises but we’ll be building on it from here!
Warm up (do once at the beginning, and if you have time, once at the end):
Lying Twist – lie on your back with your knees bent at a 45 degree angle and stacked over your hips. Drop your knees to the right side touching the floor (for advanced, keep your knees 2 inches off the floor), switch to the other side. Beginners 5 reps to each side, intermediate 10 reps, advanced 15
Opposite Arm/Leg Lift (low back)- on your hands and knees, lift the right arm and left leg off the floor and reach them towards the opposite walls, hold for 3 counts, then lower and raise the left arm and right leg off the floor and hold for three counts. Beginners 5 reps to each side, intermediate 10 reps, advanced 15
Basic Crunch (forward flexion)- curl your torso off the ground until just your shoulder blades are touching, then back down, count 2 up, and 2 down. If you have a bad back and this is uncomfortable, or you want a bit more of a challenge, do on a stability ball or Bosu. 10 reps for beginners, 15 for intermediate, 20 for advanced
Cross over crunch (rotational)- curl your torso off the ground until just your shoulder blades are touching, then twist your right elbow towards your left knee. Repeat to the other side, that’s one rep. Again, this can be done on a stability ball or Bosu. 10 reps for beginners, 15 for intermediate, 20 for advanced
Reverse Crunch (forward flexion)- bend your knees parallel to the floor, hands beside your hips or behind your head. In 2 counts, lift your hips up off the floor, then slowly back down. To make it more challenging, keep your legs straight! 10 reps for beginners, 15 for intermediate, 20 for advanced
Plank (stabilizer)- get in a push up position from your toes and elbows (go from your knees if this is too hard or if it’s too easy full push up position with straight arms!). Hold this for as long as you can, keeping track of your time, beginners should aim for 30 sec., intermediate 45 sec., advanced 1 min. or more!
Side Plank (stabilizer)- lie on your side, then come up to rest on one elbow and either one bent knee for beginners, both legs straight but split for intermediate, or both legs stacked for advanced (if that’s still too easy, straighten your arm as well!). Hold this for as long as you can keeping track of your time, beginners should aim for 20 sec., intermediate 30 sec. and advanced 45 sec. or longer!
Repeat this sequence of exercises 2 to 3 times through.
If you thought you were beginner but the first time through was too easy, try the intermediate option! Every week the exercises will change so you don’t get bored, but feel free to continue to do the first exercises or any of the others you like, as long as you do one stabilizer, one forward flexion and one rotation or lateral flexion exercise. Also, if you have an extra layer over those abs you want to lose so they’ll show better, try adding 30 – 60 sec. of cardio intervals in between every two or three exercises that are specifically designed for your abs, like mountain climbers, plank jacks, high knees, cross country skiing, jumping twists, the running man, kickboxing or whatever you like! (descripstions and pictures of these and more will be under The Flat Abs Project Exercises page)
Also, you can see results from the people I’ve seen without changing your diet, but to get the best results, cut back on carbohydrates! Excess carbs sit right around your middle, causing beer bellies and muffin tops…that’s why they’re named after carbs!! The carbs after 4pm are the biggest killer, mainly because your body has little time to burn them off before you sleep. Try eating a smaller portion of potatoes, rice, pasta or bread with dinner than usual, switch to lite beer or have half the size glass of wine you normally would, save desserts for a once a week treat, and watch that middle disappear!
Good luck and keep me posted on how you do, if you need any further information or adaptations for any of the exercises, send me a message with your email address and I’ll send you an attachment with everything you need to get you started!