Week one is in the books, how did everyone do learning the basics? I’m hoping it was a good refresher for most of you, and for others I’m sure it was a bit easy, hope you hung in there with me though because week two is definitely more of a challenge!
This week I wanted to address a big pet peeve of mine, people who train their abs wrong, more specifically, to stick out! Have you ever seen a person at the gym or on the beach who, while having a flat stomach or maybe even a six pack, seems to have it sticking out in front of them, almost like a bit of a rounded belly? You may have thought it was just that poor person’s unfortunate genetics that caused this to happen, but it was completely avoidable! It’s caused by not pulling in your abs when you training them, like the feeling when you suck your stomach in to button up a pair of too tight pants. You should be doing this “sucking in” every time you do a crunch or a plank or any other ab move, this trains your stomach to lie flat instead of pooching out.
So with that in mind, here’s this week’s exercises, remember to do 2 to 3 sets:
Warm Up/Cool Down
Cobra – lying on your stomach, with your palms on the ground beside your shoulders, lift your upper body off the floor and hold there for a count of 3, return to lying flat. Beginners come up so elbows are bent halfway and do 10 reps, intermediate elbows are slightly bent and do 15, advanced straight arms and 20. Remember to keep your shoulders down and away from your ears throughout the movement.
Lying Rear Leg Lift – lying on your stomach, head on the ground, lift one leg off the floor a few inches, hold for a count of 3, then return to start. Alternate legs until all reps are completed. Beginners place your hands under your hip bones and do 10 reps per leg, intermediate arm beside you and do 15 reps, advanced hold you head off the ground for all reps and do 20. These can also be done on a stability ball with hands on the floor for balance (see pic).
Straight Leg Ab Hold/Crunch – lay on the floor with your legs straight, then I want you to suck in your stomach, pulling your abs in towards your spine and flattening the small of your back to the floor, hold for 10 sec. Beginners do 10 reps of this, intermediate do 10 reps and finish with 5 crunches in this position, advanced do 10 holding reps and 10 crunches.
Side Bend – standing with your legs together or slightly apart for better balance, place left hand behind your head and leave your right arm straight by your side. Now bend to right side as far as you can, reaching towards your knee, then come back up to standing tall. Do all the reps, then switch sides. Beginners do 10 reps, intermediate 15 reps, and advanced 20 reps, adding a light weight if this becomes too easy
Single Leg Lowering – lay on your back, one leg straight above your hip and bent parallel to the ground, the other straight in the air. Lower the straight leg towards the ground as far as you can without your lower back arching up off the floor, then return to start. Do all the reps on one leg before switching sides. Beginners do 10 reps per leg, intermediate straighten the non working leg (see pic) and do 15 reps before switching legs, advanced do with straight legs and lift your head and shoulders off the ground. Hold that position while you do 20 reps each leg.
V-Sit – also called boat pose for you yogis. Sit up with your feet on the floor, knees bent. Lean back with a flat back until you feel your abs contract (they may even shake a little!), hold this. Beginners will hold for 30 sec., intermediate will lift your feet off the floor (see pic) with knees bent and hold for 45 sec., advanced will straighten your legs and hold in a “V” for 1 min.!
Lying Double Leg Lift – lying on your side, both legs together and stacked, lift them as if they were glued together about 2 inches or a little more off the floor (higher is not better!) Beginners do 10 reps per side, intermediate 15 reps and advanced 20 reps.
I hope the cutting back on carbs has been working, here’s another little tip for you. Water really does help you have flatter abs, for many reasons. Water helps to flush any excess waste from your system that can cause bloating in the stomach area, it also helps the body metabolize or break down fat and flush it out of your system. It also helps rid the body of excess sodium which really causes a lot of stomach pooching. Here’s a trick to try the next time you just had a big Chinese meal or just feel really bloated. Try drinking lemon water all day and see how fast you flush out that extra salt! Lemon water is a natural, mild diuretic so it helps you urinate more frequently, and the fluid helps to flush out the salt, and you can say bye bye bloat! Until next week, good luck and have fun!!!