The Flat Abs Project Week #2

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).

Workout

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!!!

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The Flat Abs Project

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

Workout:

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!