Abdominal Workout #1
Strength training and abdominal/core work are essential to an all around physically fit lifestyle. Here is a great abdominal workout that gives you a great burn, doesn’t take long, and along with a healthy diet and cardio, will give you those rock hard abs you’ve been dreaming of!
First I will introduce the four exercises this workout includes and how to execute them. At the end, I will tell you what workout sequence to follow and how often to do this workout.
The first core exercise I’m going to share is one of my favorites: The Plank. Its a great exercise because it hits all your major abdominal and core muscles and requires no equipment. To try this exercise set up just as I am in the picture below. Envision your body is rigid like a plank. Make sure not to stick your butt in the air. It should be pulled in as flat as possible, but also don’t let your stomach sag. Pull your stomach in towards your spine and hold in this position for 30 seconds. If you can’t make it the full 30 seconds, start with 10 or 15 and eventually work up to 30 seconds.
The next exercise puts more focus on our obliques, or side abs: The Side Plank. To perform the side plank support your upper body with your right forearm resting on the ground and your legs extended out, stacked on top of one another, as I’m doing in the picture above. Make sure not to stick your butt out behind you and to keep your belly button pulled in towards your spine. Your body should be in a straight, rigid line. You can place your left hand on your side, as I’m doing, or make it a little harder by laying your arm flat on your side. Hold for 30 seconds. Just like with the basic plank, if you can’t make 30 seconds, perform the exercise for as long as you can and increase the duration when you can until you have reached 30 seconds. Repeat on your left side.
Side Plank Raises
This next exercise, especially if done immediately after the original Side Plank, is far from easy. This is how you perform Side Plank Raises: Begin by rising up into the Side Plank position. Lift your hips off the floor until you have created a straight line with your body. Slowly lower your hips without allowing them to touch the ground and then rise back up and repeat for 15 repetitions. After completing one set, perform the movement on the opposite side. If you can’t make 15 repetitions, just do as many as you can, even if its only 2. Make it a goal to increase each day you do the workout. If you keep doing this workout, you’ll find yourself getting stronger every week, and you’ll get there!
The last exercise of this workout is called 100s. I still call this exercise 100s because that is how it was first introduced to me. It was taught to me many years ago during a Pilates class I was taking and is still one of my favorite core exercises of all time. The reason they called it 100s was because once you got into position, you would pulse your arms up and down quickly for 100 counts, holding the pose for that long. I’ve altered it to holding the pose for 30 seconds but still raise my arms up and down in quick, small pulses out of habit. Here is how to execute 100s. Simply position yourself in the position I have taken in the picture below. Imagine your body is in a V-shape. Raise your legs to about a 45 degree angle, keep them straight all the way through your toes, and then raise your upper body up as far as you can. Some of you may be able to raise up much further than I can as I am not very flexible. As your core gets stronger, you may find that you can raise your upper body further. Raise your arms along your side to about hip level. You may pulse them up and down if you choose or just hold them in place. Hold position for 30 seconds.
This workout should be performed three days a week with three sets of each exercise on each of those three days. Here is what your workout should look like:
1. Plank for 30 seconds
2. Rest 30 seconds
3. Side Plank on right side for 30 seconds
4. Without resting go straight into Side Plank Raises on your right side, trying to get 15 repetitions
5. Rest 30 seconds
6. Side Plank on left side for 30 seconds
7. Without resting go straight into Side Plank Raises on your left side, trying to get 15 repetitions
8. Rest 30 seconds
9. 100s Pose for 30 seconds
10. Rest 30 seconds
11. Repeat entire sequence two more times so you have done three sets of each exercise.
Remember, if you can’t hold the exercises for an entire 30 seconds or get all 15 repetitions of the Side Plank Raises, make it a goal to increase every time you do this workout or try to go up a little every week. Incorporating this routine, trying to make lower calorie meals, and working in plenty of cardio will help you drop those pounds and be where you want to be in no time!