Thursday, April 18, 2013

Back to Basics: Abs


Get ready for another Back to Basics installment, sure to be a favorite: Abs! We love to try out all the newest "fad" workouts like Cardio Barre, TRX, Crossfit, etc... but a great workout doesn't have to be complicated OR expensive. If you master these simple workouts and keep them in your back pocket, you can get a fantastic sweat no matter where you are or how empty your wallet is.

Oh that tummy, that dreaded midsection that haunts your bikini dreams.  A lady's core can be the bane of her existence.  Not to mention it often is a fat storage center (along with those great thighs) and it has the nerve to get all messed up when housing a small human during pregnancy... rude.  So, where is that flat tummy that you used to have in your younger crop-top rockin' days? Oh it's in there, we just gotta get that blub off and let those muscles shine their way through that tight skin!

So, what to do?  Forget stressing over not getting to the gym enough to use those crazy ab machines and just bring it back to basics. First things first, you better hope that belly button is glued to your spine all the day long! Get that transverse abdominis in it to win it.  Remember, your posture is at the core of your problems, so get it together! You gotta sit up straight, chest out, shoulders back and tummy tight!  All day ENGAGE THAT CORE!

Once you train your hot body to do that little trick, not only will you be sitting pretty, but you will also be working those muscles all the day long.  Every time you turn to grab something, make sure those abs are in and feel those internal and external obliques start to participate in daily functional activities.  Doesn't it feel great?! Oh yeah it does!

Now, let's get serious with our tummy tightening workout and again, just keep it simple: the standard crunch.  With feet on the ground, knees bent, hands supporting the neck and elbows out to the side, pretend there is a grapefruit under your chin which therefore keeps your chin off your chest.  No looking down, only looking up up UP!  Attach an imaginary rope from your chin to the ceiling and feel it pulling your chest UP to the ceiling. Engage that core, squeeze nice and tight and move up and down doing you best to keep those shoulder blades off the ground the entire set.  Set a goal for yourself and try to get there.  Think you can do 25 solid crunches, do it.  Want to make it 50? Go for it.  Just push yourself through, keeping your form in check, and you guessed it - CORE ENGAGED! 

Back to Basics: Abs

Back to Basics: Abs

Now for the fun part, the lower abs. Because the rectus abdominis runs all the way down the center of your midsection (which can make or break that six pack you dream of) you don't want to neglect that lower half which only means one thing if paired with poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle... the dreaded "muffin top".  So, get out of the bakery and into Sports Illustrated! Let's get this leg lift party started.

I won't pretend these are easy, but once you get them down and start building that strength, they are the best.  Get into position by making a diamond with your hands and place that diamond under your tailbone.  Keep that upper body glued to the ground and lift legs into the air and really try to keep the straight.  Take a nice inhale and then as you lower those STRAIGHT legs down exhale that breath.  Hold about one to two inches above the ground and bring back up to the air and into start position.  Repeat.  Focus on the exhale during exertion, so when the legs go down the breath goes out. Now, same as with those crunches, set a goal and do your best to meet it.  You can do it, I know you can.

Back to Basics: Abs

Back to Basics: Abs

Thought you were done? Oh not yet, we are going to push it just a bit farther and really feel it.  From a sitting position, place hands slightly behind you with your fingertips facing heels.  Now extend straight legs out while leaning back... feel that? Yikes.  Now bring legs back in while sitting up.  Those knees are glued together and you lean back then up, back then up.  Yes it burns, that is the point... POWER THROUGH IT!

Back to Basics: Abs

Back to Basics: Abs

These three basic exercises paired with an activated core throughout your day is really going to get things moving in the right tight direction.

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