We all know those gym-goers that bounce into the gym, bright-eyed and energetic, excited to start their workout. And then there is you: the person that wants to slap the grin off their face and the six pack off their abs.
Not everyone loves to workout, but everyone needs to workout, so I’m not going to waste my energy trying to use the benefits of exercise as motivation for you. Your body doesn’t know if you loved your workout, it just knows if you did it or not.
Lazy folks usually hate exercise for 2 reasons: the physical exertion of it all and the time it takes up. These aren’t an excuse anymore. While the definition of exercise is making your body do work, you can make the work less obvious, and that it-just-takes-too-long excuse doesn’t fly when you- get this bomb I’m about to drop on you- speed it up.
Here are 5 exercises that even the most blase about fitness can do in 30 minutes or less.
The following ten minute ab workout is designed to target your all your core muscles while firming and toning your entire midsection. Each exercise targets a little bit different part of the core and by adding them all together, you get an amazing, complete- and quick- ab workout.
Ten Minute Ab Workout (video examples of each exercise appears below):
- Crunch with arms across chest (1 minute): While lying on your back, bend your knees and place your arms across your chest. Crunch forward slightly raising shoulder blades off the ground while releasing your back to the ground. Keep your chin pointed up towards the ceiling to avoid neck pain.
- Crunch with arms across chest and feet up (1 minute): While lying on your back, bend your knees and raise feet perpendicular to the ground. Crunch forward slightly raising shoulder blades off the ground keeping your chin up.
- Bicycle crunches (1 minute): While lying on you back, bring one knee in towards your chest while taking opposite elbow towards your knee. Repeat while switching knees and elbows.
Similar to the isometric plank, the isometric side plank, or side bridge, is an amazing exercise that engages the entire core region. Although it does engage the entire core, it isolates, or targets, the internal and external obliques. The obliques are located on the lateral (side) and anterior (front) parts of the abdomen and are used to flex and rotate the vertebral column, as well as compress the abdominal cavity by pulling the chest downwards.
The side plank/side bridge has multiple variations to help isolate a little different part of your core, depending on which variation you choose to use. The shoulder, or deltoid, also plays an important role in this exercise because it holds up the brunt of your body weight, so if you do have a shoulder injury or experience pain during the exercise, please refrain from doing this movement and proceed to do other core exercises to help target the obliques. (more…)
Body weight exercises are an effective and inexpensive way of working out. By using only the resistance of your own body, you can gain strength, endurance and inner peace. Body weight exercises are great because you can get an effective workout anytime, any place, with no equipment. Walking, swimming, dancing and yoga are all considered body weight exercises. While I encourage you to explore those, here are a couple specific body weight exercises to try out:
The Superman Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs outstretched, with a neutral spine so your elbows are by ears. Contracting your lower back, gently lift your arms and legs off the ground, hold for a few breaths, and slowly release them back to the floor. Repeat. This exercise works your lower back and core. (more…)
The plank exercise is one of the most effective core exercises in today’s fitness world. ACE (American Council on Exercise) ranked the plank as one of the top ten exercises for the body, stating that it is a great tool to build core and low back endurance, while it also improves the ability of the stabilizer muscles.
The plank can be modified to accommodate all fitness levels or be modified if you are experiencing any pain.
The plank exercise can also be used as a testing mechanism. You can assess your core strength and progress by maintaining the exercise for as long as you can and then retest on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis to keep you motivated and give you something to train for. (more…)
What is the difference between isometric core exercises and crunches? First off, isometric (iso meaning same, and metric meaning distance) exercises are those in which the joint angle or muscle length do not change during the movement, or, in other words, the body is held in a non-moving or stable position to help isolate the targeted muscle group. This type of movement is great for improving muscular strength and endurance without placing too much stress on the body.
Crunches are great for core strength and endurance, as well, and isolates the abdominals extremely well, but places unnecessary stress on the neck and back. For most, this is no big deal, and the body can handle the stress, but for some with injuries or general weakness, those movement can cause pain, and even injury. (more…)