Let’s be honest: Everyone wants flat, sexy abs, but it’s easier said than done, right? While roughly 90 percent of sculpting flat abs has to do with your diet – eating the proper foods to slim your middle – the other 10 percent has to do with fitness. So once you have your diet on track you can shift you focus to manipulating your abs with exercise, which is way more fun in our opinion.
In this week’s Saturday Morning Drill we’re focusing on just that: Amazing abs. The workout is comprised of seven simple moves that will not only get your heart rate up but sculpt every ab muscle you have (even the ones you didn’t realize you had). All you need is a yoga mat or a soft floor surface – you don’t even need shoes or equipment! Going through the workout once will serve you well, but try completing it several times for even more of a challenge.
If you’re a fitness enthusiast of any degree, chances are you’ve found yourself elbows down, back straight, holding yourself up in a plank. Perhaps it was your personal trainer who put you there, a workout video that forced you to hold one for “just 60 more seconds” at the end of a difficult session, or you discovered their somewhat torturous nature on your own. Whatever the case you can be certain that you’ve been doing planks for good a reason: They actually work.
Planks are an extremely beneficial workout not only for your shoulders, front and back of thighs, chest, and back muscles running up and down your spine, but also your core. When your body weight is suspended, relying on your elbows and feet for support, your core muscles are forced to kick in and engage to hold you up. Try holding a plank for just 15 seconds and you’ll see what I mean. No matter how effective they may be, however, lest we branch out from the traditional plank we’re destined to get bored of the whole exercise altogether and travel back to a less-effective sit-up for a stronger core.
In this week’s Saturday Morning Drill we’re seeking to break you out of your plank comfort zone and guide you into more challenging variations, including a side plank that engages the oblique muscles and a knee drop that will have your abs screaming by the time you hit 20 reps. So get on your workout gear, pull up a yoga mat for elbow cushion and let’s get started!
April has hit us and what better time to focus on losing the dreaded Muffin top? Who doesn’t want to get ready to strut your stuff on the beach with confidence?
Here are a couple of my all time favorite exercises that target the obliques by working them against the resistance of your own body weight. Perform these exercises at least 3-4 times a week for best results, but remember you need to combine them with some cardio such as walking, jogging, swimming or cycling to help lose overall body fat.
Muffin Blaster – Side Planks
Start with your elbow bent on the floor with your shoulder and wrist inline with elbow. Your top leg is crossed in front with your hips facing forwards and the arm is extended resting on the hip.
Inhale as you drop the hips toward the floor then exhale and lift the hips back to the start position.
Reps: 1 x 15 reps on each side
Waist Shrinker – Side Twists
Start with your elbow bent on the floor with your shoulder and wrist inline with elbow. Your top leg is crossed in front with your hips facing forwards. The arm is extended overhead in line with the shoulder and the palm is facing forwards.
Exhale as you draw the abs in towards the spine, and reach the arm underneath your supporting arm as you rotate the torso and lift your hips towards the ceiling. Inhale and rotate the body and arm back to start position.
Tips: Rotate your body and lift your hips as high as you can and look under your arm.
Reps: 1 x 10 reps on each side.
Try Tracey’s lower-body workout with this video for Simple Chair Exercises.
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):
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…)