Confession time. Lately I’ve been a bit more lax in my workouts.
Hmmmmm, OK it’s been a bit more than a bit.
More like a lot. To be very honest, if it wasn’t for the fact that I had to teach four classes this week, I wouldn’t have worked out at all.
Like most of you, when I get busy, taking care of myself and my own personal health takes a backseat to all the things I need to do, even though as a health professional I should know better. I know that if I don’t take care of myself first that I can’t do for others. So in the interest of getting myself and my personal training clients back on track after Thanksgiving, I decided to start a little ab challenge. For the next month, we will be doing 8 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 everyone, the more the merrier! (or is it misery loves company! lol) So here’s this week’s workout!
Flat Ab Project Workout
The first week are fairly basic exercises but we’ll be building on it from here. You can do these with the recommended reps and sets, or if you want to spice it up, try it as a Tabata.
1. Plie Side Crunches (cardio & lateral)
Legs wide and toes turned out, sink down in a plie and hold. Hands behind your head, bend to the side, elbow reaching towards your thigh. Then do the same to the other side, moving quickly as you can. Beginners 20 sec., Intermediate, 30 sec., Advanced 45 sec.
2. 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
3. Alternating Roundhouse Kicks (cardio & lateral)
In a standing position kick to the side as high as you comfortably can. Alternate side quickly for 20 sec. for beginners, 30 sec. for intermediate, 45 sec. for advanced
4. Elbow 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!
5. 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
6. Side Plank (lateral)
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!
7. 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
8. Lying Twist (rotational)
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
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 a little extra cardio.
You can see results from my experience without changing your diet, but to get the best results, cut back on carbohydrates! Those excess carbs sit right around your middle, causing beer bellies and muffin tops…that’s why they’re named after carbs!! Carbs after 4pm are the 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. And 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!
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