So, many of you know that back in the fall, I earnestly started incorporating regular exercise into my routine. And it hasn't been easy. I hate exercising. I've pretty much always hated exercising. But you know what I hate more? My flabby stomach and arms. I don't need a six pack, believe me, but I wouldn't mind being more toned and seeing some definition in my arms. Sooooo, I enlisted my friend Julie VerHage, who's a certified personal trainer to help whip me into shape. And guess what? I actually see results! Not only that, she's made me kind of, sort of, a teeny bit begin to enjoy the process. So she's agreed to help you all out by offering her top 5 ab exercises that anyone can do. Literally. I mean, if I can, then trust me, you can, too! Here you go. You're welcome. (Oh, and btw, you should follow her on Instagram
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Core strength, no matter who I am training, is something I keep the majority of my focus on. No matter what your daily tasks look like, your core is central to everything that you do. From sitting at a desk to cleaning your apartment or running after your kids after school, you need your abs!
Having a strong core will help you perform other exercises properly and alleviate low back pain that roughly 8 in every 10 Americans suffers from. Sadly, core strength is something many people lack. But have no fear, it’s never to late to start, and devoting even just 10-20 minutes a day to exercises like the ones below will get you on the right track.
On top of the normal plank, side planks are a great way to work your obliques, or the sides of your abs. Just like when you do a regular plank, make sure to keep your core engaged, don’t let your hips dip towards the ground and ensure your elbow is directly under your shoulder to avoid neck and shoulder pain. If this is too difficult, you can always drop to your knee. Start out by doing 2 to 3 sets of 30 seconds on each side, and move on up from there. Jessica, for example, started out at 3 sets of 30 seconds in September and is now up to 4 sets of 60 seconds! #Goals
If you’re looking for a way to take your plank game to the next level, this is a great option. Set yourself up in a regular plank, and then proceed to tap your hand to your opposite shoulder. Set your hand back down and then do the same thing with the opposite hand. Make sure you don’t let your hips move side to side too much on this move. If you need to make it easier, put your feet wider apart to create more balance. Rather than timing, I like to have clients do 2 to 3 sets of 10 taps (5 on each shoulder).
Lay flat on the ground and then sit up and bring your knees in towards your chest to get ready for this move. Once you’re there, straighten your legs back out and let your upper body go back towards the mat and your arms out towards your side, but stop short of going all of the way down. You should feel only your lower back touch the mat. Then bring yourself back up, hugging your knees into your chest. If it is too difficult to keep your arms up, put your palms on the floor and bring your knees in towards your chest and then back out again. Try starting at 2 to 3 sets of 10 and go up from there.
Planks on crack. There are two variations of mountain climbers that I love, and each of them are sure to get your heart rate up in no time! The first starts in a plank position, and then you bring your right leg in towards your right shoulder, then bring it back out before bringing your left leg quickly in towards your left shoulder. I like to have clients repeat this move without stopping for 30 seconds, 3 or 4 times through. The second variation is very similar, but will engage your obliques a bit more. In this one you will bring your leg across to the opposite side of your body, rather than right to right and left to left in the first variation. This one goes back to timing, and I usually have people start at 2 to 3 sets of 30 seconds. Don’t expect to have this timing increase rapidly like the planks, however. I never have anyone do this move for more than 30-45 seconds, since that’s when form tends to start suffering.
I recommend doing 2 to 3 of these exercises, 3 times through, a few times a week starting out, and then adding on from there. If you want personalized coaching and more in depth plans tailored just for you, check out my website and book me for anything from one-on-one sessions to personalized training plans delivered right to your inbox!
In good health,