Fitness tip – abs

Rise and grind blogosphere! In recent days, I have had quite a few friends come to me and ask me for my gym routine. I do go to the gym six days a week, and I run on my day off (Saturday) because the Hunky Engineer makes me despite all my complaints. If there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I hate running distances.

However, even though I LOATHE running, I have seen significant results in my body. And, apparently, so have my friends! So, today, I will share with you my abdominal workout.

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Now, I do not have many pictures to share with you as I do abs alone in the gym. The Hunky Engineer is typically too busy with his HIIT to do abs with me (LAME!). So, you will have to bear with me as I explain everything that I do. I will try to add photos later.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing to do before any workout is stretch. But, how do you stretch out abs you ask? Easy. There are two simple stretches I do to prepare for my ab workout.

I begin by lying on my back on a yoga mat (I do not recommend doing this routine on a hard surface, you will bruise your back). I point my toes, stretch my arms over my head, and reach. You should feel this stretch in your abs and the whole rest of your body too. It is a great beginning to every workout, in my opinion.

The second stretch is an upward-facing dog pose. You lie on your stomach, put your hands under your shoulders, and push up. To intensify the stretch, tilt your head back like you are trying to look behind you.

So far, so good, right?

Now, here is where the fun stuff starts. I repeat my ab routine three times, but you can modify as needed if you are just starting out.

I begin with a 1-minute plank. I used to do a straight arm plank, but now that I have pain in my left wrist, I plank on my elbows. The most important part of doing a correct plank is keeping your butt down so that your back is as straight as possible. Your whole core should feel this exercise, which is why it is the perfect starting point to warm up. If you cannot hold for 1-minute, do 30 seconds. It is better to get the form right first before trying to push yourself for time.

After my plank, I rest for a bit. Typically, I lie on my back to keep my abs stretched, but you can rest however you so choose. Just do not fall asleep!

This is the only other part of my abs routine: “dance abs.” I have called them “dance abs” my whole life because I learned them in a dance class. They are pretty simple, but they are killer. Here are the steps:

  1. Pick a song with a consistent beat. It can be whichever pace you think you can keep up with. My personal favorite is Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado.
  2. Make sure you have space! I lie on my yoga mat, but there are different leg variations so you need to make sure you will not be kicking anything.
  3. Start! You will do an 8-count of different crunch variations for an entire song. That is where the burn kicks in. Do not stop and try not to change pace.

Here are the few variations I do:

  • Normal crunches (feet flat on the ground)
  • 1-leg crunches (left leg in the air for an 8-count, right leg in the air for an 8-count)
  • Cross-leg crunches (ankles crossed in the air)
  • Toe touches (lift your legs up straight and reach for your toes)
  • Straight leg crunches (lie flat with your legs straight out, targets your lower abs)
  • Butterfly crunches (put your legs in butterfly position, targets your lower abs)
  • Flutter kicks (put your hands under your lower back, your feet out, and flutter your feet)
  • Russian twists (sit in a V formation on your butt and reach side to side, can also do with a medicine ball)

There are some other types I throw in here and there depending on how I am feeling that day.

And that is it! Repeat 3x with three different songs (or the same one, I do not judge) and you are done with your abs for the day!

Do you have any fave abdominal exercises? If so, let me know! I am also always here for advice, so feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

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