When I first start working with a client, they often say one of a few things – “I hate doing sit ups,” “My back hurts when I do abs,” & “How many sit ups before I start to see a six pack?” We will address the last one in a later post & If your back hurts while doing anything ab related, you are most definitely NOT using your ab. So today we will focus on the simple crunch often mistaken for the sit up.
As with all core exercises, be sure to draw your navel to the floor and continue to engage even while inhaling (on the release) and exhaling (on the crunch). Make the movement subtle, you don’t need to lift your entire torso off the ground for a crunch. Another common issue is neck pain during a crunch. If this is the case, you are probably engaging your neck muscles instead of your core. I have clients put their hands behind their heads and open their elbows wide to support their neck, and ensure their neck is aligned with their spine. Thinking “up” not “forward” can also help take the strain off your neck.
Once this is comfortable, reach your hands to the sky to progress the exercise. It seems simple, but a not so fancy crunch is one of the best ways to really feel your abs work.
Day 2 of All About Abs April! Here’s a simple exercise to help build your lower abs and stabilize your core strength. Raise your straight legs off the floor and up to 90 degrees, then lower down to just above the floor. if your back is lifting when you lower your legs, regress the exercises by bending your knees or placing your hands under your tushy (yes I have children). Aim for 20 reps with 2 to 3 sets. As always, draw in your belly and think about pulling your navel to the ground. Inhale as you lower and exhale as you lift. Happy lifting!
I love working on my abs – but I didn’t always. It took many years for me to realize that if my abs and core were not strong and stable, then nothing else in my body was either. So, I’m taking a whole month to teach you how to train your abs correctly. There will be videos, tutorials, articles and even a pole focus each week for my poler bears.
To start us out: a deceptively easy lower ab exercise that forces you to engage your lower and upper abs and your pelvic floor muscles. Lay flat on your back, legs in a 90 degree angle off the floor and draw your belly to the floor. This is what we call “engagement.” Some people also like to think of it as “zipping up”, or “pulling in” if that helps with the visualization. Start with single leg taps, and move on to both legs once this is no longer difficult.
My friend posted this on Facebook and it really spoke to me. Anyone, any size, any shape can be fit and athletic. And can also kick ass!
Take a moment to remember what today means to you, and how you can make a difference in the world.