It’s the Heavy Holidays, so our middle is on our minds!
Everyone asks about abdominal toning moves, and between Thanksgiving and January 30, I get the most questions about great moves for this area.
Here is one that I love, because you can change it to 3 different levels, from modified to advanced, to athlete.
I will explain the “athlete” or level 3 as pictured here, and then explain how to modify it.
Athlete (Level 3, pictured): Lay on the floor with one weight the size of what you would use to challenge yourself with 15 bicep curls. I usually use 10–15 pounds.
Hold the fat ends of the weight in each palm and lay on your back.
Extend our arms and legs long — this is set position.
To crunch, lift the weight with your arms straight, like a lat pull-over, while you bend your legs into your chest. LIFT THE SHOULDERS off the mat as you reach your hands toward your shoelaces. You will be crunched in as tight as you can, with your gaze on the ceiling to keep the neck in line with the spine.
Crunch Ab Exercise
Return to set position WITHOUT resting legs on the floor, let them hover about 3 inches from the floor for each rep.
Do as many of these as you can while keeping your lower back pressed into the floor. Remember the number you can do in the first set and take a break while completing some of your usual workout moves or cardio. Return and try to do close to the same number again. Break and repeat for a 3rd set. You will likely be able to do more the first time and work down as your abs fatigue.
Beginner (Level 1) — do not use a weight. Extend arms overhead and straighten legs up to the ceiling instead 90 degrees from the floor, feet over hips (set position). Reach your straight arms up to ceiling and down towards your shoelaces as described above while bending the knees into the chest and lifting the shoulders off the mat. Return to set (feet to ceiling).
Advanced (Level 2) — follow the athlete instructions, but use a 5–8 pound weight and set position for your straight legs is a 45 degree angle between the ceiling and the floor, or about 2 feet off the floor.
Don’t forget that half the battle is 3 days of cardio per week and every day following a diet of lots of water, and 5–6 small meals of lean protein like fish and chicken, whole wheat carbs (yes, even pasta), natural fruit and veggies, and calcium from sources like skim milk and yogurt. Include nuts like almonds and walnuts and always plan ahead to keep your tank 1/4 full. When you are running on empty is when you make poor food choices.
Fitness, Fit it in.