Get into a push-up position (also known as ‘plank’ in yoga), making sure your shoulders are over your hands. Working through your body, feel your hands strong against the ground, your arms pulling up out of your hands, elbows slightly bent, shoulders pulling up out of your arms lifting your chest. Head is up, neck extended. Belly is pulled in toward your spine. This is important! Keep your belly pulled in toward your spine! This makes sure you are using your core muscles to support the position rather than your lower back muscles. Glutes (butt) are tucked under, legs are strong, and your feet are flexed with your heels extending toward the wall. This in itself is an excellent workout. To add in the ‘climbers’, alternate bringing your right and left knee to your chest while maintaining the position we just went through. Many people say to touch your foot to the ground when you bring the knee in to the chest; I actually don’t like this method because it causes the body to bounce up and down rather than holding a strong core. Instead, do not bring your front foot to the ground and simply pull your knee up into your chest as far as you can.
Have your goal be 3-5 sets of 30 second rounds (with about 30 mountain climbers in that amount of time (NOTE: 1 on each side = 1)) with a 30 second rest period in between (this is a great time to work on those squats!). That said, do a trial round first to determine where your starting point is; if you can get through 20 seconds, or 20 mountain climbers, before you begin to break your position, great, this is where your starting point. Then each week try to increase the number and/or time.
How To – Super Bicycle CrunchesTo make these bicycle crunches ‘super’, we’re going to add a weight (a medicine ball would be perfect here but really you can use any type of weight, even something as simple as a can of beans).
Level I -- Get yourself into a sit up position while holding the weight to your chest. While keeping your feet on the ground and your knees pressed together, lean back slightly while keeping your belly pulled in toward your spine. Again, this is important! Keep your belly pulled in toward your spine. And now twist, side to side. The farther your twist, and the father back you lean, the more of a workout you are going to get.Level II – Lay flat on your back holding a medicine ball to your chest. Extend your legs keeping all the muscles engaged while keeping your belly pulled in toward your spine (important!) and your neck relaxed and lengthened. Maintain this position as lift your legs off the ground. Now you are going to bicycle your legs (alternating bringing your right and left knee in to your chest) and twist your upper body (twist left toward left knee and right toward right knee).
Level III – This combines Level I and Level II. Start in the Level I position but this time instead of keeping your feet on the ground as you twist, you are going to bicycle your legs as you do in Level II.
Again, have your goal be 3-5 sets of 30 second rounds (with about 30 mountain climbers in that amount of time (NOTE: 1 on each side = 1)) with a 30 second rest period in between. And this time, jog in place for that 30 second break.
Do this every day, or even every other day, and you’ll be developing a hot, hot, mid-section!Cheers to great abs to all of us this summer!