Monday, August 20, 2012

Wonderful World of Knees -- get ready for awesome abs!

Ah…the ‘wonderful world of knees’…oh how I love them!  Rising knees, side knees, roundhouse knees…all of them are such a good whole body workout.  Not only do you get to work your core muscles (abdominal, obliques, and internal) but you also work your legs as you balance and support your structure and your arms as you pull down into the standing crunch. 

I’m going to take you through 2 of the knee exercises, the rising knee and the side knee.  I recommend adding these in to your workout routine (or just your daily activities) as least 2 times a week.  I like to start with 4-8 slow so that you can really make sure your positioning is correct and hone in on your stabilizing muscles.  Then, go into an “endurance round” or a “repetition round”. 
The “endurance round” constitutes doing 4-8 slow, followed by 30-50 fast (‘double time’).  Repeat on the other side, then move on to the next type of knee exercise in the same format.
For the “repetition round” you will start with 4 slow, followed by 10-15 fast, left side, then right side.  Then, move on to the next type of knee exercise in the same format.  Now, repeat the whole sequence 2-4 more times.
Both the “endurance round” and the “repetition round” are beneficial so experiment, do which one you like the most or alternate to keep it interesting.  Ready?  Here we go! 

Rising Knees
Step back with your right foot, bringing your weight onto your left leg.  For a gentler workout, keep your feet close together.  For a more vigorous workout, extend your leg far behind you, dropping your left leg into a half-lunge position.  As always, pull your belly in towards your spine to support your back.  Lift your chest up and open, keeping your shoulders down and your neck relaxed.  Feel the strength in your standing leg while making sure your knee over the foot (make sure your knee does not go past your toes or tilt to the inside or outside!).  Extend your back leg, flexing your glutes (bootie muscles), pulling your thighs in, and extending through your heel.  Lean slightly forward (keeping your belly in) while lifting your arms up in front of you.  Try to hit this active position each time you come down from doing a rising knee.  Now you are ready to do the crunch part.  Keeping your shoulders, chest, core, and standing leg in this position, rise your right knee up as high as you can into your belly while pulling your arms down into your knee (pull the arms, don’t just drop the arms), making sure to really crunch your core.  Return to your starting position.  Congrats!  That’s your first one!  Now repeat!

Side Knees
Put your weight onto your left leg, extending your right leg to the side.  Same as before, for a more gentle workout keep your feet closer together, for a more vigorous workout, extend the leg as far as you can to the side (keeping your weight on the left leg).  Put your left hand on your hip, and extend your right on up to the side.  Belly in, chest up and open, shoulders down, neck relaxed.  This is your starting position; try to come back to this position each time after your side knees.  Now you’re ready for your side knee crunch.  Pull down with your right hand (as though you are pulling down a weight from the ceiling) as you bring your right knee up to the side as high as you can.  Slightly crunch over, really feeling your side obliques flex.  Return to your starting position and repeat.

Woohoo!  You have made it through 2/3 of my “wonderful world of knees” tour!  Stay tuned for my video which includes all 3 of them…it should be coming soon.  Until then, have fun seeing your core become strong and defined.  Have fun and just keep going!

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