Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Swim Suit Ready Series: The Ab Workout

     Happy day after the 4th of July everyone! I sincerely hope you all were able to celebrate heartily and enjoy some awesome fireworks! I had an all-American BBQ dinner topped off with some Apple Pie, lit some sparklers with my family and watched the Capitol 4th celebration on TV (we watched some awesome fireworks provided by the town my parents live in on Sunday so that all the visitors could see the show instead of missing it on the actual 4th while driving home). It was awesome and I truely feel blessed to live in this great country. Even with all it's problems, it's still a great country and I LOVE the patriotism displayed on the 4th!
     I've had some time on my hands today and I finished up the last 3 workouts for the Swim Suit Ready Series and I'm so excited to share them all with you! After these next 3 posts you'll be ready to start the Swim Suit Ready Workout Routine (I've put together a weekly schedule to follow, feel free to modify yours as you see fit) and I've got a new challenge for you as well! More on those later. For now, we're going to focus on the ab workout! Now, before we get into that I feel I should remind you all that the strongest abs in the world will not show through the layers of fat that we tend to store so be sure to eat healthy to promote weight loss and to cut down on bloating, and keep up with your cardio routines to blast that fat away and make sure your beautiful abs show through! On to the workout!
     You're going to start off in the plank position, up on your hands and toes, and you're going to start with mountain climbers. You'll pull your right knee in towards your chest and then extend your leg back into plank position. Repeat on the left side. Do this for a total of 10 reps (5 on each side) and then hold plank position for 10 seconds. You'll do 3 sets with little to no rest in between (don't rest on your knees unless you can't go on without a rest).
     The next exercise is called a Russian Twist. Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat, and arms extended out in front of you, palms pressed together. Lean back slightly so that your abs are engaged. Maintain a straight back. Twist your upper body so that your extended arms will point all the way to your right. Come back to center and then twist to the left, and then to center. This is one rep. You'll do 10 reps. After the Russian Twist you'll lie straight down on your back to do leg drops. Start with both feet extended straight up into the air and slowly let your legs lower straight to the floor. Go down as far as you can while keeping your lower back pressed to the floor and then raise them back up. You'll do 10 leg drops. Your goal should be to be able to go lower as time goes on and your abs strengthen. Alternate doing a set of Russian Twists and the Leg Drops until you've done 3 sets of each. Do these 2 exercises with littler to no rest in between.
     These last exercises have been around for a long time and as much as you may not like them, they still work and you'll have to suck it up and cranck out a few crunches to reall finish things off. ;) You'll start off with normal crunches. You'll do 8 slow crunches (2 counts up, 2 counts down), 8 fast crunches (1 count up, 1 count down), 8 more slow, and 8 pulses. After the crunches you'll do a reverse crunch. Lay back on the floor as if you're going to do more crunches. Instead of lifting your upper body, you're going to draw your knees toward your chest (but not all the way into your chest) and then lift your lower body off the floor (basically you tuck your pelvis so that your lower back comes off the floor slightly, you'll feel the burn in your very lower abs). You'll do 8 slow (2 counts up, 2 counts down), 8 fast (1 count up, 1 count down), 8 slow, and 8 pulses. Alternate between the crunch and the reverse crunch for a total of 3 sets. You should be taking little to no rest in between these 2 exercises.
     And there it is! If you notice, there are 3 sets of 2 different exercises you're alternating between. You may take rest or even stretch for a minute between those sets but I will encourage you to try not to take any rest at all between the 2 exercises within that set. With these 6 exercises you're working all parts of your abs so it's very important that you don't skip a particular exercise becuase you don't like it. For well-toned abs you need to strengthen all parts of your abs. Well-toned abs will also decrease any lower back pain you may be having so if the thought of a six pack isn't enough, think of your pain-free lower back to motivate you to finish the workout and do it regularly!

As always, the condensed version:
The Ab Workout:
Mountain Climbers - 10 reps
Plank - 10 seconds
 - repeat for a total of 3 sets -
Russian Twist - 10 reps (right, center, left, center is 1 rep)
Leg Drops - 10 reps
 - repeat for a total of 3 sets -
Crunches - 8 slow, 8 fast, 8 slow, 8 pulse
Reverse Crunches - 8 slow, 8 fast, 8 slow, 8 pulse
 - repeat for a total of 3 sets -

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