Sunday, July 26, 2009

Guest Post: DIY Abs

Mary @ Fit This, Girl!

DIY Ab-vocate

On the island of misfit exercise machines, there live some pretty classic contraptions. The ab-lounger, the ab-do-er, the ab-roller, all of whose marketing show trim-waisted, happy users. They are rocking back and forth with ease, smiling and telling us with unbroken enthusiasm how great that machine is. It's convincing! I have fallen for it myself, I admit, not an ab machine, but I owned a Tony Little Gazelle that doubled as a great coat rack. It's the promise of the easy way out, the quick fix, the red pill or the blue pill, both with a guarantee for results or your money back. But these are not quick fixes! Believe it or not, (and you are all smart girls, so I know you'll believe it) the best way to get a core workout is, DIY, doing it yourself!! The great thing about ab workouts is you can do them everyday with little to no rest days! But that also means that as the pounds fall off or you get more and more toned, the strong core underneath will peak its head out of hibernation and soon, we will all be DIY ab-vocates! Here are some of my favorite core exercises:

The Russian twist:

I know, it sounds like a drink! Abs first and happy hour second gals! This is one of my favorite exercises that I learned from being a Minnesota RollerGirl. You sit on the floor reclining slightly with your legs at a 45-degree angle, feet on the floor in front of you. To make it uber effective, perform these holding a medicine ball (or roller skates or any weighted object you have) and twist at the waist in a controlled movement from side to side. A few variations on this: lift your feet off the ground by 2 inches and balance on your tailbone as you twist. When you twist to one side, extend your arms holding the weighted object and then retract, twist to the other side and repeat.


Bicycle crunches:

These are a FAVORITE of mine! Probably because I love biking, but also because I love bikes. Lay on your back with your legs up, knee's bent at a 90-degree angle and hands clasped behind your head. As you crunch up twist to one side and bring the opposite knee in to touch your elbow. Pause for a second or two here to clench the hold! Your other leg should extend out at a 45-degree angle or straight down to about 2-3 inches off the floor. Twist to the other side the same way. Twist, repeat, twist, and repeat. Ok, now that sounds like a cocktail.


Vertical leg crunch:

These are only in my faves because they work so nicely to sculpt the upper abs and afterwards you kinda feel like you could take a blow to the stomach from Rocky and not flinch…well not till later. Lay on the ground with your feet and legs straight up in the air. Then you crunch up toward the ceiling, not forward toward your thighs. You can do this with your hands pointed up as if you were trying to touch your toes or you can hold a weight in your hands and bring the weight up to your feet. I suggest crunching up and then inserting 3-4 little pulses before bringing it all the way back down.

(oooops, not photo for this one!)

Plank and Side plank:

Plank looks like an easy enough exercise and granted at times I used to wonder: how is that even working their abs? Till I did it! You want to lay on the ground and then prop your body up with your elbows and on your toes. Be sure that your elbows are directly under your shoulders and this is one time when we DO want to be flat! Make sure your booty isn't sticking up in the air, this isn't downward dog.

Hold for 60 seconds or build up the time by doing a few in a row. For a side plank you roll over onto one side, one elbow still propped under your shoulder and extend the other arm into the air for balance. Your feet should be resting one on top of the other. Be lifting your hips off the ground as much as you can to work the obliques. You should be forming a triangle! For a challenge take the arm in the air and slowly rotate it around to the opposite side waist and then back up. Also for a challenge take your top foot and lift it into the air and hold.


These are the core exercises that I love! So next time your sitting on your couch watching an infomercial filled with empty promises, remember that you can work your own abs just as hard if not harder, with out breaking that credit card out of it's ice cube in the freezer!

As a freelance writer and fitness lover, I am up for anything that comes my way, be it writers block or runners high. Coaxing beauty and humor from my everyday experiences and sharing it with you is what this is all about! For more of my writing visit!

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misssarahlou said...

Great post - I will be giving a few of these a try!

Mary Sailors said...

Thanks for reading!! Hope you like Fit this girl!!