What do you do to firm your abs? Crunches, exercise ball, pilates, yoga?
Join in the conversation. Lend some support. Get some support. Just do something! Let's firm our abs.
You may have looked at this thread before and realized that you have come to a great place to get great advice for ab work due to Stef who is an absolute
about sharing her expert knowledge. I am going to attempt to copy some of her great posts at the beginning of a new thread for us.
ABS ACCORDING TO STEF
"The very best way to work on your abs is to do the straight cruncehs that every vid includes as a starter exercise:
1. Lie down on your back, knees bent, feet flat to the floor. Hip width apart.
2. Raise your head and shoulders about an inch off the floor. This is your start and stop position. Start and finish each move here - do not allow your head and shoulders to touch the floor until you have completed your required number of crunches.
3. Arm positions: arms in front hands run up and down the thighs, or arms crossed over the chest, or fingers at temples with elbows wide. Resist the temptation to hold your head as this can cause bad posture.
4. Keep your chin up, imagine you have a large orange tucked under it.
5. Now slowly raise and lower your head and shoulders. You should aim to feel your bra strap just about leave the floor!
6. Raise for a count of 1, lower for a count of one. Repeat x 12
7. raise for a count of 2, lower for a count of 2. Repeat x 6
8. Raise for count of 3, lower count of 1. Repeat x 6
9. Raise count of 4, lower count of 4. Repeat x 4
Build up to these reps, it is quite hard to do at first. Then you should always stretch. When you get these good do steps 6 thru 9 and then back again, 8 thru 6. When this is easy add on reps of each. This works your abdominus rectus. The longer, thinner muscle that runs up the middle of your stomach.
Tomorow I will write you how to do the back strengthening exercise that balances this. This is very important as you should ALWAYS aim to strengthen your back as much as your stomach to retain good posture and useable strength.
If you can do this 3 or 4 times a week you will be getting a gold star in the post!
BACK STRENGTHENING EXERCISE
If you get the hang of the basic crunch nicely you really should balance it with a basic back execise. Fortunaley this is a really easy exercise to do. Honestly, it is really easy!
1) Lie on your stomach, legs out staright behind you.
2) Your toes, knees and hips should stay in contact with the floor ALL the time
3) You should keep your face paralleel to the floor all the time. If you get a glimpse of the wall in front of you , you have raised your head. BAD girl!
4) Easy version for those with a weak or 'bad' back: Place your hands close by your side at shoulder level. Keeping your face to the floor slowly raise your upper body, a couple of inches is fine. SLOW AND SMOOTH movements. Repeat x 12
5) A slightly 'harder' version is to place your hands down by your butt or in the small of your back and raise your upper body off the floor. 'Harder' still is to link your fingers under your chin and raise your upper body and arms off the floor. The 'hardest' version you should ever attempt is to 'fly like Superman'. That is to take ONE arm forward and raise the upper body and arms off the floor slowly. Repeat all x 12
If your toes feel like they are coming of the floor, don't raise your head so high. Your toes let you know you are doing a bit too much for your back's comfort!
SLOW and SMOOTH is very important here. You want to work your back not rack it, so don't jerk it around!
I use the term 'hard' cos it is the easiest word to use! This exercise is really simple to do like I promised!
To stretch you could just curl up like a baby (foetal curl) or lie on your back and raise your knees towards your chest. Place your hands UNDERNEATH the knee joint (sort of trapped between the thigh and calf), and raise your tailbone just off the floor. Use a towel behind your knees if this makes it easier. This should be a nice small stretch for the lower back!
EXERCISING WITH COLD OR FLU
If the symptoms are felt neck up (sore throat, stuffy nose etc) then exercise but take it easy. If the symptoms are below the neck (chest congestion, cough, wheezing etc) then go home and sit it out.
I NEVER deviate from this as below the chest flu/cold infections can be made worse or to last much longer if you exercise.
Imagine you have made a bowl of jelly (jello?). Let it set and then turn it out on to a plate. Take a piece of string and lie it across the middle of the jelly. Now pull the string taught. Can you see the edges of the jelly bulge out a bit and wobble a lot? Only a little bit of the jelly is captured by the string! What the jelly needs is a Playtex 24-hour girdle!!!!!!!!
When you do normal crunches you are working the string, strengthening your major stomach muscle. What you need is a way of building your own 24-hour girdle to pull in and control the wobbliest bits! You have these muscles called obliques. They run diagonally across your abdomen, deep down. If you work them properly you will be growing your very own lifetime guaranteed girdle!
1. Assume the same starting position as the normal sit up, as already described. Lie parallel to one wall (you'll see why this helps in a minute).
2. Have your hands at your temples elbows out wide.
3. Slowly raise your body up onto one elbow, twisting until you can see the wall you are lying parallel to. Aim to twist up until your upper body and wide elbows are parallel to the wall.
Repeat on the other side.
Do this 8 - 12 times on each side.
To increase the workload instead of raising your body weight onto the elbow keep the elbows off the floor (and wide) and twist each shoulder towards a point 4 inches to the side of and 4 inches higher than the opposite knee.
The twist should be felt right through your belly button. Like you are a damp cloth being wrung out dry!!!!!!!!!!
Keep the speed down so you can feel every inch of the raise and lower yourself down slowly so's you can feel every millimetre of the return.
The first way allows you to get a lot of twist, engaging the obliques well, without putting too much stress on these muscles or your back. The second way reduces the twist you can get but adds resistance, making the muscles work much harder through a smaller range of movement.
Why not try doing 2 sets, one of each?
Add this to your existing sit-ups and back work and you'll really notice some improvement, both in your stomach and waist. Try abs 1, back, abs 2.
Remember to come back to me if any of this doesn't make sense. Happy wringing out!
It still targets your tums and back but also works your calves and thighs. And its quite easy to do whilst being a very intense workout!
1) Stand straight. Knees soft. Squeeze your buttocks tight. Squeeze inyour tummy - get your belly button as close to your spine as possible. Lengthen your spine - up tall. Shoulders down and relaxed. Know relax your buttocks!
- That's your neutral position!
2) Now shift your weight so's you are standing one one leg. Keep good neutral position.
You are going to work by moving one leg. You will wobble, don't worry. All you have to do is stay straight, try not to lean back or front, left or right, to compensate for the moving leg. The straighter you stay the more work your tummy and back get.
3) Raise the knee to hip height, now extend the leg. Bend the knee and return the foot to the floor. Thats in 4 separate moves - raise, extend, bend and lower. Repeat 4 times.
4) Raise the knee to hip height and pulse, up and down, 4 times.
5) Extend the leg and pulse from the hip, 4 times.
Repeat 4 + 5) 4 times. Bend and pulse x 4 and extend and pulse x 4.
6) Rest and stretch. Take the moving leg behind you, bend both knees to 90 degrees and push the back leg's hip forward. You'll feel the stretch across the hip joint.
Repeat 3,4,5 + 6 on the same leg!!! Then do another 2 sets on the other leg!!!
This is a bit like Pilates in that it concentrates on one joint and is slow moving!
PLease be reassured. I know that this one feels very strongly in the hip and calf, but it is a really good full lower body exercise."