Abdominal Training Tips
Bobbie's Bodacious Abs - Part 1
Remember that the abdominal muscle is one long muscle (the rectus
abdominis) which goes from the sternum to the pelvis. You can only move the
muscle as one unit. However, it will FEEL as if you are stressing upper
or lower abs.
First exercise. Lie on your back with your knees bent, legs hip distance
apart, toes lifted. Place your hands behind your head for support only. DO
NOT PULL ON YOUR NECK. Pretend there is an orange between your chin and
your chest, find a spot on the ceiling to stare at and make sure your butt
is rolled slightly upwards so your back is flat. (This is the "pelvic tilt"
position). Now raise up 30-35 degrees for two counts, exhaling on the way
up, and down two counts. Now come to the highest position of the exercise
and slightly pulse the abs. This is not a big movement, but a very
gentle one. The abs are contracted the whole time. Since this acts
like a short warm-up type exercise, just do one set of 8 slow counts,
and one set of 8 quick pulses.
Now let's bring in the "big guns". Lift up for four counts, hold for four
counts, (make sure you exhale while you're holding), turn to the left for
four counts (keep elbows back), turn back to center for four counts, turn
to the right for four counts, turn back to center for four counts, lift a
little higher and hold for four counts (don't forget to exhale), and go
back down for four counts. Do this about 8-10 times, and no speeding up!!.
Repeat the whole thing changing the four counts to two counts, then again
with one count.
Lift the legs, and cross one ankle over the other (keep the back flat).
Bring knees to chest for two counts, lift shoulders for two counts, move
knees and shoulders together for two counts, and go back to starting
position for two counts. Do this for 8-10 reps. AND DON'T SPEED UP. And
make sure to keep the elbows back with the orange under your chin.
Put soles of feet together, either on the floor or on a step if you have
one. Lift upper torso up for two counts, and go down for two counts. The
movement is exactly the same as for a regular crunch. Exhale on the way up.
8-10 reps of this for two sets should do it.
Bobbie's Bodacious Abs - Part 2
Take any or all of these exercises, and mix or match them with Part I of
Bobbie's Bodacious Abs. Have fun :)
Leg Thrusts is one. Place your hands either on the floor or under your
buttocks to protect your back while you are lying flat. Lift your legs into
the air with your knees slightly bent. (I like to cross my ankles so I am
*sure* to have maximum back support.) Contract your abs and gently lift
your legs up using your abs to propel you. This is a
very slight movement, and be sure your butt is not tight. Rely completely
on your abs to lift your pelvis off the floor. As in the first work out,
do this slowly at first - two counts up, two counts down. This is a
useless exercise if your butt or legs get involved in the lift.
After you get the feel of it, do 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps slowly. Then,
go for those small pulses we did in the first workout.
Count about 16-24 counts.
As long as we are using this position, here's another one. Place one hand
behind your head for support (no tugging on neck.) The legs are in the same
position as above, elbow out, chin up. Reach for your toes with the other
hand. This is done with a pulsing motion. Do as many as you want, or are
comfortable with. Then, still keeping the back and hips facing front, let
the working arm reach in the opposite direction. (Right arm reaches for or
past left foot) Do those pesky little pulses in this position working your
oblique muscles. Switch sides and begin with reaching straight up to your
toes, then reaching to the side.
If you are still not fatigued (I am just *writing* all this) ;), do your
standard crunches. Lying down, knees are bent at a 90 degree angle to the
floor and feet are off the floor. (Elbows and chin are still in the same
position as with all the other exercises. This is important. Two different
exercises here. First bring knees towards chest, lifting butt slightly off
the ground. Take as many reps as you want. Second, lift shoulders and chest
towards knees. Then you can do both together at regular tempo as we did in
the first section - except this is faster.
Another oblique exercise. Lying down, cross right ankle over left knee..
place right arm out to the side, about shoulder height. With your left hand
supporting your head, come up and over. Here is the concept. Do not lead
with your elbow. You should not see your elbow out of the corner of your
eye. All the work is done with the obliques (waist). Two counts up, two
counts down. As many reps as you want. Then come to the top of the
contraction and pulse - small moves again. Reverse sides.
Oblique crunches. Start by lying down, feet on the floor, knees close
together. Without lifting hips, drop your knees to the right as far as is
comfortable. Place hands behind head, elbows out, and bring the rib cage
toward the left hip. Do this for two counts up, two counts down. Again,
don't tug on your neck. Do this for 2-3 sets of 8 reps. Switch sides.
And remember, always exhale during the exertion, and never hold your
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