Friday, October 18, 2013

30-Day AB Challenge

Starting October 21st I am doing an ab challenge with a few girlfriends of mine. I think you should all do it with me! If you are looking for that little push to get started, this is it! Here is what the challenge looks like: 

Your form is very important when you do these exercises so lets review. 

Sit-ups: If you don't have good form when doing sit ups you can damage your spine or hurt your lower back and neck. When you do a sit up do not put your hands behind your neck. When you tug on your neck it compromises your form and it can cause injury.

Sit ups should be done on a hard surface like a floor or a yoga mat and not on a bed or a couch. Bring your knees up with your feet flat on the floor and cross your arms over your chest. Keeping your neck aligned, use your core muscles to partially sit yourself up. Lead with your shoulders, not with your neck! You also don't need to lift yourself all the way up to your knees. You only need to lift yourself up as high as the muscle man in the picture below. Look at his form. His neck is straight and his spine in aligned. 

Crunches: Crunches start the same way as sit ups with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Press your back to the floor so your spine stays straight. Arms should be behind your neck or at your ears but remember to not pull on your neck. Lift the shoulder blades and pull up from the floor about an inch or two, keeping your head straight. This is your starting position for a crunch. Then, lift yourself up about an inch or two and return to the starting position. 

Your shoulders should not rest on the floor in between repetitions, unlike a sit up. Do not let momentum do your work for you! Make sure you are lifting your body up with your core muscles. 

Leg Raises:

To do a leg raise lie flat on your back with your hands to your sides. Make sure you keep your head and shoulders on the floor at all times! Lift your legs straight up so your body is at a 90 degree angle. Then, lower your legs until they are about an inch away from the floor. Do not let your legs rest on the floor. Breathe in as you lower your legs and exhale as you bring your legs up again. Do not arch your back as you lower your legs. Your spine, head, and shoulders should be firmly pressed on the floor at all times. 

Plank: Keeping your elbows in line with your shoulders, place your forearms on the floor and raise your body into plan position. Feet should be shoulder width apart. This is what a plank should look like: 

Your body should be straight like somebody strapped a board to it. A huge problem people have is lifting their hips up to make the exercise easier. Make sure your hips and bum are in line with the rest of your body. You will know you are doing it right if you feel it in your abs. If you don't feel it in your abs your hips are too high. 

If this plank is too hard for you then you can try the modified plank. It is the same plank position except you are on your knees. It should look like this: 

Notice that even though her knees are on the floor, the rest of her body is still straight as if someone has strapped a board to her back. 

Good luck on your challenge! Feel free to comment if you are joining us! 

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