T-2 days till the start of the 30-day Abs Challenge…and is it Ab Challenge, or Abs Challenge? Guess I’m starting with Abs and whittling down to Ab. 😉 Plus, who knew my blog post of the 30-day Abs Challenge (http://dressedtoat.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/30-day-ab-challenge/) would skyrocket my daily views to 3000? Certainly not I. Makes me think I am Not the only person looking to whittle down my tummy. I am in no way a fitness expert (but my trainer Denise is), so I’ve tried to field the many questions I’ve received regarding this challenge as best I can, but realize, I, and some others may need further clarification. So, I went to the actual source, @30dayfitness. You can click on the underlined title on each exercise to bring you straight to the website which also features handy videos… Because, speaking for myself, I thought Leg Raises, were laying on one’s side raising your legs. Not so much…So, I present, Clarification:
Take up this 30 day abs challenge this month and tone up and boost your core muscles and body strength to the max.
The challenge has 4 different exercises which you have to do each day, and the time spent doing the exercise slowly increases day by day to help you build up your core body muscle strength gradually, ensuring you are able to complete the final day of the challenge easily.
You only have to do the amount of time shown on the challenge chart once per day, however if you are feeling brave then you can repeat each days challenge as many times as you like – however remember by day 30 it will be very hard to do multiple times.
HOW TO DO A SIT UP – Doing sit-ups is a quick way to get stronger abdominal muscles. Start off with the basics and then try some modifications to the traditional sit up when you get stronger.
- Have your knees bent and the balls of your feet and heels placed flat on the ground.
- Place your hands on opposing shoulders, so that your arms are crossed over your chest, or behind your head. This allows you a central rising point.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles gently by drawing in your belly button to your spine
- Keeping your heels on the ground and your toes flat to the ground, slowly and gently lift your head first, followed by your shoulder blades. Focus your eyes on your bent knees, all the while gently contracting the abdominal muscles. Pull up from the floor until you’re at a ninety-degree angle, or when the elbows are on, or past, the knees.
- Hold the position for a second. Slowly bring the torso back to the floor but try to keep it slightly elevated off the ground. This means not to place your back flat to the ground but to keep a slight, yet relaxed, arch.
HOW TO DO LEG RAISES – This simple exercise is a great way to work out your abdominal muscles, and is an especially easy one for beginners. Start doing this exercise regularly, and you’ll be one step closer to the amazing abs you’ve always wanted!Target zone: Abdominal muscles
- Lie flat on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you. If you feel uncomfortable, try lying on carpet or on a yoga mat. If you have back problems, fold a towel and put it under the curve of your back, just above your hips. Keep your hands flat down on the ground.
- Bend your legs and raise them, keeping your toes pointed. Your thighs should be perpendicular to your body, while your shins are parallel.
- Straighten your legs so that they’re pointed at the ceiling. Keep your toes pointed. For a harder workout, skip Step 2 and slowly raise your legs to the ceiling without bending them.
- Slowly lower your legs to about an inch off the floor. Don’t just let gravity work for your – make sure you’re in control. If the exercise feels too easy, try to lower more slowly.
- Slowly raise your legs back up to the ceiling.
- Repeat 5 times, then rest for 30 seconds. Try to do 3 sets for now – you can add more later on.
The plank is a balance and core conditioning exercise. In yoga, the plank is often done as part of the sun salutation sequence, or as part of a vinyasa in a yoga flow sequence. You can also perform the plank as a stand-alone exercise. There are two major types of planks, the full plank, where you balance on both arms, and the side plank, where you balance on one arm.
STEP BY STEP GUIDE
- Start off on a yoga mat in the push up position. Starting with the push up position is the easiest way to get into the plank.
- Lower both your forearms to the ground so that both your elbows and fists are flat to the ground. Your palms should be balled up, and directly underneath your shoulders.
- Curl your toes under and engage your abs by tilting your pelvis and pulling your belly button toward your spine.
- Straighten your body but keep your neck and spine neutral. Imagine that you’re a plank of wood, and that you’re straight as an arrow.
- Flex your abdominals and squeeze your glutes. These are the two major muscle groups you’ll be working out in this exercise.
- Hold this position, also known as the plank, until after the burning begins. Keep your eyes on the floor in front of you. Avoid raising your behind. Your body should make a straight line from your heels to the back of your head.
HOW TO DO A CRUNCH – Want six-pack abs? Try crunches. They’re a lot like sit-ups, except that instead of lifting your entire back off the floor, you only lift your upper back. This isolates (“crunches”) the ab muscles without engaging muscles in your hips.
- Lie on your back on the floor. Using a mat or carpeted surface is more comfortable, but make sure it doesn’t have too much cushioning.
- Bend your knees. Your feet can be flat on the floor, or you can keep them suspended in the air during your crunches for a little extra crunch.
- Cross your arms in front of your chest. You can also place your hands behind your neck or head, but many people tend to pull their head or neck up during the exercise, which can place extra strain on the spine. Your head and neck should be resting on your hands.
- Lift your shoulders towards the ceiling using your abdominal muscles and pause at the peak. It is very important not to lift your entire back off the floor, as this can cause back strain, and the extended movement does not help you develop six-pack abs any faster. When your shoulders are off the ground, pause and hold that position for a full second (or more).
- Ease back down slowly as you inhale. Don’t just “plop” back down. Your control on the way down works your ab muscles as well.
Some of the comments from my blog post, were truly the highlight of my day on Tuesday…I loved the ones that just said, “I’m In” or just “In”, of those who were just delighted to join this challenge…of course, the funny ones bear repeating:
OK T, I am in! Not sure what a plank is though. Can you post a video of you doing one so I know? – Cindy
This was an intervention for me, wasn’t it?! – Megan
I can try at least! I have the core of a 90 yr old, which is why I need it! – Julie
I am game for the wine run!
My sister had an emergency appendectomy and my brother had a heart attack last week. They work out all the time. My sisters who are 15 years older than them drink and smoke constantly…………….. I am thinking I am better served by enjoying a good party – Chrissie
125 sit-ups on Day 30? Did you see that? Yikes!!! – Kim
Count me in. I do core work, but not much AB work, so I need this to tighten up my belly. WOOT!! – Leighanne
Thankfully, I have lots of friends joining me in this challenge…so I don’t need to worry about everyone being jealous of my soon to be rock-hard Abs…or perhaps my slightly smaller stomach. 🙂
Song of the Day: Build me up Buttercup, by the Foundations…because, truly, there is no better song out there!
Cannot wait till Sunday to start this Ab Challenge!! And speaking of me (this is, afterall, DressedtoaT)… I will hit 750,000 views today on my blog. Yup, 3/4 of a Million views. Thankfully I’m using my blog for good, not evil. You are welcome. 😉
Have a great weekend…Life is short, make today, and every day, your very best ever!
Working on it…
Though I’ve come close…;)
May explain why I’m Starving! 🙂