Exercise Descriptions

 

 

Power Ten

This is a combination exercise in which you do 1 sit-up, 1 push-up; 2 sit-ups, 2 push-ups; 3 sit-ups, 3 push-ups; and so on until you reach 10 sit-ups, 10 push-ups. These steps should be performed quickly and fluidly.

1.    Start each set of sit-ups by lying on the ground with your knees bent at 45-degree angles and your arms crossed over your chest.

2.    As you do each sit-up, sit all the way up; then lower yourself until your back touches the ground, but don’t rest there. (See “Trainer Tips for Sit-ups” below.)

3.    To transition into a push-up, cross your ankles, and roll forward until you can place your hands firmly on the ground in front of you. Jump both feet back so that you land in plank position (don’t just step back).

4.    Start each set of push-ups in plank position with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet close together.

5.    As you do each push-up, lower your body toward the ground until your elbows are bent at 90-degree angles (your chest should graze the ground but not rest there); then push up powerfully. (See “Trainer Tips for Push-ups” below.)

6.    To transition back into a sit-up, jump both feet forward so that you land in a crouching position. Cross your ankles, and roll back into the starting sit-up position.

7.    Repeat steps 1 through 6, increasing your sit-ups and push-ups by one each time you roll back into the starting sit-up position. Continue until you have completed 10 sit-ups and 10 push-ups.

 

Trainer Tips for Sit-ups

  • Contract your abdominal muscles and imagine pulling your belly button toward your spine.
  • Press your heels and toes to the ground.[JY2] 
  • Hold your arms tightly against your chest and avoid reaching forward with your elbows or arms.

 

Trainer Tips for Push-ups

  • Keep your body as straight as a plank and tuck your hips so that you feel your lower abs and gluts squeezing tightly.
  • Don’t look straight down. Instead, look at the ground about 1 foot in front of you.
  • Remember to breathe—inhale as you lower your body, and exhale as you push up.

 

Level Modification: If you can no longer do push-ups in plank position, you can do modified push-ups (aka “girl push-ups”) on your knees. Work toward performing this exercise in plank position.

 

Mountain Climbers

1.    Start in plank position with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet close together.

2.    While keeping your body as straight as a plank, rapidly jog your legs beneath your body in this manner:

       a.    Draw your right leg up under your body; then kick it back into the starting position with your toes on the ground.

       b.    Draw your left leg up under your body; then kick[JY3]  it back into the starting position with your toes on the ground.

       c.    Repeat rapidly.

 

Trainer Tips for Mountain Climbers

  • Keep your body as straight as a plank and tuck your hips so that you feel your lower abs and gluts squeezing tightly.
  • If you feel yourself slipping backward, lean forward so that your hands are below your chest instead of your head. This will help you maintain balance as you move your legs forward and back.

 

Burpees

1.    Drop into a crouching position with your hands firmly on the ground in front of you.

2.    Jump both feet back so that you land in plank position.

3.    Jump both feet forward, returning to a crouching position.

4.    Push off the ground with your hands and feet, and jump into the air with your arms raised above your head.

5.    Land in a crouching position with your hands firmly on the ground in front of you.

6.    Repeat steps 2 through 5.

 

Hip Thrusts

1.    Drop into a crouching position with your hands firmly on the ground in front of you.

2.    Jump both feet back so that you land in plank position.

3.    Jump both feet forward, returning to a crouching position.

4.    Repeat steps 2 and 3.

 

Weight Swings

This is a combination exercise in which you lift a single weight while doing squats.

1.    Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forward. Using both hands, hold a single weight straight out in front of you with the shaft parallel to your body.

2.    Bend your knees and drop your hips to lower yourself into a squatting position (see “Trainer Tips for Squats” below). As you do this, swing the weight down between your legs, keeping your arms straight.

3.    Stand up powerfully, and swing the weight up over your head, keeping your arms straight.

4.    Repeat steps 2 and 3.

 

Trainer Tips for Squats

  • Reach your bottom back as if you are squatting over a dirty toilet.
  • Don’t bend at the waist. Instead, keep your chest up, and look straight ahead.
  • Keep your weight in your heels; you should be able to lift your toes slightly without falling over. Try this once or twice during each set of squats, but don’t try to do all of your squats with your toes raised.

 

High Knees

Jog in place while lifting each leg at a 90-degree angle so that your thigh is parallel to the ground and your knee is as high as your waist.

 

Trainer Tips for High Knees

  • Don’t hunch over or lean back. Instead, stand up tall, and keep your back straight.
  • When you lift each leg, dorsal flex your toes (i.e., keep your foot flat instead of pointing your toes to the ground).

 

Traveling Push-ups

This is a traveling exercise in which you perform push-ups while moving to the right (or left), keeping your body parallel to the ground.

1.    Start in plank position with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet close together.

2.    Lower your body toward the ground until your elbows are bent at 90-degree angles; your chest should graze the ground but not rest there. (See “Trainer Tips for Push-ups” below.)

3.    As you push up, use your momentum to walk your hands and feet to the right in this manner:

       a.    Simultaneously, move your left hand next to your right and your right foot away from your left.

       b.    Simultaneously, move your right hand away from your left and your left foot next to your right.

       c.    Land in plank position with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet close together.

4.    Repeat steps 2 and 3.

5.    After 10–15 traveling push-ups to the right, reverse the instructions in step 3 to move to the left.

 

Trainer Tips for Push-ups

  • Keep your body as straight as a plank and tuck your hips so that you feel your lower abs and gluts squeezing tightly.
  • Don’t look straight down. Instead, look at the ground about 1 foot in front of you.
  • Remember to breathe—inhale as you lower your body, and exhale as you push up.

 

Level Modification: If you can no longer do push-ups in plank position, you can do modified push-ups (aka “girl push-ups”) on your knees. Work toward performing this exercise in plank position.

 

Squats

1.    Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forward.

2.    Bend your knees and drop your hips to lower yourself into a squatting position (see “Trainer Tips for Squats” below).

3.    Stand up powerfully.

4.    Repeat steps 2 and 3.

 

Trainer Tips for Squats

  • Reach your bottom back as if you are squatting over a dirty toilet.
  • Don’t bend at the waist. Instead, keep your chest up, and look straight ahead.
  • Keep your weight in your heels; you should be able to lift your toes slightly without falling over. Try this once or twice during each set of squats, but don’t try to do all of your squats with your toes raised.

 

Knee Draws with a Twist

1.    Start in plank position with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet close together.

2.    While keeping your body as straight as a plank, draw one leg up under your body. As you do this, your knee should graze the ground but not rest there.

3.    With your leg tucked under your body, twist your leg across your body (i.e., point your right knee to the left or your left knee to the right). As you twist, your knee should graze the ground but not rest there.

4.    Twist your leg back under your body, and kick it straight back behind you.

5.    Repeat steps 2 through 4 until you have completed a set for one leg; then repeat for the other leg.

 

Trainer Tips for Knee Draws with a Twist

  • Keep your body as straight as a plank and tuck your hips so that you feel your lower abs and gluts squeezing tightly.
  • When you kick your leg back behind you, don’t let your toes rest on the ground. Instead, keep them about 2–3 inches off the ground.
  • If you feel yourself slipping backward, lean forward so that your hands are below your chest instead of your head. This will help you maintain balance as you move each leg forward and back.

 

Bridge

1.    Start by lying on the ground with your feet 1 foot apart and your knees bent at 45-degree angles. Rest your arms on the ground, parallel to your body.

2.    Lift your hips toward the sky 

3.    Lower your hips to the ground.

4.    Repeat steps 2 and 3.

 

One-Leg Bridge

1.    Start by lying on the ground with one leg bent at a 45-degree angle and the other fully extended and raised into the air so that both thighs are parallel. Rest your arms on the ground, parallel to your body.

2.    Lift your hips toward the sky

3.    Lower your hips to the ground.

5.    Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have completed a set for one leg; then repeat for the other leg.

 

Around the World Abs

1.    Start by sitting on your tailbone with your body and feet raised off the ground. Tuck your arms into your body.

2.    While balancing on your tailbone, simultaneously extend your legs, body, and arms away from your tailbone [RG7] in this manner:

       a.    Extend your legs straight out in front of you, keeping your feet together. Don’t allow your legs or feet to rest on the ground.

       b.    Lean your body back as far as you can go without dropping to the ground.

       c.    Extend your arms in a sweeping circular motion, moving your hands past your face and around your body (similar to the motion of a breaststroke).

3.    Pull your legs, body, and arms back to the starting position.

4.    Repeat steps 2 and 3.

 

Trainer Tip for Around the World Abs: It’s more important to keep your legs, body, and arms off the ground than to get your legs and body close to the ground. Lower your legs and lean back to a position that is challenging but not impossible to hold. Do not allow anything but your tailbone to touch the ground.

 

Pull-ups

1.    Find a horizontal bar that is at least 1 foot long and will support your full body weight. It’s best to use a bar that will prevent your feet from touching the ground, but even a low bar (e.g., 4 feet high) will work if you avoid using the ground for support. Use a playground bar, gym equipment, or an at-home bar that fits in a doorway.

2.    Stand at the bar, and grasp it so that your hands are 1 foot apart and your palms are facing away from you.

3.    Use your arms to pull your body up until your chin is level with the bar. As you do this, hold your abs tight, and avoid arching your back.

4.    Lower your body until your arms are fully extended.

5.    Repeat steps 3 and 4. Avoid resting between pull-ups.

 

Level Modifications for Pull-ups

  • Beginner: If you need a little extra help, place a low stool beneath one foot. Use the stool to spot you as you do your pull-ups, but don’t use it as a stair.
  • Intermediate: When you feel ready, try moving the stool behind you. Bend your knee at a 90-degree angle, and rest your toe on the edge of the stool as you do your pull-ups.
  • Advanced: Work toward doing pull-ups without a stool.

 

Chair Squats

1.    Find a chair with a seat that is about 18 inches above the ground.

2.    Start in a standing position with your back to the chair, your feet hip-width apart, your h 007Aeels about 1 foot away from the edge of the chair, and your toes pointing forward.

3.    Bend your knees and drop your hips to lower yourself into a squatting position. Reach your bottom back to tap the edge of the chair. You should not be able to sit or rest on the chair. (See “Trainer Tips for Chair Squats” below.)

4.    Stand up powerfully.

5.    Repeat steps 3 and 4.

 

Trainer Tips for Chair Squats

  • Don’t bend at the waist. Instead, keep your chest up, and look straight ahead.
  • Keep your weight in your heels; you should be able to lift your toes slightly without falling over. Try this once or twice during each set of squats, but don’t try to do all of your squats with your toes raised.

 

Laser Lines

1.    Tie a rope between two stable objects so that it runs parallel to the ground. The rope should be 12–24 inches above the ground, depending on your skill level (higher if you’re a beginner, lower if you’re more advanced).

2.    Start in a standing position with the rope in front of you.

3.    Jump over the rope.

4.    Drop into a crouching position with your hands firmly on the ground in front of you.

5.    Extend your legs straight back behind you under the rope so that you land in plank position.

6.    Supporting yourself on your hands and toes, walk backward under the rope. Keep your body as straight as a plank.

7.    When the rope hits your upper-back, drop into a lowered push-up position, and continue walking backward until your head clears the rope.

8.    Push your bottom up into the air so that your body forms an inverted V.

9.    Keeping your legs straight, slowly walk your hands back toward your feet.

10.  When your hands reach your feet, stand up.

11.  Repeat steps 3 through 10.

 

Trainer Tip for Laser Lines: Try to stay up on your hands and toes throughout this exercise. Don’t let your elbows or knees touch the ground.

 

Level Modification: If you need a little extra support, drop one knee to the ground as you move under the rope. Work toward performing this exercise on your hands and toes.

 

Tricep Push-ups

1.    Start in plank position with your hands 8–10 inches apart and your feet close together. Your hands should be much closer together than they are for regular push-ups.

2.    Lower your body toward the ground until your chest grazes the ground, but don’t rest there. As you do this, keep your elbows tucked in close to your body and pointed toward your feet.

3.    Push up powerfully.

4.    Repeat steps 2 and 3.

 

Trainer Tips for Tricep Push-ups

  • Keep your body as straight as a plank and tuck your hips so that you feel your lower abs and gluts squeezing tightly.
  • Don’t look straight down. Instead, look at the ground about 1 foot in front of you.
  • Remember to breathe—inhale as you lower your body, and exhale as you push up.

 

Level Modification: If you can no longer do tricep push-ups in plank position, you can do modified tricep push-ups (aka “girl push-ups”) on your knees. Work toward performing this exercise in plank position.

 

Abdominal Isometric Holds in Weak Spot

1.    Start by sitting on your tailbone with your body and feet raised off the ground. Tuck your arms into your body.

2.    While balancing on your tailbone, simultaneously extend your legs and body away from your tailbone in this manner:

       a.    Extend your legs straight out in front of you, keeping your feet together. Don’t allow your legs or feet to rest on the ground.

       b.    Lean your body back as far as you can go without dropping to the ground. Keep your back rounded in a C shape.

3.    Hold this position for as long as you can without dropping to the ground.

4.    Pull your legs and body back to the starting position.

5.    Repeat steps 2 through 4.[RG8] [JY9] 

 

Trainer Tip for Abdominal Isometric Holds in Weak Spot: It’s more important to keep your legs and body off the ground than to get your legs and body close to the ground. Lower your legs and lean back to a position that is challenging but not impossible to hold. Do not allow anything but your tailbone to touch the ground.

 

Lateral Shuffle

This is a traveling exercise in which you squat and then shuffle your feet quickly to the right or left. (This is similar to a football warm-up you may have seen.) These steps should be performed quickly and fluidly.

1.    Start in a squatting position with your feet shoulder-width apart, your toes pointing forward, your bottom reaching back, your chest up, and your arms tucked in close to your body.

2.    Staying in a low squat, quickly shuffle your feet to the right in this manner:

       a.    Move your left foot next to your right.

       b.    Move your right foot away from your left until your feet are about shoulder-width apart.

       c.    Repeat.

3.    After 10–15 steps to the right, reverse the instructions in step 2 to move to the left.

 

Trainer Tip for Lateral Shuffle: Don’t think too hard about how to shuffle to the right or left. Just focus on staying in a low squat and moving laterally. Move your feet quickly, and do what feels natural.

 

Hanging Leg Raises

1.    Find a horizontal bar that is at least 1 foot long and will support your full body weight. It’s best to use a bar that will prevent your feet from touching the ground. Use a playground bar (or rings), gym equipment, or an at-home bar that fits in a doorway.

2.    Stand at the bar, and grasp it with both hands (either direction is fine). Hang from the bar with your arms straight and your legs hanging beneath.

3.    Keeping your arms straight, contract your abdominal muscles to lift your legs until they are parallel with the ground.

4.    Using your abdominal muscles to control your legs, slowly lower them back to the starting position.

5.    Repeat steps 3 and 4.

 

Trainer Tip for Hanging Leg Raises: Don’t allow your legs or body to swing backward. Instead, use your abdominal muscles to keep your body steady as you lift and lower your legs.

 

Level Modification: If you can’t keep your legs straight as you lift them, try bending your knees. The more you bend your knees, the easier this exercise will be. Work toward performing this exercise with your legs straight.

 

Front Raises

 

Version 1

1.    Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart, your toes pointing forward, and your arms hanging straight at your sides.

2.    Grasp one weight in each hand with the shafts parallel to the ground and to each other.

3.    Keeping your arms straight, raise the weights to shoulder height.

4.    Lower your arms back down to your sides.

5.    Repeat steps 3 and 4.

 

Version 2

1.    Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart, your toes pointing forward, and your arms hanging straight at your sides.

2.    Grasp one weight in each hand with the shafts parallel to the ground and the heads facing each other.

3.    Keeping your arms straight, raise the weights to shoulder height.

4.    Lower your arms back down to your sides.

5.    Repeat steps 3 and 4.

 

Trainer Tips for Front Raises

  • Keep your shoulders back and your abs tight as you lift the weights.
  • Don’t bounce your legs or swing your arms. Instead, focus on lifting with your arms.

 

 

 

 

 

Military Press

Grasp barbell from rack or clean barbell from floor with overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder width. Position bar in front of neck.

Press bar until arms are extended overhead. Lower to front of neck and repeat.

Hip Drops

  1. Lie on your side balanced on the forearm and feet.
  2. The hips and feet should be stacked on top of one another.
  3. Holding the torso steady, slowly contract your abs and lower the hip toward the floor (you don't have to touch).
  4. Avoid sinking into the shoulder.
  5. Bring the hip back up and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps on each side.

Bicycle Abs

  1. Lie face up on the floor and lace your fingers behind your head.
    2. Bring the knees in towards the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the ground without pulling on the neck.
    3. Straighten the left leg out while simultaneously turning the upper body to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee.
    4. Switch sides, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee.
    5. Continue alternating sides in a 'pedaling' motion for 12-16 reps.

Standing Row

Stand with your knees bent and your torso at a 60 degree angle. Now with the weights fully extended in your hand bring them straight up to your chest contracting your shoulderblades fully and then inhaling and slowly returning to the starting position

Mountain Climbers

  1.               Begin in a pushup position on the hands and toes.
  2. Bring the right knee in towards the chest, resting the foot on the floor.
  3. Jump up and switch feet in the air, bringing the left foot in and the right foot back.
  4. Continue alternating the feet as fast as you safely can for 30-60 seconds.
  5. Add this move at the end of your regular cardio workout for an added boost, or do it a few times during your workout whenever you want to add intensity or mix things up.
  6. To modify, rest your hands on a step, platform or BOSU Balance Trainer (dome side down). 

 

 

 

Sit-ups

1.    Start by lying on the ground with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle and your arms crossed over your chest.

2.    While keeping your feet on the ground, use your abdominal muscles to sit all the way up.

3.    Lower yourself until your back touches the ground, but don’t rest there.

4.    Rapidly repeat steps 2 and 3.

 

Trainer Tips

  • Hold your arms tightly against your chest, and avoid reaching forward with your elbows or arms.
  • Keep your feet flat on the ground. Don’t cheat by tucking your toes under a piece of furniture.
  • Contract your abdominal muscles, and imagine pulling your belly button toward your spine.

 

 

 

Crunches

1.    Start by lying on the ground with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Place your fingertips behind your head, and point your elbows to the right and left.

2.    While keeping your feet on the ground, lift your chin, shoulders, and upper back toward the sky (don’t curl toward your knees).

3.    Lower yourself until your shoulders touch the ground, but don’t rest there.

4.    Rapidly repeat steps 2 and 3.

 

Trainer Tips

  • Don’t interlock your fingers behind your head or use your hands to lift or pull your head. Instead, place your fingertips gently against the base of your skull for minimal support.
  • Keep your elbows loose and pointed to the right and left. Don’t let your elbows drift inward or use them to gain momentum.
  • Keep your feet flat on the ground. Don’t cheat by tucking your toes under a piece of furniture.
  • To engage your upper abdominal muscles, focus on lifting your chin to the sky. Don’t curl toward your knees!

 

Level Modification

To increase the intensity of this exercise, lift your legs off the ground to create a “tabletop” (thighs perpendicular to the ground, calves parallel with it). From this position, extend your legs very slightly away from your body to engage your lower abdominal muscles. Perform crunches as outlined.

 

 

 

 

Oblique Crunches

1.    Start by lying on the ground with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle; then drop your legs to the right so that they’re resting on the ground. Keep your back flat against the ground. Place your fingertips behind your head, and point your elbows to the right and left.

2.    While keeping your legs on the ground, lift your chin, shoulders, and upper back toward the sky (don’t curl toward your knees).

3.    Lower yourself until your shoulders touch the ground, but don’t rest there.

4.    Rapidly repeat steps 2 and 3.

5.    Drop your legs to the left, and repeat steps 2 through 4.

 

Trainer Tips

  • Don’t interlock your fingers behind your head or use your hands to lift or pull your head. Instead, place your fingertips gently against the base of your skull for minimal support.
  • Keep your elbows loose and pointed to the right and left. Don’t let your elbows drift inward or use them to gain momentum.
  • To engage your upper abdominal muscles, focus on lifting your chin to the sky. Don’t curl toward your knees!

 

 

 

 

Reverse Crunches

1.    Start by lying on the ground with your legs extended straight into the air and your arms resting at your sides.

2.    Press your heels toward the sky and slightly away from your body, lifting your hips about 1 inch off the ground.

3.    Lower your hips to the ground without dropping your legs, but don’t rest there.

4.    Rapidly repeat steps 2 and 3.

 

Trainer Tips

  • As you press your heels to the sky, dorsiflex your toes (i.e., keep your feet flat instead of pointing your toes).
  • Don’t lift your hips more than 1 inch off the ground—even if you don’t feel like you’re lifting. If you lift too high, your legs will dominate your abdominal muscles, and you won’t get the benefit.
  • To engage your lower abdominal muscles, the angle between your body and legs should be slightly more obtuse than 90 degrees at all times. Don’t swing or curl your legs back toward your head.

 

Level Modification

As you get stronger, you may not feel much benefit from this exercise. Instead of lifting your hips higher, lower your legs a fraction of an inch, just until you feel your lower abdominal muscles engage.

 

AKA: Heels to Heaven

 

 

 

 

Bicycle Abs

1.    Start by lying on the ground with your legs tucked into your chest. Place your fingertips behind your head, and point your elbows to the right and left.

2.    Engage your upper abdominal muscles by lifting your chin, shoulders, and upper back off the ground and toward the sky.

3.    From this position, simultaneously move your legs as if peddling a bicycle and rotate your body from right to left to touch each elbow to the opposite knee, in this manner:

  1. Keeping your left leg tucked into your chest, extend your right leg straight out in front of you. Simultaneously, twist your upper body to touch your right elbow to your left knee.
  2. Draw your right leg back into a tucked position, and extend your left leg straight out in front of you. Simultaneously, twist your upper body to touch your left elbow to your right knee.
  3. Rapidly repeat steps [a] and [b].

 

Trainer Tips

  • Don’t interlock your fingers behind your head or use your hands to lift or pull your head. Instead, place your fingertips gently against the base of your skull for minimal support.
  • Keep your elbows loose and pointed to the right and left. Don’t let your elbows drift inward, even as you twist, or use them to gain momentum.
  • As you peddle each leg, dorsiflex your toes (i.e., keep your foot flat instead of pointing your toes).

 

Level Modification

As you get stronger, you’ll be able to keep your legs closer to the ground during extensions. For maximum results, keep your legs as low as possible while still keeping your lower back on the ground. If you can’t keep your lower back on the ground, lift your legs higher during extensions.

 

 

 

 

Double Knees to Chest

1.Start by lying on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you and your arms tucked into your body. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground, forming a slight C-shape.

2.Lift your legs off the ground, keeping your feet together.

3.Bend your knees, and draw your legs into your chest.

4.Extend your legs straight out in front of you, keeping your feet together. Don’t allow your legs or feet to rest on the ground.

5.Rapidly repeat steps 3 and 4.

 

Level Modification

To increase the intensity of this exercise, combine it with a partial sit-up. As you draw your legs into your chest, lift your body off the ground. As you extend your legs, lower your body toward the ground. Don’t rest between repetitions.

 

 

 

 

Scissor Kicks

1.Start by lying on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you and your arms resting at your sides. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground, forming a slight C-shape.

2.Lift your legs 3 to 12 inches off the ground, depending on the strength of your abdominal muscles.

3.While keeping your legs elevated, perform scissor kicks by crossing your feet back and forth, in this manner:

a.Separate your legs horizontally, creating a narrow V-shape.

b.Bring your legs back to center, crossing your right ankle over your left ankle.

c.Separate your legs horizontally, creating a narrow V-shape.

d.Bring your legs back to center, crossing your left ankle over your right ankle.

e.Rapidly repeat steps [a] through [d].

 

Level Modification

Keep your lower back on the ground throughout this exercise. If you can’t keep your lower back on the ground, lift your legs a couple of inches higher.

 

 

 

Flutter Kicks

1.Start by lying on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you and your arms resting at your sides. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground, forming a slight C-shape.

2.Lift your legs 6 to 12 inches off the ground, depending on the strength of your abdominal muscles.

3.While keeping your legs elevated, perform flutter kicks by moving your feet up and down, in this manner:

a.Simultaneously, raise your right foot and lower your left foot until they’re about 12 inches apart.

b.Simultaneously, lower your right foot and raise your left foot until they’re about 12 inches apart.

c.Rapidly repeat steps [a] and [b].

 

Level Modification

Keep your lower back on the ground throughout this exercise. If you can’t keep your lower back on the ground, lift your legs a couple of inches higher.

 

 

 

 

Pendulum

1.    Start by lying on the ground with your legs extended straight into the air and your arms resting at your sides. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground, forming a slight C-shape.

2.    While keeping your back flat against the ground, slowly drop your legs to the right, getting as close to the ground as possible without touching it.

3.    Moving your legs in a pendulum-like arc, slowly lift them into the air and drop them to the left, getting as close to the ground as possible without touching it.

4.    Repeat this pendulum-like motion in a controlled manner.

 

Trainer Tips

  • Keep your upper and lower back on the ground throughout this exercise.
  • Fight to maintain a 90-degree angle between your body and your legs. As you drop your legs to the right and left, this will become more difficult, but work toward maintaining this angle.

 

 

 

 

V-sits

1.    Start by lying flat on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you and your arms extended above your head.

2.    Simultaneously, raise your legs and arms straight into the air, lifting your hips and shoulders off the ground. (Your body will be more U-shaped than V-shaped.)

3.    In a controlled manner, lower your legs and arms to the ground.

4.    Repeat steps 2 and 3.

 

Level Modification

For a more advanced version of this exercise, see “Pikes” on page XX.

 

 

 

 

Pikes

1.    Start by lying flat on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you and your arms extended above your head.

2.    Simultaneously, raise your legs and arms straight into the air. Lift your hips, shoulders, and back off the ground, and touch your fingertips to your toes. (Your body will be more V-shaped than during V-sits.)

3.    In a controlled manner, lower your legs and arms to the ground.

4.    Repeat steps 2 and 3.

 

Level Modification

  • Beginner: For a less intense version of this exercise, see “V-sits” on page XX.
  • Advanced: To increase the intensity of this exercise, try holding a single weight with both hands while raising and lowering your arms.

 

 

 

Opposite Hand to Opposite Leg

1.    Start by lying flat on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you and your arms extended above your head.

2.    Simultaneously, raise your legs and arms straight into the air, twisting slightly at the waist to touch your right hand to your left toe.

3.    In a controlled manner, lower your legs and arms to the ground.

4.    Simultaneously, raise your legs and arms straight into the air, twisting slightly at the waist to touch your left hand to your right toe.

5.    In a controlled manner, lower your legs and arms to the ground.

6.    Repeat steps 2 through 5.

Hips and shoulders leave the ground during this exercise?

 

 

Seated Twists

1.    Start by sitting on your tailbone with your knees bent and your body and feet raised off the ground.

2.    Twist at the waist to the right, and lightly touch your fingertips to the ground.

3.    Twist at the waist to the left, and lightly touch your fingertips to the ground.

4.    Rapidly repeat steps 2 and 3.

 

Level Modification

To increase the intensity of this exercise, hold a single weight with both hands, and tap the weight on the ground as you twist.

 

 

 

 

Abdominal Isometric Hold in Weak Spot

1.Start by sitting on your tailbone with your knees bent and your body and feet raised off the ground. Tuck your arms into your body.

2.    While balancing on your tailbone, simultaneously extend your legs and body away from your tailbone, in this manner:

       a.    Extend your legs straight out in front of you, keeping your feet together. Don’t allow your legs or feet to rest on the ground.

       b.    Lean your body back as far as you can without dropping to the ground. Keep your back rounded in a C-shape.

3.    Hold this position for as long as you can without dropping to the ground (or refer to your training instructions).

4.    Pull your legs and body back to the starting position.

5.    Repeat steps 2 through 4.

 

Trainer Tip

It’s more important to keep your legs and body off the ground than to get your legs and body close to the ground. Lower your legs and lean back to a position that is challenging but not impossible to hold. Don’t allow anything but your tailbone to touch the ground.

 

AKA: Tailbone Sit in Weak Spot

 

 

 

 

Around the World Abs

1.Start by sitting on your tailbone with your knees bent and your body and feet raised off the ground. Tuck your arms into your body.

2.    While balancing on your tailbone, simultaneously extend your legs, body, and arms away from your tailbone, in this manner:

       a.    Extend your legs straight out in front of you, keeping your feet together. Don’t allow your legs or feet to rest on the ground.

       b.    Lean your body back as far as you can without dropping to the ground.

       c.    Extend your arms in a sweeping circular motion, moving your hands past your face and around your body (similar to the motion of a breaststroke).

3.    Pull your legs, body, and arms back to the starting position.

4.    Repeat steps 2 and 3.

 

Trainer Tip

It’s more important to keep your legs, body, and arms off the ground than to get your legs and body close to the ground. Lower your legs and lean back to a position that is challenging but not impossible to hold. Don’t allow anything but your tailbone to touch the ground.

 

 

 

 

Hell Sits

1.    Start by sitting on your tailbone with your knees bent and your body and feet raised off the ground. Tuck your arms into your body.

2.    While balancing on your tailbone, hold each of the following positions for 6 seconds:

       a.    Hold the tucked position for 6 seconds.

       b.    From the tucked position, straighten your legs without lowering your thighs or your body. (Maintain a 90-degree angle between your body and legs.) Balance on your tailbone, and hold for 6 seconds.

       c.    Without lowering your body, separate your legs into a V-shape. Balance on your tailbone, and hold for 6 seconds.

       d.    Simultaneously, bring your legs together while lowering them toward the ground, and lean your body back toward the ground. Extend away from your tailbone, and get as close to the ground as you can without resting there. Balance on your tailbone, and hold for 6 seconds.

       e.    Pull your legs and body back to the tucked position.

4.    Complete the entire series (steps [a] through [e]) the recommended number of times without resting or dropping to the ground.

 

Trainer Tips

  • Keep your arms tucked into your chest, or use them as needed to maintain your balance.
  • For maximum benefit, count slowly (one, one thousand; two, one thousand…), and hold each position for a full 6 seconds.
  • The tucked position will give you a slight rest at the beginning of each series. Don’t drop to the ground until you have completed the series the recommended number of times.
  • Always end the series by returning to the tucked position.

 

 

 

Beginner Dead Bug

1.Start by lying on the ground with your legs and arms extended straight into the air. Hold your feet and hands about 12 inches apart.

2.Lift your hips and shoulders off the ground, forming a C-shape with your body.

3.Hold this position for as long as you can without dropping to the ground (or refer to your training instructions).

 

Trainer Tips

  • Keep your palms flat, and dorsiflex your toes (i.e., keep your feet flat instead of pointing your toes).
  • Don’t let your hands and feet drift closer or further apart. Maintain the 12-inch gap throughout the exercise.
  • Lift your hips and shoulders as high as possible. Your abdominal muscles should be contracted to the point that it is difficult to breathe.

 

Level Modification

For an advanced version of this exercise, see “Advanced Dead Bug” on page XX.

 

 

 

Advanced Dead Bug

1.    Start by lying flat on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you and your arms extended above your head.

2.    Bring your right knee and right elbow together above your chest, in this manner:

a.    Bend your right knee, and draw your leg into your chest.

b.    Bend your right arm; then place your fist next to your right shoulder and your elbow next to your right knee.

c.    Lift your extended left leg and left arm off the ground as needed to keep your right knee and right elbow together.

3.    Hold this position for 20 seconds without dropping to the ground.

4.    Do 20 seconds of dead bug alive (see page XX).

5.    Repeat steps 2 and 3 on the left side.

6.    Do 20 seconds of dead bug alive.

7.    Repeat steps 2 through 6.

 

Trainer Tips

  • Dorsiflex your toes (i.e., keep your feet flat instead of pointing your toes).
  • Lift your hips and shoulders as high as possible, forming a C-shape with your body. Your abdominal muscles should be contracted to the point that it is difficult to breathe.
  • As you get stronger, you’ll be able to keep your extended leg and arm closer to the ground, while still crossing your knee and elbow.

 

Level Modification

To increase the intensity of this exercise, try lifting the hip of the bent leg even higher, twisting the hip a little if necessary.

 

 

 

 

Dead Bug Alive

After holding advanced dead bug for 20 seconds, simultaneously “jog” your arms up and down overhead and peddle your legs as if riding a bicycle. Move rapidly for 20 seconds.

 

Trainer Tip

As you peddle each leg, dorsiflex your toes (i.e., keep your foot flat instead of pointing your toes).

 

 

 

Bench Abs

1.Start by sitting sideways on a bench or chair. (Your back and legs should be able to move up and down freely.)

2.Scoot your tailbone as close to the edge of your seat as possible.

3.Place your hands about 12 inches behind your tailbone, and grasp the edges of your seat.

4.Lean your body back until you feel your abdominal muscles engage; then lift your legs to form a 135-degree angle. Only your tailbone and hands should be touching the seat.

5.In a controlled manner, lower your legs until your feet are about 12 inches off the ground; then lift them again.

6.Rapidly repeat step 5.

 

Trainer Tip

As you lift and lower your legs, dorsiflex your toes (i.e., keep your feet flat instead of pointing your toes).

 

 

 

Bench Roll Downs

1.Start by lying on a bench with your tailbone close to one edge. Grasp the bench above your head with both hands. (If you don’t have access to a bench, lie down next to a couch, and grasp the underside of the couch with both hands.)

2.Use your abdominal muscles to lift your legs and back straight into the air until you are balancing on your shoulder blades.

3.In a controlled manner, slowly lower your back and legs to the ground.

4.Repeat steps 2 and 3.

 

Trainer Tips

  • As you lower your back and legs, think of your body as a single, stiff plank. Focus on keeping your hips in a straight line and lowering your back and legs evenly. Avoid bending at the waist.
  • Don’t rush through this exercise: it’s about control not speed.

 

 

 

Superman

 

1.    Start by lying on your stomach with your legs together and your arms extended in front of you.

2.    Lift your legs, arms, and upper chest as high as you can off the ground.

3.    Hold this position for as long as you can without dropping to the ground (or refer to your training instructions).

 

Variation 1

Instead of simply holding the superman position, pulse your legs and arms up and down without letting them touch the ground. Pulse for 30 seconds; then rest and repeat.

 

Variation 2

While holding the superman position, hold a single weight with both hands. Draw the weight into your chest, and push it away again. Don’t let the weight touch the ground. Repeat arm extensions for 30 seconds; then rest and repeat.

 

 

 

 

Sit-up Stand-up

1.    From a standing position, sink into a sit-up starting position, with your feet 12 inches apart and your arms crossed over your chest.

2.    Use your abdominal muscles to sit all the way up, and use your momentum to return to a standing position. Keep your arms crossed tightly over your chest.

3.    When you return to standing, jump straight into the air.

4.    Repeat steps 1 through 3.

 

Trainer Tips

  • Hold your arms tightly against your chest, and avoid reaching forward with your elbows or arms.
  • Stand up without crossing your ankles or pushing off the ground.

 

Level Modifications

  • Beginner: If you can’t stand up without pushing off the ground, place a thin pad (e.g., a yoga or gymnastics mat) under your back and hips. Scoot your tailbone as close to the edge as possible. This extra lift will make it easier to stand without breaking form.
  • Intermediate: If you can’t stand without extending your arms or crossing your ankles, try placing your feet closer together (less than 12 inches). This will make it easier to stand without breaking form.
  • Advanced: Work toward doing sit-up stand-up with proper form.

 

AKA: Deck Squat

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