I swear this girl is a Mouseketeer in disguise. A little too much pep.
I got the best gift for my birthday, the Nike+ running accessory (thank you Karen)! It is so cool, it fits right into the sole of my shoe and connects wirelessly with my iphone. It tells me:
- How far I have ran
-How many Calories I’ve burned
-It coaches me and gives me status updates as I go
All while playing music from my itunes, including “power songs” to motivate me throughout my work out. It even tracks my performance so I can set goals. IT ROCKS!
Lie on your side with your body in a straight line. Fold your arms across your chest. Keeping your legs together, lift them off the floor as you raise your top elbow toward your hip. The range of motion is short, but you should feel an intense contraction in your obliques.
10 repetitions each side [Beginner]
See your lower abs faster with this workout.
Target Muscles: rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, obliques
Set up: Lie on your back on a mat with your arms extended by your sides or tuck your hands beneath your lower back [A].
Action: Lift your feet off the floor and slowly open your legs [B], then cross your right ankle over the left; open and cross in the other direction for one rep. Do three sets of 20 reps on both sides or until failure.
Hop from leg to leg and then hold your jump on the third hop: hop, hop, and hold; hop, hop, and hold. Continue for one minute.
After a 30-second break, repeat two more times.
Start standing, bend at the waist, and put your hands flat on the floor. Walk your hands out to regular push-up position, do the push-up and walk your hands back to your feet. Stand back up. Repeat 10 times.
Find a raised surface like a bench or stairs and count how many times you can step up and down in one minute. Be sure to alternate which foot steps up first. Repeat for a total of three sets, and try to beat your number of steps each time.
Touch & Squeezes
Get in push-up position. Bring your right knee up to touch your right elbow, and squeeze your abs in. Hold for a few seconds and do the other side. Repeat each side 10 times.
Stand on one leg, raise the other leg, and bend at the knee, making the thigh parallel to the floor. Straighten the raised leg and hold. Repeat 10 times, making sure to point those toes. Then do the other side. For more stability, put one hand on a wall.
Dip Baby Dip
Sit on the floor and place your palms down by your butt, with your fingers facing your butt and your feet out in front of you. Lift your body off the ground, keeping your knees bent and your arms close to your torso. Lower your butt down to tap the floor by bending your elbows. Lift your butt off the ground again by straightening your elbows. Repeat 15 to 25 times.
Plank & Groove
Come into a plank position (the “up” part of a push-up position, but with your forearms on the floor). Pull your abs in, and tap your toes side to side — first with the right, then with the left, coming back to tap at the center each time. Do it to the beat of your favorite song and repeat until the song is over.
Stand with your feet together. Hop your feet out wide and touch both hands to the ground in line with your feet. Jump up and bring your feet together and clap your hands two times. Repeat with consistent speed for three one-minute intervals.
1. Engage Your Pelvic Floor
You’ve probably heard of Kegels before, right? By engaging your pelvic floor (act as though you’re trying to stop your urine midstream) before and during any abs exercise you perform, you better engage your transverse abdominals, which act as a girdle for your entire core. This helps give you a tighter midsection-quite literally-all the way around!
2. Focus on the Burn
Many times we completely zone out while working out. We’re watching TV, thinking of our to-do list, or even wishing the workout was over instead of paying attention to what we’re doing. By focusing on the exercise at hand, you not only are less prone to injury (no distractions so that you can listen to your body), but you also engage the mind-body connection which helps to recruit more muscle fibers, thereby improving your results.
3. Close Your Rib Cage
In your average sit-up you probably come up and down and don’t think much more about the movement, right? Well, when you lower down from a sit-up, pay close attention and keep your rib cage closed. This helps to “crunch” your abs more, engage your transverse abdominals, and keep your back safely supported.
4. Don’t Hold Your Breath
Your core muscles need oxygen to work at full capacity, so be sure that you keep breathing. As a general rule, you want to inhale on the easiest part of the move (on the way down from a crunch) and exhale when you have to exert the most force (on the way up on a crunch).
5. Work in All Dimensions
Your body doesn’t just work in one plane of movement, so why should your abs? Instead of always doing crunches, include abs exercises that rotate, twist and turn your body like you do in real life. Functional fitness moves such as this Side Lunge Wood Chop or this Stability Ball Chop and Twist are both great exercises to build a truly strong core.
6. Start Small
Just like you wouldn’t jump in the deep end of the pool before you know how to swim, you shouldn’t tackle a complicated or advanced core move on your first try. Start small by working in a smaller range of motion (holding a plank for 15-20 seconds), and then as your core strength improves and you master proper form, make the movement to larger and more difficult exercises.
7. Add a Weight
Dumbbells aren’t just for bicep curls! Like any other muscle, abs need to be challenged to get stronger. So if regular sit-ups aren’t doing it any more (or if you have to do more than 20 to feel the burn), throw someweight into the mix and watch your results multiply.
8. Always Warm Up Properly
A warmed up core is a happy core. Because your abs are tied in to your lower back, it’s extremely important to start any workout with a proper warm up to prevent injury. Warm those muscles up with some light marching in place and gentle standing rotation of your midsection.
9. Walk the Plank
Training your abs is not all about sit-ups and crunches. While those do work your abs, the plank is a more complete core move that works all the different parts of your abs and your upper-body. But instead of just holding the plank in a static position, engage even more of your ab strength by performing this challengingPlank Walk-Up. It’s tough, but your abs will thank you for it!
10. Picture a Grapefruit
One of the biggest mistakes people make when doing mat work for their abs is that they keep their head down. This puts unnecessary strain on your neck and takes the focus off of your abs to perform the move. Every time you’re doing abs exercises on the floor, imagine a grapefruit is lodged between your chin and your chest. For best results, don’t let your chin lower to your chest!
11. Do Squats
As exercise physiologists study and better understand the core, more and more are recommending that we think of our core not just as the stomach and lower-back area, but also as our entire pillar (meaning everything except our legs, arms, and head). To really strengthen your core, fitness professionals recommend strengthening the muscles that tie in to your pillar like your glutes. And what’s one of the best ways to fire those glutes? Deep squats, baby!
12. Train Your Lower Back
True muscle strength is all about balance. Many of us focus on toning our abs (the muscles we can see) and totally neglect our lower backs. This strength imbalance can lead to lower-back injury and pain. Here’s a good rule to remember: For every core exercise you do that only targets your abs (read: isn’t twisting, a plank, or involves standing—which all involve the back), you should do a specific low-back exercise as well like this Swan Dive. Working your lower back makes for a more complete abs workout!
13. Try Balance Work
Really want stronger abs? Incorporate balance work into your routine. Whether it’s with a Bosu, a stability ball, a balance board, or simply just standing on one leg, exercises that test your balance cause you to fire your core deeply, thereby giving you a more effective ab workout!
14. Go Slow
Think speeding through your ab workout will speed up your results? Think again. To really feel the burn, try slowing down. By changing the speed of your abs exercises, you’ll work your abs in a more targeted way that boosts strength and results!
15. Tweak Your Diet
It doesn’t matter how many hours you spend in the gym each week. If your diet isn’t on point, you’re not going to see that 6-pack. To show off those toned abs, eat a diet with plenty of lean protein, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also, follow these tips to beat belly bloat (which might be hiding your fabulous abs!)
16. Give Yourself Adequate Rest
Just like other muscles, your abs need rest. Don’t directly work your abs two days in a row. Take a recovery day in between. Rest helps give you muscles time to repair and get stronger!
17. Change It Up
Are you guilty of doing the same ab workout day after day? If so, it’s time to switch it up. In fact, for best results, you should change up your entire workout-including abs!-every four to six weeks.
18. Maintain Constant Tension
If you’re short on time, here’s an easy trick to get more for your ab-workout buck: Flex your abs and keep them that way throughout your entire core workout. Whether you’re doing crunches, planks, or balance work, squeeze those abs as if you’re preparing for someone to punch you in the gut to get even more out of your usual moves.
19. Work Your Upper Abs Last
Many traditional abs exercises target the top of your abs. Problem is, they neglect your lower abs and obliques. Try starting your workout with lower-ab moves like this Double-Leg Lower Lift and this Bicycle Maneuver, which both work multiple areas of your abs. Then, if you have time, end your training session with upper-ab work.
20. Take Yoga or Pilates
Many yoga poses and Pilates exercises are extremely good for building core strength. If you’re sick of tacking ab workouts on to the end of your cardio or strength session, trade your usual moves in for a yoga or Pilates class. Besides building core strength, these mind-body exercises can also increase your flexibility and reduce stress. Bonus!
By Jennipher Walters on Shape.com
Chronic sinus problems don’t necessarily require drugs or surgery – diet and lifestyle play important roles. Besides avoiding polluted, dusty and smoky environments (and secondhand smoke), try the following to help reduce the symptoms of chronic sinus problems:
- Eliminate milk and all milk products from your diet (including prepared foods that list dairy and its byproducts as ingredients). This can lead to dramatic improvement after about two months.
- Take astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous), the root of a native Chinese plant that boosts immune system function. The usual dose is two capsules twice a day unless otherwise directed on the package label.
- If you take an antibiotic for sinus infections, be sure to take a probiotic to restore the friendly bacteria that inhabit the digestive tract and that may be wiped out by antibiotics.
- Don’t smoke.
- If you suffer from allergies, consider equipping your house – or at least your bedroom – with a good air filter. A HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter is a good choice – it removes particles in the air by forcing it through screens containing microscopic pores.
Don’t miss tomorrow’s post for four ways to treat sinus congestion symptoms.
The Dolphin Float
This integrated core exercise builds strength and utilizes the full range of your core muscles, particularly the back.
How to Do It
From your knees, lean forward until you come to rest on your forearms with palms in prayer position. Staying on your forearms, lift legs up into plank position, curling toes under, so that your body forms a straight line (also called elbow plank). Exhale and, hinging slightly at the hips, lift hips about six inches to form a triangle. Inhale and return to elbow plank. Repeat 10 times.
Read more at Wholeliving.com: Ab Workout: Dolphin Float