In this week's blog, Dana shows us five exercises that help to achieve those six-pack abs. Everyone likes a good core probably for the superficial reasons of having six-pack abs and just looking really cool. However, having a strong core is actually very important for performance and safety when working out.
Benefits Of A Strong Core
"Having a strong core is going to keep your back nice and tight, and it's going to support your spine so even without six-pack abs, strengthening your core is important. Yes, we want to look good but it's also important to have a strong core. So, today, I have 10 minutes - 10 minutes of work - it will take at most 15 minutes to get through, 5 exercises - no big deal. Let's get our core nice and strong so we can lift a little bit better. "
"All right in the first exercise, we are going to be targeting those lower abs. There are a few different names for them but I call them Halos, some people call them hip circles. We are basically going to be drawing a circle with our feet together, so I am going to go clockwise, and then when I get back to this point I am going to go counterclockwise.
For each one of these exercises, I am doing it for a minute in total. However, if you are a beginner, then start with 20 seconds and then add another 20. Work your way up to a minute. To keep it easy for me I am doing it for a minute straight, especially on the ones where you are doing two different directions."
"Some refer to these as butterfly sit-ups but you are going to have your feet together. *Side Note* Anytime you anchor your feet on the ground, you're going to start adding in your hip flexors, so if you're doing abs and all you do is feel your hip flexors working but right now we are not working them. So instead of pulling up with your hip flexors, we are going to have the bottoms of our feet touching together. You are really going to push your feet together and you should feel this in your hamstrings. Lie down on your back, feet together, and crunch up focusing on pushing the feet together.
In between each set of 1 minutes non-stop, we are taking a 30-second break."
High Plank - Thread The Needle
"The next exercise is going to be split into 30 seconds and 30 seconds because we are using both sides of our bodies. This one is called a High Plank - Thread the Needle, position yourself into your high plank and the big thing here is to try and keep your shoulder stacked over your arm.
Stack your feet up and reach your hand up into the air, lower your hip down and raise it back up. When you come back up with your hand in the air, use that hand to lower down and reach under your body towards the opposite hip. Curl in as much as possible but the movement should replicate threading a needle!"
Black Widow Knee Slide
"Stay in a high plank and alternate sides, so instead of just staying on one side, you are going to alternate back and forth. I am also going to add some glute action in this one so start in your high plank and drive your right knee to your right elbow, slide it up (round your back and crunch upward) and kick your leg high up & back. Set it down and then do the same to the other side. Knee to elbow - slide it up and kick back. The big thing here is that little side up you’re going to crunch into a little ball so you’re going to round forward."
"The last exercise I am going to do targets the obliques. On this exercise we are also going to limit how much we use the hip flexors by keeping our feet on the ground. Often times when you see people do Russian Twists, they are facing up like your body is a V. You are so focused on keeping your legs up which is good because it’s still working your core, but it’s a lot of hip flexors.
Lean back at a slight angle and you're going to go back and row as far as possible, try to get that elbow behind your back, and then twist. Make sure to keep your feet on the ground. This would be a great exercise to add in some extra weight but not necessary if you actually want to focus on squeezing your core. I am also slowing them down instead of just flying through them."
"There are five staple exercises I do for my core work! When it comes to any of these, work your way up to a minute if you are a beginner. Do each movement slowly and take your time, then rest for 30-seconds, and move to exercise two. If you are able to start at a minute then I suggest sticking with it for a bit until you feel ready to add another 20 seconds. Grab a timer and just do your best!
There is no excuse to not have a strong core - You can do this workout anywhere so give it a try!"
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