30 Day Abs Challenge (How to do the exercises correctly)

**I will post video tutorials of each exercise by Friday April 25th, 2014. **

 

1. 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.

STEP BY STEP GUIDE

  1. Have your knees bent and the balls of your feet and heels placed flat on the ground.
  2. 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.
  3. Tighten your abdominal muscles gently by drawing in your belly button to your spine
  4. 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.

 

2. 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

STEP BY STEP GUIDE

  1. 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.
  2. Bend your legs and raise them, keeping your toes pointed. Your thighs should be perpendicular to your body, while your shins are parallel.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Slowly raise your legs back up to the ceiling.
  6. Repeat 5 times, then rest for 30 seconds. Try to do 3 sets for now – you can add more later on.

 

3. How to do PLANK Exercises

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

  1. Start off on a yoga mat in the pushup position. Starting with the pushup position is the easiest way to get into the plank.
  2. 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.
  3. Curl your toes under and engage your abs by tilting your pelvis and pulling your belly button toward your spine.
  4. 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.
  5. Flex your abdominals and squeeze your glutes. These are the two major muscle groups you’ll be working out in this exercise.
  6. 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.

4. How to do a Crunch Exercise

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.

STEP BY STEP GUIDE

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Lift your shoulders towards the ceiling using your abdominal muscles and pause at the peak.[1] 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.

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