Happy Friday!! I hope you’ve had a good week. My husband has a 3-day weekend so we are relaxing this afternoon, listening to Christmas music while the little one naps. I used to be so firm about no Christmas music in the house til after Thanksgiving, but Rob turns on the Christmas music in his car as soon as Halloween is over, and he’s slowly converting me to his side of this debate… 😛
Today, I wanted to talk about abs. During my pregnancy, I stopped doing specific ab exercises after the first trimester because I didn’t want to risk separating my abs (diastasis recti) which happens to approximately two-thirds of pregnant women! For my second and third trimesters, I just focused on compound exercises that use the core and engaging the abs during things like overhead shoulder presses and lat pull-downs. But now that I’ve passed the 3-month recovery mark for allowing the abs to heal and pull back together after my delivery, I’m ready to get my core back in shape!!
Abs are something that I tend to put off because I don’t really enjoy working abs as much as other muscle groups in the legs and arms. So I’ve been challenging myself to do just 7-10 minutes of ab exercises at the end of my workouts a few times a week. Some weeks have been better than others, but I’m slowly getting back into the routine.
Here are 3 of my favorite ab exercises that I wanted to share with you today!
1) Planks. You can never do too many planks. 😛 Planks are a great exercise for conditioning the core and they engage all of the major abdominal muscles, so you get a lot of bang for your buck with these! There are so many plank variations, too, so you’ll never get bored. 🙂 Start with a basic plank and once you can hold that for 30 seconds, you can begin adding in variations like the leg lift, arm reach, or using a BOSU ball for an extra stability challenge! There are so, so many plank variations out there, so check out this article with 47 different plank variations if you get bored and need some new ideas!
2) Suitcase Pass! Random name, but an awesome exercise for toning those abs!! All you need is a stability ball for this. You’ll lay on your back and pass the stability ball back and forth between your feet and hands. This is a TOUGH exercise so you may only be able to do 5 at a time, but you can slowly increase your reps every week until you’re able to complete 15 in a row!
3) Scissor Kicks. You can do these horizontally or vertically, and both are great for working those abs! Try for 30 seconds and then increase by 10 second intervals as you get stronger.
Last, but arguably the most important thing when it comes to achieving good abs: DIET. You can’t outrun (or out-crunch) a bad diet. Just because you’re working out your abs doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed good results if you’re still eating horribly. Personal trainers love to say, “Good abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym,” and it’s very true. Diet and exercise go hand in hand!
And don’t forget, as with ANY exercise, you need to be CONSISTENT with these to see results. 🙂 A good ab workout would ideally be done 3 times a week for 10-15 minutes at a time. You do not need to work out your abs every day! Rest is necessary for strengthening and building any muscle in the body, including the core.
Adding these exercises in to your workout routine will not only give you better abs, but also build a stronger overall core, give you better posture, better balance, and a higher metabolism! What are you waiting for? 🙂
Have a great weekend!!