Workout Wednesday: Killer Abs

We've all done them... endless cycles of crunches, multiple reps of sit-ups, and the popular electric ab stimulator that jiggle your stomach to create some form of mass that looks like abdominal muscles.

My secret confession is that I ABSolutely love working out those abdominals. It feels simply amazing, and is probably the one muscle group that I work out almost daily.

There are so many really cool ab workout programs out there to help you get a lean and smooth contour of the stomach muscles. One of my favorites that I still use from time to time is the Hip Hop Abs workout video with Shaun T. It is a great workout with awesome music and not a single crunch; it is all about standing abs.

Abs are not just about the abs... they incorporate your core, and therefore, your back. I will share five of my favorite core workouts that will help tame your tummy!!

1. BALL ROLL OUT  - Kneel directly behind a large exercise ball with your palms on top of the ball, arms straight. Slowly roll the ball forward and away from you, stretching your body out as you go. Roll out as far out in front of you as you can while still maintaining balance and without losing control of the ball.

2. PILATES BEGINNER "100" Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet together. Lift your bent legs off the floor so that your knees are aligned over your hips. Stretch your arms out at your sides a few inches above the floor, palms facing down. Pull your bellybutton in towards your spine.
 3. SIDE PLANKSLie on your left side with your left forearm on the floor perpendicular to your body and your right hand resting on your side. 
Stack your legs and hips and pull your bellybutton in towards your spine. Raise your body up by straightening and lengthening the waist so that you are balanced on your left forearm and the bottom of your left foot.

4. YOGA BEGINNER BOATSit up tall on the floor with your legs out straight and palms down, fingertips pointing towards your feet. Maintain your tall and lifted spine as you lean back, balance on your sits-bones, and lift your legs up off the floor as high as you feel comfortable;
use your fingertips to help balance and bend your knees as much as you need to accommodate for your level of strength and flexibility. Lift your arms up so your fingertips are alongside your knees.

5. PILATES DOUBLE LEG STRETCH - Lie on your back with your belly button pulled in towards your spine. Bring your knees in towards your chest and grasp your shins in your hands as you round your back to lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor. Inhale deeply as you simultaneously extend your legs out straight about a foot off the floor and stretch your arms behind you so that your elbows are alongside your ears.

Enjoy every moment of abs workout. Remember to stay tight during the entire session and you will see results quickly!!

In Health,
~ Q. Olivia

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