Welcome to another edition of Fitness Friday!
I’m not sure about you guys, but I reeeeally dislike doing ab work. I don’t have the personal motivation to stick it through a long plank. I don’t like taking a break during my heart-pumping workout to lay down on a mat. I justify skipping ab work all the time because I’m “bracing my core” during all my other exercises.
Truth is, yes, we work our core in almost every exercise we do. But that alone is not enough. Core strength is imperative to everyday movement. A weak core can lead to a slew of pains and injuries in your back. I’m the kind of trainer who will tell you crunches are lame, but that doesn’t mean we should skip out on the core work all together.
The following are a list of some of my favourite core exercises. They’re the few that motivate me enough to focus on my tummy. And when done properly, it hurts to laugh the next day. The true sign of a good ab workout ;)
Start holding a medicine ball or dumbbell (5-15 lbs). Come down into a partial squat, bring the weight to one side like you’re picking something up. The straighten up and push the weight above your head on the other side. Really exaggerate the movements to get the full benefit of the exercise.
Sit Up on Ball
Sit on the edge of the ball with your feet planted on the ground. Let your spine fall over the ball, and pull yourself up using your abs. Try not to let the ball roll underneath you. As this gets easier, you can hold a plate or medicine ball at your chest or above the head.
Lay on the floor with your arms to your sides. Bring your feet above your body, with a slight bend to the knee. Using your abs, lift your hips toward the sky. Try not to tense up your neck and shoulders and don’t use force to get your hips up. As this gets easier, you can try doing it on a decline bench.
With your feet on top of a ball and hands under your shoulders, roll your feet in toward your chest. Try to keep your hips down and control with your abs.
A step up from the prone jackknife. Start in the same position, but bring your hips up in the air and toes on the ball. This one is hardcore!
Take a seat with your feet on the floor and slight bend to the knee. Keeping your back straight, lean back bringing your torso to about 45 degrees. Hold your arms straight out in front of your chest (better with a weight like a dumbbell or ball) and twist your torso side to side. Try not to move your arms too much and keep the twist solely in your core. Make it harder by lifting your feet off the floor and/or sitting on the round part of a bosu ball.
When I don’t feel like doing a plank, I do a boat pose to get my isometric core work in. Take on a similar position to the Russian twist, leaning back with a straight torso and slightly behind your sit bones. To begin, keep your knees at 90 degrees and shins parallel to the floor. Once you master that, bring your legs straight out like in the picture. Want to make it even harder? Get out that bosu ball!
Hanging Leg Raises
One of the hardest ones, but amazing once you master it! You can usually find horizontal bars on the cable machines at the gym. For a beginner, start by bending your knees toward your chest. Straighten your legs once you have that down, stopping once they’re parallel to the floor. Once you have that mastered, you can bring them all the way up like in the picture!
As always, there are tons more ab exercises to do. This is just a handy list of the ones I find to be:
Just don’t watch any funny movies after ;)
Question of the Day: What’s your favourite ab exercise?
Please, do not adjust your monitors.
Yes, I know it is Thursday and not Waffle Wednesday. But some weeks, one day of celebration is just not enough.
So much decadence for 9 in the morning. I almost couldn’t handle it. But then I got a grip on myself and gobbled it all up :)
Other wonderful eats from the day included a homemade shrimp burger. I remember seeing shrimp burgers on the menu of a burger place in Calgary. I desperately wanted to try it, but knew that when in Calgary, you eat the beef. Needless to say, the idea of a shrimp patty has been teasing my taste buds ever since.
Started with a dozen large raw shrimp (bought frozen then defrosted). Cut up small then mixed in:
- 1 tbsp bread crumbs (I used a smashed up rye cracker)
- 1 tbsp egg whites
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise (Yes a whole tablespoon. Do it.)
- Pinch dried garlic
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Pinch black pepper
It’s not a sticky mixture like beef or turkey burgers. Very wet and sloppy because shrimp is so, well, wet. I plopped it on my George Foreman grill, but you could also put it in a frying pan or the oven. Just make sure it’s at a low temp and as time to cook on one side so it doesn’t crumble when you try to flip it over.
Makes one large patty. Eaten on an english muffin with spinach, red onion, ketchup and mustard.
Ohmy. It was goooood. The mayo in the mix is what really made it tasty. I have a feeling my taste buds will be wanting this more often!
On the side I had some of my microwave sweet potato chips. All you do is slice up a sweet tater real thin, spread it out on a plate, season, and nuke for a ludicrous amount of time. For these, I microwaved them for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Once cooled, they get crunchy like a chip!
While not eating today, I was also exercising. Almost done the first week of my new lifting split and I really like it! My body was completely hammered after a week off exercise. Major DOMS after my first couple days. Even from just doing sprints on the elliptical! Anyways, if you’re curious, here is what my Shoulder/Abs workout looked like today:
Warm-up: 5 minutes walking on the treadmill + 1 mile run
Arnold press @ 10 lbs x 15
15 lbs x 10
20 lbs x 5
10 lbs x 10
Cool-down: 1 mile run + 5 minutes walking
That opening press set killed my shoulders. It was all downhill from there ;) And in case you can’t tell, I hate doing crunches. Give me a plank any day!
Kind of ironic that I just started myself on a weight lifting focused workout routine, as I suspect I may now be doing a lot more running!
You see, I got a part-time job! At a running store!!
Even though I am a full-time personal trainer, I still don’t work the usual 8 hours a day. My client base is still increasing, but I am finding myself with a lot of down time. Especially on weekends. So I’ll be selling running shoes, clothing, gadgets and apparel to Toronto runners in my spare time. The extra money will be great and I’m really looking forward to meeting some more fitness-minded folk! They also do a run club and running clinics that I’ll probably start participating in as well. I’m pretty stoked about the employee discount. I’m desperate for a new pair of running shoes!
I’d just like to say, as for my full-time job of training, I am loving it. I’m to the point now where I’m starting to see results with my clients (one guy has already dropped 8% body fat with me!) and it is so rewarding. Not to mention, I’ve already had a few clients renew training packages with me, so it’s nice to know they like and respect me enough to want to keep working with me!
Now I am off to pack! I’m heading to Buffalo, NY for weekend with some friends. A special edition Fitness Friday post will be going up, but it will have to last you until I’m back on Sunday. Have a great weekend everyone! xo