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All I Want for Christmas is Abs!

by ScottG. on December 19, 2012

Oh man, there is nothing more grueling than a 60 min. core workout. I usually dread core days because they're hard and the exercises seem redundant. Even though a six pack isn't on the top of my wish list, I know that working my core is necessary for my overall health and fitness goals.

Most people only think about a six pack when they think of their core but there's so much more to it than that. Your core muscles include all of the muscles in your midsection including your pelvis, hips, lower back AND abs. You use your core everyday while laughing, picking things up, walking as well as just standing up.

My trainer Frank tries to include core muscles in every exercise that we do. Any time you can do an exercise standing up or sitting without support, you're engaging your core muscles at the same time. However, there are many exercises that really target your core muscles. And like I've said before, there's more to it than just crunches and sit ups. Here are a couple exercises I did with Frank today.

BALL CRUNCH
Crunches are the most popular ab exercise but they get boring. If you're bored, think about your poor abs! Mix it up, get on the ball and throw your abs a curve ball.

How to do it:

  • Sit on an exercise ball.
  • Step your feet away from you, allowing the ball to roll up your back slightly. The higher you stay on the ball, the harder the exercise will be.
  • Lift your upper body, focusing on shortening the distance between your lower rib cage and your pelvis.

BALL PLANKS
These can be done on the floor on your hands or forearms but using a medicine ball or exercise ball is much harder. Start with 30 seconds and work your way up to 60, 90 or more. Increase the difficulty and change it up by placing the ball under your feet.

How to do it:

  • Get into the plank position and hold for 30 seconds.
  • Rest and then repeat for the desired number of reps.

V-UPS
These will kick your butt but it's all for a good cause! They can be done on the floor (safer if you're just starting out) or on the end of the bench. To make it harder keep your arms and legs extended to add resistance.

How to do it:

  • Lie flat on the floor with your legs straight and your arms extended over head.
  • Lift your arms and feet off the floor towards each other, balancing on your sit bones.
  • Hold and slowly lower to the starting position.
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