I've got quite a few tricks up my sleeve for this notorious section of a woman's body, and all of them are tried and true. Today I've got a Fitness Friday post that your abs will love. It's a set of two pilates moves that are simple to understand but will seriously work your stomach. And in case you're a visual learner like I am, I made videos! The reason I'm showing these to you today is that they don't require any equipment whatsoever, so if the whole fitness thing is new to you and you have yet to acquire any supplies, you won't be left out. You can do these moves on your living room floor! I would recommend using a yoga mat if you have one, or choosing a carpeted area of your home to cushion your back.
The first move is what I'll refer to as "The Scissors".
Start by laying flat on your back with your arms alongside you, palms down. Lift both your legs straight into the air so that your body makes an "L" shape. Move your feet so that one crosses over the other, then alternate. As you are taking these little scissor steps, you will lower your legs toward the ground. Count each time you move one foot in front of the other- it should take you about 8 steps to get to the bottom. At that time, you will take 8 more steps to get back to your starting position. Each time you scissor your way toward the ground and then back up again, that counts as 1 full move.
Dr. Holly* recommends: If you are new to working your abs, you should probably start with a set of 4. If your abs are accustomed to occasional exercise, do a set of 8. And if you are a seasoned pro whose abs are so trained that you find it difficult to make them sore anymore, do 2-3 sets of 8.
I call this next move "The Figure 8".
You will be starting in the same position as the last move. Keeping your feet together the whole time, trace a large figure 8 with your toes in a very controlled motion. Your feet should be close to the floor as you complete the lower part of the shape. Once you reach the top, back to your starting position, do another figure 8 in the opposite direction. Each time you complete a figure 8 in both directions, that counts as one full move.
Dr. Holly* recommends: The same as the last move- a set of 4 for beginners, 8 if you consider yourself intermediate, and 2-3 sets of 8 if your abs can handle advanced training. I would like to add that while you are doing either of these moves, DO NOT HOLD YOUR BREATH! They require a lot of concentration and control, but make an effort to take regular breaths. You will get fatigued much more quickly if you're depriving your body of oxygen. So breathe deeply and often if you want the stamina to really work those abs!
*Disclaimer- I am not a real doctor, just a know-it-all fitness enthusiast who wants to help others find the fun in living a healthy lifestyle. Please do not attempt any exercise moves unless you can do so without injuring yourself.
I'm hoping you will find these to be a worthy addition to your fitness routine. Don't overdo it, just give them a try and see how they work out. If your abs aren't even the slightest bit sore the next day, take it up a notch the next time. The important thing is to find a good balance for your body and go from there. Stay tuned for more Fitness Friday posts!