THE “TOP” AB WORKOUTS FOR WOMEN-WITH EASY, MEDIUM & HARD LEVELS

abs

*Disclaimer: First, the cover image above, was taken before having kids. It’s not current, but dam, it’s the best i have ever looked and i am proud of it, so it’s going to be my cover image. (Hair flick!).  Second, I’m a mother and fitness lover documenting my own favorite workout moves and my own personal research. I am not a personal trainer and I am not qualified in any related health or fitness profession. When trying out any of the exercises on this blog, you need to use common sense.  To reduce and avoid injury, you will want to check with your doctor before beginning any fitness program.  By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk.  www.Greyandgold.blog will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of our online fitness videos, or information shared on our website.  This includes emails, videos, and text.  Thanks for your understanding.

 


COME BACK OFTEN AS THIS PAGE WILL ALWAYS BE UPDATED WITH NEW VIDEOS.


Before and After workout pics from having a baby.

Hello and welcome to my “Abs and Obliques” Fitness Journal workouts. I am not a personal trainer, I’m simply a mother documenting my workouts and sharing the information I have learned along the way. This blog post is designed for women, moms (pregnant and postpartum suitability notes included), fitness junkies or people just getting started. Each move (e.g. Mountain Climbers comes with a description and has variations grouped by easy, medium and hard. You will see the standard move description and if you want to get a bit creative like me, some fun new ways to mix up this move.  Most moves will come with a video to show you. I hope you enjoy. Please leave me some feedback in the comments to let me know what you think or on my fitness videos on my Instagram.

 


At the end of this post, will be combination videos that you can bookmark on Youtube and try at the gym later.


 


PLANKS

The plank is one of the best exercises for a flat, toned stomach because it works all the muscles in your core, including the rectus abdominus (the “six-pack muscles” you can see), transverse abdominus, internal and external obliques, hips, and back but it also works your glutes and hamstrings, supports proper posture, and improves balance.

CAN YOU DO IT WHILE PREGNANT? While some women can safely do planks their entire pregnancy some should skip those and do easier core exercises.  Elevated or side planks and bird dog (see description under the harder option) are probably better though.

CAN YOU DO IT POST-PARTUM? If you find that your abdominal connective tissue is still very lax, your body probably isn’t ready. That doesn’t mean planks are off the table forever. Before doing a plank again, postpartum women need to work through reconnecting with their core system and strengthening it appropriately. Start off with bird-dogs (see description below in the “harder” section. While not necessary harder strength-wise, it does involve more balance ) then move onto planks from the knees, incline planks, and finally a full front plank, increasing the time under tension slowly. You’ll know you’re ready to progress when you feel that the fascia between your abdominals is becoming denser.

  • Easy: A plank (see description below) but on your knees.
  • Medium: A standard plank.  Place the forearms on the ground with the elbows aligned below the shoulders, and arms parallel to the body at about shoulder-width distance. If flat palms bother your wrists, clasp your hands together. (Note: Any plank variations can be performed with straight arms or in a forearm position.) Increase the time as you get stronger.
    • Plank with leg or ankle raises. (See video below)

 

 

(Video: The SweatBox)

  • Harder:Pike: Start at a plank position then raise your hips upwards, lower back to a plank position and repeat.
    • You can make the pike harder by turning it into a headstand at the top, by ducking the head under. (See bellow “Plank into a headstand” for video and description). 
  • Bird-Dog: Raise your left arm out in front and your right foot up. Hold for a few seconds, then alternate. (You could even use ankle weights or elastics between both feet while raising one foot at a time). This exercise trains the body on how to stabilize the lumbar spine (low back).
  • Plank to a reverse plank using sliders. Make this extra harder by adding in leg raises. (See video below)
  •  Plank into a headstand. (See video below)Start with a plank with your feet on a slam Ball or something round, then pike up (and tucking your head under) moving into a headstand. Keeping legs straight, lower the legs and roll back down into a plank. . The trick with lowering your legs and not tumbling over is to shift your weight in your hips backwards.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS:

This is a compound exercise (one that works for multiple muscle groups), it’s efficient. Mountain Climbers works your arms, shoulders, quads, and most of all, your core. Building strength in all of your core muscles is important because the core is a major stabilizer for your body when you move, whether you’re doing a deadlift or just picking something heavy up off the ground.

CAN YOU DO IT WHILE PREGNANT? While some women can safely do planks their entire pregnancy, some should skip those and do easier core exercises.  Elevated or side planks and bird dog (see description under the harder option) are probably better though.

CAN YOU DO IT POST-PARTUM? If you find that your abdominal connective tissue is still very lax, your body probably isn’t ready. That doesn’t mean planks are off the table forever. Before doing a plank again, postpartum women need to work through reconnecting with their core system and strengthening it appropriately. Start off with bird-dogs (see description below in the “harder” section. While not necessary harder strength-wise, it does involve more balance ) then move onto planks from the knees, incline planks, and finally a full front plank, increasing the time under tension slowly. You’ll know you’re ready to progress when you feel that the fascia between your abdominals is becoming denser.

Easy: See how to do a plank under medium skill level, but do it on your knees.

Medium: 

  1. Stack your hands below your shoulders and your body in one straight line, so ensure you don’t arch your back or lift your hips too high. Make sure your neck stays in line with your body so it’s easy just to look between your hands on the ground.
  2. Quickly draw your right knee into your chest, and extend the leg back out as you drive your left knee to your chest. To raise your heart rate, run your knees in as quickly as you can.

Harder: Raise your legs up on something (e.g. a wall) to take more weight in your torso. Here are two examples of it:

 

 

 

 

 


SIDE PLANK/CRUNCH.

These exercises work core muscles including the obliques and transverse abdominis to stabilize the spine. The other primary stabilizer of this pillar, the gluteus medius, also activates to link the hips to the ab region.
While getting into the proper form is straightforward, holding the position takes strength and endurance in your abs, back, and core. The plank is one of the best exercises for core conditioning but it also works your glutes and hamstrings, supports proper posture, and improves balance.
  • IS THIS SAFE TO DO WHILE PREGNANT? Yes, but as it gets harder and your baby grows, shorten the time or plank on your knees, a plank on an incline (something elevated like a box, table, or chair)  or planks against a wall on an incline, or, of course, a side plank. You could hold three 20-second planks with breaks rather than push through a 1-minute plank.
  • IS THIS SAFE TO DO POSTPARTUM? AVOID planks until 16 weeks postpartum.

 

  • Easy:Plank: Start on the floor on your hands and knees. Lower your forearms to the floor with elbows positioned under your shoulders and your hands shoulder-width apart. If someone looked at you from the side, your arms would form a 90-degree angle. Step your feet back, one at a time. Maintain a straight line from heels through the top of your head, looking down at the floor, with gaze slightly in front of your face. Now, tighten your abs and hold. Watch out your hips don’t sag as once the hips go, your back will arch.
    • Standing up with a kettle ball (See video below) Hold a kettle ball in one arm.  Keeping your hips and knees in line with your spine, contract your core and turn on all the muscles that surround it to keep from slumping over to the side. Only when you can master this isolation hold using pristine mechanics and form do you dare to progress into a side crunch!

 

 

(Video: The SweatBox)

Medium: Start with a weight above your head.  Twist your torso and lower the weight to your side. Snap the weight back up to the original positioning using your obliques to power the movement. (See the video below).

 

 

(Video: The SweatBox)

  • Hard: The tempo side-plank crunch: This can produce loads of tension without the actual load of using weights. Balance your legs in some TRX bands. Plank with precise side-bending crunches with a slow descent of your bottom hip towards the ground and add an explosive side bend back up into neutral. (See video below)

 

(Video: The SweatBox)


USING SLIDERS:

 

  • Slider. Plank to a downward dog. (See video above)


OTHER AB WORKOUTS:

  • Kneeling Ab lifts: (See video below)

 

 HEADSTANDS:

Easy: To execute the reverse leg lift get into a headstand; at first maintain your balance by simply leaning against the wall. While keeping your legs straight, lower your legs down until you feet LIGHTLY touch the floor and then pull back to an inverted position.

 

Medium:

  • As your strength improves, simply add weight to your ankles either with ankle weights or the nylon strap to hold Olympic plates when you get really strong. 
    • Harder:

Weighted reverse leg lifts while in a free balancing headstand.

    Perform reverse leg lifts with straight arms (head off the ground) and your shoulders leaning against the wall to preserve your balance. Turning your hands sideways will help to alleviate pressure on your wrists if wrist flexibility is an issue for you. (This is a much more difficult variation than with your head on the ground and may even require that you drop back down to using no weight.)
    • Freestanding 1/2 pike press to handstand (a full pike press is from either an L-seat or Manna); the starting position is essentially the same as the previous variation, however, there is no wall to lean on to relieve the pressure on the shoulder girdle. (Once again, this is an exponential jump in difficulty over the previous variation and may take quite some time to correctly master. During this movement, initially, you will feel extreme effort from the lower back all the way past the shoulder girdle and into the arms.)

 

MIXED VIDEOS TO CHECK OUT:

 



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