I started doing ab workouts at a very young age. I was probably 8 years old when we started doing leg races at the end of ballet class. And as I moved to higher levels, our ab muscle exercises increased in variation and difficulty. By the latter part of my dancing years, we were doing some pilates ab workouts already.
When I started doing wushu, training workouts were more athletically challenging, including the ab exercises. I found myself doing a lot of V-ups and some dynamic twisting ab workouts with weights.
Summer is coming and I’m sure a lot of you want to work on that beach bod including a defined mid section. For those who are starting out, here are three basic ab workouts that I started with.
1) Leg Races
Lie flat on your back. You can either place your hands under your butt for support or grab on to the legs of a heavy chair. Extend your legs up with your knees straight. Slowly bring down your legs until they’re parallel to the floor and about 3 inches above the ground. Raise your legs back up to the starting position.
Lie flat on your back then fold your legs up with your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands at the back of your head with your elbows away from your ears. Sit up until your chest reaches your knees then lie down again to go back to the starting position.
Prop yourself up facing the floor with your elbows and toes on the floor while the rest of your body is suspended parallel to the floor. Keep your body straight, abs and butt engaged, and shoulder blades flat. You can do a high plank first, with your hands supporting you, not the elbows, if the low plank is too difficult then try it again once you’re stronger.
You can start with 20 reps of the first two exercises and then 30 seconds of the plank position, 3 sets, 3 times a week. 🙂 And when it gets easy, add more. For example, increase to 30 reps and 45 seconds. If you already have a workout routine, you can add this to the end, before cooling down and stretching.
Building those stomach muscles takes some time and maintaining them after takes diligence. So be patient and don’t stop after summer ends! Try to make ab workouts a staple every time you hit the gym.
Enjoy and don’t give up!