Tuesday, January 06, 2009

AB FAB - Exercise

Question from readers: What is your secret to flat abs?
I'm a non-athletic girly girl. If you asked me to run a mile, or play basketball.. I would really struggle. So, maybe it's just genes or maybe it's luck... but just maybe it's the way I live my life that makes me have a flat tummy.

I've sectioned AB FAB into 3 parts - Exercise, Diet and Trickery! (One part each day, starting today with Exercise)


Holly Jean's 6 AB FAB Exercises
I don't believe in spending hours pounding away at the gym. But here are a few simple and quite pretty looking exercises that you can incorporate into your week. :)

Exercise 1- Crunches:

Using an exercise ball to do crunches really works your core abdominal muscles. Lie with your back molded to the ball. You should try to place the small of your back right on top of the ball. Then straighten your body and place your feet firmly on the floor. Your spine needs to be as straight as possible to allow you to take balanced breaths and avoid back problems.

Do your crunches as usual, bringing the upper half of your body up.

People always ask me for numbers- so I'd day 3 sets of 10, about 3 times a week. But really, I'd just do as many as I can while still feeling good. Some days I can do more, other days I suck... exercise at your own pace, no sweat.

Exercise 2- Hanging Leg raises:Just like the previous exercise (which is a better version of the plain abdominal crunch or sit up) hanging leg raises are a more difficult and effective version to the old leg raises (where you lie on the floor and raise your legs up and down).

This exercise isolates and works on your lower abs.

Position yourself in the hanging leg raise machine with your hands holding the grips and your forearms resting on the padded arm rests. Keep your lower back against the back rest and keep your chin down toward your chest. Allow your legs to hang down with heels together.

Now, use your lower ab muscles to lift your legs straight up in front of you in a slow and controlled movement. Do not swing your legs or use your lower back to lift. I just do as many as i can (which is not many! very difficult!)

Exercise 3- Stepping: Spot reduction (working on one spot of the body only) sounds like a great idea. However, for the abdominal area, no matter how strong your core is, or how much muscles you have in the abs, it will still look flabby if your body is flabby. So spend a bit of time on the stepper or treadmill (I hate running.. so bloody boring.. and my knees hate the pounding). I prefer the stepper because it also helps shape the calf muscles! No stepper? Just go up and down a flight of stairs while listening to music or yakking on the phone.


Exercise 4 - Floor Work:Go on your arms and knees. Stick out your left arm and right leg, keeping them parallel to the floor. Hold it there for as long as you can, and feel the stretch. Repeat for other side.
Another exercise I love is this one ( don't know what it's called). Lie on your front. Then lift yourself onto your elbows and forearms, and toes. Almost like a push up position. Keep your knees off the floor. Make sure your body is straight, do not arch your back or stick out your tummy. You may need to be by a mirror to check. Stay in this position as long as you can. You will feel your abs burn.

Exercise 5 - Scissor Leg Raises:
On a bench (or on the floor) lie on your back and raise your legs in front of you at about a 45 degree angle. You will know you got the angle right when you can feel your abs working to hold your legs in place. If it's too easy then you're probably lifting your legs too high.
Make a scissor action when you open and shut your legs. Keep them raised at that angle, don't lower or raise them.

Exercise 6 - Lower Back:
A big mistake people make when trying to work on the tummy is that they neglect the lower back. A weak lower back will give you problems, and pains when you exercise. When you strengthen your lower back, not only will it improve your waist and silhouette, but it will allow you to do your abdominal exercises better.

If you cannot get to an inclined platform like the one in the picture, you can also do this exercise on the floor. Lying face down, put your hands to the side of your head and lift your upper body up. Do about 3 sets of 10.


:) Of course, the sad truth is - results will vary from person to person. But on average you should feel and see results in 3 weeks (if you consistently do it at least 3 times a week). Good Luck! And do keep me updated!

Watch out for: Diet section tomorrow, and Trickery section on Thursday!

15 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:00 pm

    that pic of you going up the stairs has has made my right arm much stronger already :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Exercise 4: that exercise of arms and feet on the floor, with your abs up, is call "Bridge", if I didn't remember wrongly.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous4:13 pm

    It's actually called The Plank. The Bridge is the one where you lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Then you arch your back so that you end up balancing on your hands and feet.

    ReplyDelete
  4. anonymous 2:00pm, may I suggest you alternate hands at each session so as to even out the workout :)


    Biao yong and anonymous 4.13pm, thanks for clearing tht up.. yes.. i think it is called the plank

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous10:11 pm

    i think your exercise tips only work for someone as slim as you with low fat content. for heavier people, they have to work on losing the weight proportionately. otherwise, crunches would make fat people feel even a bigger bulge on tummy. my 10 cents worth here cos am fat!

    ReplyDelete
  6. hi anonymous 10:11:

    If tht is the case, then you should focus of taking in less calories, and swapping to healthier natural foods like vegs (for fibre and bulk), and focus on Exercise 3 (or any other cardio workout... like running), as I said, we cannot achieve a flat tummy if the rest of us is flabby.

    Don't give up ok! It's do-able!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous11:52 pm

    awesome butt. lp and tp

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous1:05 pm

    you seem to be eating a lot of good food. Do you force vomit? is that why you have a flat tummy?

    ReplyDelete
  9. to work the sides, alternate the plank on your right and left. Try holding 30s for a start, working up to 1min.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous4:57 pm

    american club gym

    ReplyDelete
  11. nope.

    I've never been to the American Club gym... does it look like this?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous5:25 am

    it's london bridge!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous5:26 am

    Are you from fitness first? I'm from that gym haha!

    ReplyDelete
  14. :) nope not fitness first.

    went down there for a "tour" a couple of months back.. it's a bit too cramp for my comfort ( the paragon one).

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous6:43 pm

    Exercise 6 - Lower Back:
    if we didn't have the machine and how does it work without the machine.
    i don't really understand.
    because i don't go gym,so i wish i can do it at home.
    thanks.

    ReplyDelete