My clients are already thinking Spring Break, and it is only a month away! With all the fun right around the corner, it’s time to get your body right. Wherever your vacation may be, you will find yourself hiking to see landmarks, walking miles shopping, and just relaxing by the pool in that swimsuit. Be proud of the body you have, and know it will carry you through all those challenges easily when you treat it right. Get moving with this core workout. Your core (or abs) is literally central to all your body’s movements, especially posture and breathing. This workout is designed to hit the abs from all different angles, just in time to make your Spring Break effortless.
After the 15 minute warmup, perform 2 sets of each circuit. This workout is about an hour long, including warmup.
Stair Master: In this workout, we’re using this as a warm up, so set your pace accordingly for 15 minutes. Most Stair Masters will move slightly when you first step up, but don’t be alarmed. It won’t start moving until you hit go. Then, it is just like you are climbing stairs. Hold the hand rails, if needed, for balance. But please try not to bend over! We want good, upright posture in real life, so that goes for the stair master, too!
Bar Leg Lifts: Usually, I set the bar up in the squat rack. You can add weight if you are up for the challenge. Lift the bar off the rack and hold with straight arms directly over chest. Using your lower abs, lift you legs straight up towards the bar. Lower and repeat movement. The bar adds more stability to this movement as your abs are working to lift the legs, but also maintain the bar in a balanced position.
Crunches: Lay your back on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat. Use your abdominal muscles to crunch your torso up. You can put your hands behind your head, just be sure not to yank on your neck with each rep. I prefer to cross my arms on my torso, then crunch up looking towards the ceiling.
Bosu Bird Dog: Wow, talk about stability!!! Start with bosu on ground with ball side up. Balance your knees and hands on the ball in an “all fours” position. Simultaneously lift your left arm and right leg, extending both into a straight line. Performing this move slow helps to maintain the balance, but be sure to contract those abs and hold tight. If necessary, you can flex your resting foot so your toe touches the ground, helping balance for each rep. I tried to do this with my toes pointed to make the movement even harder. Repeat on opposite side until all reps are completed.
Bar Good Mornings: You can perform this in the squat rack for easier access and the ability to add weights. Start with bar across upper back (just like a squat). Hinge forward at your hips to bend, keeping torso straight and keeping legs as straight as possible (tight hamstrings, anyone?). Hinge until your torso is parallel to the ground, then squeeze your spinal erectors (literally called erector spinea), booty, and hamstrings to stand up tall.
Hip Rocks: Lay with your back on the ground and legs in a butterfly position. You can position your hands behind your head to support the neck, or underneath your butt to support your lower back. Swing those hips up, trying to maintain that butterfly position. I love this exercise for those lower abs. It really targets them by taking the hip flexors mostly out of the movement because of the position of our legs.
Bosu Crunch to Jump: Set Bosu so ball side is up. Start with your butt on the very edge of the bosu and knees bent. Lean back so your back is supported along the curve of the ball, then use those abs to crunch up. Keep that momentum moving as you push out of your legs and jump high into the air, reaching up. This move is good for heart rate, core, and especially those hip flexors (the group of muscles connecting your core to your hips).
Seated Bar Oblique Twists: Start seated on a bench with bar across your shoulders. Twist back and forth, being sure to engage your core to both sit up tall and control the twist. For this movement, I leaned slightly forward just as I came to full twist position; this helped me to really engage my obliques. However, be sure as you twist back up to center that you are again sitting tall with good posture. You can add weights to this one, but I would also use those clips for safety!
Bench V-Ups: Using the bench, balance your butt on the very edge. Extend your legs out and torso back, then squeeze those abs to pull the knees and chest up towards each other. The abs are still engaged when the body extends fully, so you don’t fall off the bench.
Bosu Side Plank: With Bosu set ball side up, balance one bent elbow on the ball. The elbow should remain directly under shoulder. Body should be in a straight line down to your feet. I like to stack my feet, but you can also stagger feet, which would also help with balance. Extend resting arm into air for an even harder challenge. If you are feeling a lot of tension or pressure in your working shoulder, try to think about actively engaging your side abs (obliques). They should be doing the most work in this movement. Switch sides, so both are evenly worked.