My Favorite Abs
Below you will find four abdominal exercises I am obsessed with right now. They are tough, but give you an option that isn't jarring like some exercises. With these you are forced to remain controlled and use smooth, fluid movements, giving your abs no room to cheat! Shoot for two sets of each.
1) Oblique V-ups-Start with light weights or a medicine ball overhead in a supine position. Fold at the waist and bring body into a "V" shaped position while bringing weight to one side of the body, adding the oblique twist. Try for 10 on each side to start. Work up to 20 each side.
2) Body Rolls- Begin with arms planted at side pressing into the ground,then gently roll the spine bringing your straight legs into plow position, then gently lower legs to start, one vertebrae at a time. Anyone with lower back pain should avoid this exercise! Repeat 10 times.
3) L-shaped Leg Hovers- Holding legs in an "L" position (either letting your leg hover slightly over the ground, or rest it on the ground if you need to work up to the hover) touch your fingers together around the back of your thigh, going back and forth from around your thigh to the outside of that leg, working your obliques in a slight twist. I use breathing to count this one. 2 deep breaths in and out in each position. Repeat 5 times then switch legs. Remember to keep your neck in line with your spine to avoid unnecessary pulling in neck and shoulders.
4) Plank Swing- My new favorite! Starting in a down-dog position on one arm, swing the opposite arm to reach out as you move into plank, your arm forming an extension of the plank position. Keep your hips in line and square to the ground. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.
Just a quick note- none of these exercises should be done by people with chronic lower back pain. If you know how to modify, you can, but if these seem complicated to you, you are better off working up the core strength in a simple plank position until you gain the strength for your back!