I've been trying to strike up a nice balance here lately by posting an indulgent recipe followed by a post from my winter workout series. This workout is one I have been using for a while and I'm really happy with it. And the best part is, you can do this workout at home!
I developed this routine from workouts I did for ultimate frisbee and tips from my brother. This core routine works out every single part of your abdominals - the lower abdominals, upper abdominals, sides (by your ribs), and obliques (by your hips). Remember when you're doing these workouts to always keep your core engaged, meaning keep your back straight and your core muscles tight. If you've never done this workout before, try doing a set of 10 reps for each exercise. Then, gauge how well you can do each exercise and set a baseline level that is challenging but doable. This was my baseline level for the first set I did:
20 side crunches (each side)
15 leg lifts
15 Russian twists w/ 4 lb ball
Once I was comfortable doing this set, I added a second set, meaning I went through the rotation a second time. And then once I became comfortable with that (meaning it was no longer challenging), I added on a third set.
I wouldn't recommend going past 3 sets for this workout, so if you find one of these exercises is comfortable for you, start upping your reps for that exercise instead of adding on another set (that is why I'm not doing the same number of reps for most of the different exercises). Make sure you're working at a pace that is challenging but it isn't difficult enough so that you can't complete it. It'll take a lot of adjusting, but once you find the numbers that work for you this routine will really get you into shape. Here's a run down on how to do each of the above exercises.
Please note that I am not a trained professional. I crafted this workout based on exercises I had done in fitness classes and during my training for ultimate frisbee. If any part of this workout is painful do not continue to do it.
I know, easy, right? I used to do dozens of crunches without a second thought until a fellow gym goer pointed out I was heading towards injury. When you're doing crunches, make sure you're looking straight up at the ceiling and not at the wall in front of you. If you tuck your chin to your chest while you're doing crunches, you're going to strain your neck. Lift yourself off of the ground with your abdominals by contracting them and not by pulling yourself up by your shoulders.
Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle so your calves are parallel with the floor. Lock your hands behind your head and keep your elbows out to your sides. Lift yourself off of the ground as if you're doing a crunch, but twist your torso so that your left elbow touches your right knee. Immediately twist your torso the other way so your right elbow touches your left knee. As you alternate between legs, extend one leg as you touch your knee to the other. That was 1 rep. Do not lower yourself back to the floor. Keep your shoulders off the ground and your core engaged as you continue through your reps.
Lie on your right side with your knees slightly bent and your hips stacked (make sure your knees match up evenly). Contract your left side to bring your right shoulder off the ground. Lower yourself back down. That was 1 rep. Make sure to switch to your left side when you have finished all of your reps.
Lie on your back and lift your legs up so they are at a 45 degree angle with the ground. Lower your legs just to the point before your lower back lifts off the ground. Hold for a second and raise back up to a 45 degree angle. That was 1 rep.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle so your calves are parallel with the floor. Grab a medicine ball (or foam ball) and twist your body to the right, touching the ball to the floor. Twist your body to the left, touching the ball to the floor. This was 1 rep. Keep your back straight and your legs up off the floor for the entire set.
As always, if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email. Hope you guys enjoy this workout as much as I do :)