Did you know that many muscles, including the glutes, lower back, upper back, and quads to name a few, contribute to the look and strength of your abdominal wall? Did you also know that you don’t have to go around pulling your abs in all the time to have a strong midsection. In fact, this is something I am still unlearning after a well meaning friend of my parents slapped me on my tummy when I was 11 and told me to suck in which has, in addition to our abcentric culture, contributed to years of dysfunction which is why I am so passionate about what I teach now.
When you work your body out in a balanced way you can improve your posture, strength, and mind body connection which all contribute to having a flatter belly naturally. (But, make sure that belly moves! Out and in with breath).
All you need for this workout is a chair and mat. Make sure you are warm before you begin by walking briskly for 3-5 minutes.
Holding lightly to your support, bring legs into a narrow V Position with heels together and toes a few inches apart. Make sure you turn your legs out at the pelvis following the direction of your big and second toes.
Exhale and draw your glutes under just an inch as you pull your abs in and “up”.
Inhale and release that tiny move to the beginning. Exhale, repeat.
Do this slow and controlled for 10 moves.
Modify: The hinge back of this High V move can be eliminated. You are stand up tall with ears over shoulders and shoulders over hips and hips over heels.
Make it Harder: Work lower in the legs but be mindful of your form. Lower is not always better. You must have strength in the quads, lower back, abs and glutes for this move. You also need both flexibility and strength in the feet.
Works: Quads, glutes, abs (especially the transverse abs which are the deepest abdominals), and lower back. You will feel your calf muscles, too.
Facing support, step back about two to three feet.
Inhale and hinge body at the pelvis over the standing leg/heel.
Exhale and allow your abs to lift back in and up as you raise your body back to the starting point of the position.
Do this slow and controlled move 10 times using your breath (and abs!) and repeat on the other side.
Modify: Simply do not lower upper body toward the chair as much.
Make it harder: Hinge upper body lower and more parallel with the floor. Do 20 reps on each side.
Works: Glutes and hamstrings (of the standing or base leg), abs, lower back.
Inhale and feel the expansion of the abs.
Do this move slow and controlled 10 times using breath. Change sides and repeat.
Modify: Don’t lift the hips as much.
Make it harder: See move below
Works: Glutes, Obliques, Lower back muscles, outer back muscles (lats/ think bra bulge area), and shoulders.
Lying supine (or face up) on your mat, bend knees about 10-12 inches from hips and keep them hip distance. (This will depend on the length of your legs. Just make sure they aren’t too far out).
If you feel ready, we’ll add a hip lift known as Bridge in this. As is shown in the photo, you can place the front foot on the top of the back thigh firmly.
Keeping hips square, inhale (expand).
Exhale and lift the hips up (but not too high! Do not lift onto your lower neck or cervical spine).
Do this 5 times. Change legs if you are lifting leg.
Modify: Simply do the set up with both feet firmly planted in the mat. You could also raise hips up just a little.
Make it harder: This is a tough exercise. If anything, you can increase reps to 10. Change sides. Repeat another 10 on each side.
Works: Glutes, Hamstrings, and lower back.
With the setup of from Bridge, raise legs above the hips. If you feel the only way to bring legs over hips is to press lower back into floor or lower them down, bend your knees. You want to maintain a neutral spine here. Your abs will work through breath and also stabilizing your torso as you lower and lift the legs.
On an inhale, expand your abs, diaphragm, and pelvic floor while lowering your legs a couple inches without letting your back (especially lumbar spine) lift or flatten to mat).
Exhale, close abs, diaphragm, and pelvic floor and lift the legs back up.
Do this 10 times. Rest.
Bring your legs to tabletop bent knee position just above your hips.
Maintain neutral and remember your Expansion Inhale and Contraction Exhale.
Exhale raise it back to start.
Inhale, back shape of leg.
Exhale back to start.
Do 10 sets slow and controlled.
Modify: Place one leg down like it was in Bridge so your have a more stable structure. Lower and lift one leg at a time. Change sides. Repeat.
Make it Harder: Straighten legs and move the legs at the same time in opposite directions for two sets. The first set let the back leg move on the expansion inhale. The second set let the front leg move on the expansion inhale. Do 5-10 on each side.
Hug knees to chest. Relax, breathe, and feel the amazingness of your core (which is part abs) being utilized in a way that doesn’t tax the neck.
I hope you enjoyed this Crunchless Abs Workout! Comment below to let me know what you think!