New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken. Every year we all pick that one thing we’re going to start or stop doing and for the first few weeks in January we nail it. So many times I’ve heard people say ‘this year I’m going to get fitter’ and come January 1st they’ve thrown out all the junk food and signed up to the gym with plans to go every day after work. The problem is this is such a huge change all at once and it’s just not sustainable.
Unless fitness and health are already a key part of your daily routine, completely changing your whole diet and exercise is really challenging. Add to that the fact that most people go head first into this, i.e. the gym every day or absolutely no junk food, and after three weeks it’s pretty much destined to fail. We’ve all done it!
That’s why I’ve put together this New Year, New Me series. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting quick and easy workouts that you can do from home. The workouts don’t need any equipment, just yourself and some comfy clothes. No excuses this year!
The first post in the New Year, New Me series is a full ab workout in less than 15 minutes. The exercises I’ve chosen target the entire plate of abs including the upper abs, lower abs and the obliques to help you tone up and strengthen your whole core. So put on your best pumped up playlist and let’s get to it!
The Ab workout
The workout follows a basic 45:15 routine meaning you need to complete each of the 9 exercises for 45 seconds with a 15 second break in between each move.
- Basic Crunch (upper abs)
- Leg Extension (lower abs)
- Bicycle Crunch (upper and lower abs, the obliques) – alternate between each side as you complete the move
- Toe Touches (upper abs)
- Oblique Crunches (obliques) – complete one side for 45 seconds and then move onto the other
- Leg Lifts (lower abs)
- Plank Press (upper abs, lower abs and helps strengthen the back and shoulders)
- Side Plank Pulse (Obliques) – complete one side for 45 seconds and then move onto the other
- Hinge Hold (upper abs and lower abs).
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted firmly on the floor. Press your lower back into the ground and rest your hands on your thighs. Lifting with your upper abs and your chest peel your upper back off the ground until your hands reach the top of your knees, remember to keep your neck tucked in with your head looking forward. Hold at the top for a moment squeezing your upper abs and then slowly relax back to the first position resting your head on the floor.
Lying on your back with your knees raised and your shins parallel to the ground, lift your head and shoulders off the ground supporting your neck in your hands. From here slowly extend your legs out straight a few inches off the ground and return to your first position. Remember to keep your lower back firmly pressed into the ground. If your back begins to arch then keep your knees bent slightly, extending only as far as your back can remain on the ground. Try place your hands under you lower back in a triangle position if this move is too difficult.
Bicycle Crunch (Alternating)
Starting in the same position as before, knees raised and your shins parallel to the ground head resting in your hands, slowly extend one leg out fully keeping the other bent. At the same time reach your upper body across moving the opposite shoulder towards your bent knee. Really squeeze up and across with your abs in order to avoid pulling on your neck and make sure your lower back stays pressed into the ground. The aim of this move is to bring your shoulder as close to your knee as possible and not to touch your knee with your elbow.
Lie on your back with your legs raised in the air parallel to your hips. Try to keep your legs as straight as you can this will help to engage your lower abs as well. With your hands stretched out in front of you, lift with your upper abs and shoulders, peeling your back off the ground, until your fingers touch your toes. Relax back down and repeat the motion. Try not to strain your neck as you lift. If your neck does hurt try looking forward towards your hips as you lift or you can complete the move with your head in your hands.
Begin by lying on the floor with your upper back resting fully on the ground and your knees bent and over to one side. Support your head and neck in your hands and lift upwards squeezing the side of your abs (obliques). Hold for a moment at the top and relax back down. Continue with the same side for 45 seconds and then switch over to your other side for the next 45 seconds.
Start by lying on your back with your legs raised straight in the air, your hands in a triangle under your lower back and your head and shoulders raised up. Slowly lower both of your legs until parallel to ground making sure that your lower back stays pressed firmly into the ground. Hold this position for a moment and then lift your legs back up straight into the air, squeezing your lower abs as you lift. If your lower back hurts during this move try bending your knees and not lowering your legs all the way. Alternatively you can do this move by lowering one leg at a time.
Begin in a plank position resting your full weight on your forearms and toes. Make sure your abs are pulled in tight with a slight curve in your back to begin this move. Push back through the shoulders lifting your hips up to create a triangle through your shoulders hips and toes. Your back should now be completely straight. Slowly lower yourself back to the first position, keeping your abs in tight and lowering with control to make sure that you do not dip your hips below your shoulders.
Side Plank Pulse
Begin in a side plank position with your weight on your forearm and stacked feet (you can modify this by splitting your feet and placing one in front of the other). Extend your other arm pointing towards the ceiling and look upwards towards your fingers. Lift your hips up towards the ceiling squeezing your lower oblique. Hold for a moment and release your hip back down to the starting position.
Start in a seated position with your arms and legs extended out in front of you as straight as possible. Keeping your back straight lower yourself at the hips to your tipping point making sure your legs stay firmly pressed to the ground. Hold this position for the full 45 seconds. To increase the intensity of this move try raising your arms above your head. The added weight will make this much harder to hold.
Pop back next week for the second post in the New Year, New Me series which features a full leg workout that can be done in less than 15 minutes. Let me know if you try this abs workout and what you think.
Thanks, Megan x