Workout Wednesday...or Thursday: 3 Ab Crunchers

At the end of the day yesterday, I got hit with chills and body aches.  I'm not sure what it was and when I woke up this morning I felt better but just have a lingering headache.  So with that, I forgot to post my Workout Wednesday post. So here ya go! Forever I thought that the only way to strengthen my core was to do endless crunches or sit-ups.  But then I learned how our abdominal muscles work and how to maximize my workout by engaging my core in everything I did.  From there it became a challenge to find new ways work my core as well as the rest of my body.  Everyone has a six pack, but for most, it's buried underneath a layer of fat so it can't be seen.  There's no way to target train certain areas of your body to burn fat.  Fat is only lost by burning total calories.  For example, you will not lose weight only around your mid-section by doing crunches, but you will burn calories and build up your ab muscles which in turn will burn calories all on their own because muscle burns at least three times more calories than fat while at rest.  I just love that!

Here are few exercise that will engage your core as well as work other muscles at the same time.

1. Plank with exercise ball pull-in.

This exercise is so fun.  I start by rolling myself over the ball until the tops of my feet are sitting on the ball and hands are positioned underneath my shoulders in the same form that you would begin a push-up.  With your abs pulled tight, as well as your butt, pull the ball in towards your torso by bending your legs.  I try to knock out 20 at a time and I repeat this exercise 3 times.

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2. Russian twist with medicine ball while sitting on the Bosu Ball.

If there's one piece of workout equipment that you'd like to invest in, make sure it's a Bosu Ball.  I think they run around $100, but they are so versatile in what you can do with them.  They also can bump up the intensity of any run-of-the-mill exercise. Think "squats" while standing on one!

Today, I sat on the Bosu and held my 8 lb medicine ball.  The picture doesn't show it very well, but I actually have my feet off the ground and suspended in the air.  This really engages my abdominals, but if you have any back issues, just keep your feet on the floor and lean back slightly to engage your abs.  From there, I brought the medicine ball from one side to the other.  You will feel this in your abs as well as your arms.  I repeated this exercise for 30 reps and performed 3 sets.

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3. Superman/Banana Roll

I found this exercise from P90X and it's really a challenging one!  You can start out in either position, but I started out with a superman.  In this position, you will start out on your stomach.  Be mindful to contract all of your muscles in your butt, back and abs.  Hold this position for 20 seconds then roll over with out the help of your arms and come into the "banana" position.  In the "banana" form you will really reach forward and hold your legs off the ground.  Be careful to make your abs work the most and not your neck.  To modify this position for those who have bad backs, keep your legs on the ground.  I held this posture for 20 seconds as well.  Repeat for 5 times total.  Just like before complete 3 sets overall.

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For those of us who ride horses these exercises are essential to build core muscles that are always needed when riding.  By incorporating core exercises into your workout, I can almost guarantee your riding will improve!

Happy workout!

Cooped Up Cowboy's Wife- Candace