Beautiful Abs and a strong core

Yikes it is time for a work-out challenge and I have decided to focus on some dreaded abs exercises.
According to Shape Magazine, “We all want a toned, flat stomach. But since many women are still relying on crunches to get it, we want to make one thing clear: Crunching is not the most effective abs workout. "Crunches work only the muscles on the front and sides of your abdomen, but it's important to target all the muscles of the core to get more defined abs—including lower back, hips, and upper thighs."
Instead Shape Magazine suggests "Core exercises like the plank help train muscles to stabilize the spine and pelvis so you can avoid back pain and improve posture, Schuler says. "They also burn more calories than crunches because they work more muscles."
Since planks are one of the most effective ways to get a good ab work out I would recommend you start a daily plan challenge like this one and continue it after our competition has ended.

If you find doing a full plank too difficult you might want to begin with one of these modifications
The knee elbow plank
or The Wall Plank

Along with a regular plank the following are extremely helpful in getting your abs into shape.

Why it works: This abs exercise is more challenging than a traditional plank because you're supporting your entire body weight on two points of contact instead of four. As a result, you must work your core harder to stay stabilized.
How to do it:
A. Lie on your left side with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder and legs stacked. Place your right hand on your left shoulder or on your right hip.
B. Brace your abs and lift your hips off the floor until you're balancing on your forearm and feet so that your body forms a diagonal line. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds. If you can’t hold that long, stay up as long as you can and then repeat until you’ve held for 30 seconds total. Switch sides and repeat.

Why it works: This abs exercise involves full-body movement, such as the arms and legs, while incorporating resistance to strengthen your entire core.
How to do it:
A. Start in pushup position with hands two inches wider than your shoulders.
B. Walk hands out as far as possible, then walk back. Do 10-12 reps.
Why it works: This abs exercise uses your entire core to keep your body stabilized and burns additional calories by adding movement (dragging yourself along the floor). It mixes cardio, stability, and strength training to get you fast results.

Alligator Drag

(* You tube has some great videos of how to do this one)
How to do it:
A. Find a stretch of floor that allows you to go forward 10 to 20 yards, and grab anything that will slide over the surface with minimal friction. Dinner plates or plastic bags work on a carpeted floor, while towels work on wood or tile.
B. Start in pushup position with your feet on the slides, towels, or plates.
C. Walk yourself forward with your hands to the end of your runway (aim for at least 10 yards). Rest for 60 to 90 seconds (or as long as you need to recover) and repeat the alligator walk back to where you started. That’s one set. Repeat one more time.
I realize that some of these AB exercises might be beyond your ability (for now!) If they are, do a google search for Beginner Ab exercisesand find something more appropriate for your abilities. We must always start where we are to journey to where we want to be.

For every day that you do some type of ab exercises (at least do some kind of plank as assigned in the chart above) this week you earn 5 daily bonus challenge points. Happy abbing ladies!

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