Ab Exercises for Beginners
Ab Exercises for Beginners
Maximo Pascual here, and before we get started, I just really wanted to thank Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey for their amazing commitment in promoting health education, and also for allowing me this opportunity to share these valuable fitness tips with you.
Now, today, I wanted to go over some simple abdominal exercises that you can do from the comfort of your own home.
The good thing about these exercises is that it’s going to help improve your stability, your posture, it’s going to strengthen up your core, which will translate into overall strength, and for many of you also that have lower back pain, this might also help stabilize your core and relieve some of that back pain.
All right, guys. Let’s get started with the first exercise.
For sit-ups, we’re going to start off by laying down completely flat on the floor.
You want to make sure that your toes are towards you, kind of like that they’re pointing towards your knee.
And we’re going to want to start with our arms completely straight, and make believe like you’re holding a ball here that you’re about to throw across the room.
Now, when you sit up, you want to make sure you have a very nice tall posture - chest out, shoulders back - and a tall back.
So I have an imaginary ball. I’m going to use momentum to sit up and throw the ball against the wall.
Chest out, shoulders back, and I have a taut spine here, and then I’m going to retract back slow.
Retracting back slow to the floor is actually what’s going to help develop your abs.
So this part is a positive portion. You could come up fast.
Momentum, and then here, we control, to re-activate the abs.
You never just want to plop down to the floor because then you’re losing that benefit of really developing the abs.
So again, throw the ball. Chest and shoulders back. Retract slow.
For crunches, we’re going to lay down flat on the floor. We’re going to lift up our legs and put them on the floor, pressure in the heels.
We’re going to take our two fingers and put them on the temple, and now this is a very short movement, so you don’t want to do it very fast.
You want to do it nice slow and controlled. And you’re going to come up as high as you can.
You should feel it in your upper abs here, and then retract nice and slow.
Once you make contact with the floor, you come back up. Pull, come back slow.
For the crunch twists, it’s very similar to the crunches. We’re going to lay down flat on the floor.
We’re going to pick up our legs and put our heels against the floor, put our fingers on our temple, and now the crunch, we come all the way up like this.
But instead of coming up like this, we’re going to go to the side now.
So it’s like, if I want to put this elbow against this wall and this elbow against that wall.
So I’m crunching up at an angle, and back down to the floor.
Very short movement, so you want to make sure you’re doing full range of motion while doing these crunch twists.
For leg raises, we’re going to put our hands underneath our glute lower back area.
We want to have our legs completely straight and locked out, and we want our toes to be pointing towards our knees.
Now, we’re going to lift off both legs at the same time about halfway.
We’re going to come all the way back down slow and controlled, and right before you touch the floor, you’re going to come back up.
Now, it’s unnecessary to come all the way up here. You’re only going to go up halfway.
This will make sure that you’re feeling it more in your lower abdominal area.
Very important that you don’t do this very fast either, because then your legs are going to take over too much.
And the purpose of this exercise is to hit the lower abdominal area.
So again, we come up, we come down nice, slow and controlled, and then back up.
You always have to show that you have control of the movement.
For elbow to knee crunches, we’re going to lay down flat on the floor.
We’re going to lift up our legs, put pressure on the heel, take these two fingers, put them out on our temple, and now we’re simply going to touch opposite knee and opposite elbow, and come back to the floor.
Cross, and bring your leg and your head back down to the floor. Again, you don’t want to do fast movement - nice and in control. Go, come back slow. Touch, go, come back slow.
For the knee to face crunch, we’re going to lay down flat on the floor, toes pointing towards your knee, and now I’m taking one knee and I’m going to crunch up to try to touch it with my forehead.
And then I’m going to go back to the floor, and now we’re going to switch to the other side. Nice, slow, in control, no fast movement.
You might not be able to touch your forehead. That’s fine, as long as you’re reaching for it. You will feel it in the abdominal muscles.
For scissors, we’re going to lay down flat on the floor, and we’re going to put our hands underneath our glute lower back area.
Now I’m going to point my toes away from me, and I’m just going to lift up my legs maybe an inch or two off the floor, and I’m going to open up my legs and go over and under.
Now, you don’t want to have your legs bent. You want to have them as left out as possible. But wide over and up and under.
Another thing is, you don’t want to do it too fast. If you do it too fast, your legs take over, so you want to feel it in your lower abs.
You want to do it very nice, slow, wide and controlled.
For oblique twists, we want to sit down on the floor. We want to have a good posture - chest out, shoulders back, tall back, legs straight on the floor, feet pointing towards your knee.
And now I’m going to rotate my waist only. So I’m going to try to restrict as much movement as I can from my legs, and also from my head.
So even though my body’s going side to side, my head and my legs are never going to move. So I’m going to try to take my hands and I’m going to try to touch behind my back, as far back as I can, so you can get a twist here.
Now, at the same time that I’m twisting side to side, I’m also putting pressure on my abs.
I’m tensing up, almost like when someone’s going to punch you, that you brace for the impact, make your stomach hard, your chest out, shoulders back, and to get more intensity and a little bit more resistance, you might want to lean back a little bit.
And now you want to go as fast as you can, without moving your head and without moving your legs and hips that much. Kind of twist over, and reach over as far behind you as you possibly can.
For side bends, we want to lay down flat on the floor.
We’re going to lift up our legs, put pressure on the heels, and now I’m going to crunch up, and I’m going to stay in this crunched position.
I’m going to pull my arms straight, and I’m going to bend all the way, like if I’m reaching for my ankles, side to side, in a continuous motion.
You’re going to feel this in your abs and also in the obliques. This is going to be good for your love handles, for your stomach, tighten up the whole core.
Now, it’s more of like continuous motion side to side - no pausing. But you don’t want to do it crazy fast either - slow and controlled, controlling each side.
For planks, I’m going to give you two different variations. We’re going to do a regular plank, and if that one’s too difficult then we’ll do a knee plank.
So to start off with the regular plank, we’re going to put our forearms on the floor. We’re going to make two fists, and we want to make sure that we’re not having our hands together.
We want to have them separated. We want to have a space here because your face is going to go in between your hands.
You want to make sure that your shoulder is right above your elbow.
So from the side view, so you can see the shoulder’s right above the elbow, you also have the elbows too ahead of you, because you’re going to slip, so you want to make sure that they’re here, and now you’re just simply going to put your legs back, and we’re going to hold this position.
Now, common mistakes are, as you start to get tired, your hips might start to sink in.
So you don’t want that to happen - you want to retain the structure always, or you might have your glutes too much up in the air.
You don’t want that to happen either. You just want to maintain the straight position here.
Now, to do the knee plank, instead of being on your feet you’ll do the same thing but you’re going to be on your knees. And we’re just simply going to hold the plank in this position.
We just went over each and every exercise of this routine, and I’m pretty sure you’re feeling a lot more confident about doing this routine alone at home.
Now, one big tip I can give you is: remember, you are a beginner, so you might not be able to master each and every exercise on Day 1.
But I promise you, if you’re persistent enough, eventually you will get stronger, more mobile, more agile, more flexible, and you will be able to master each one of these exercises.
All right, guys. Till next time.