Spring break is nearly upon us. The muffin top is the bane of existence for many women and isn’t a flattering look when sporting a bikini. I’m getting married in early March and then jetting off to Kauai for 10 glorious days. I’d be lying if I said I weren’t a little anxious about slipping into a two piece. Even if you’re not hitting the beach anytime soon, it’s never too late to start working on your abs for a chiseled waistline. Plus they can “improve back pain”according to Dancers Shape owner Jennifer McCamish. Make these basic abdominal exercises part of your weekly routine, and you won’t regret it.
Sweating for the Wedding: Abs
This move is a classic and the foundation of rock-hard abs. Assume the position by placing your forearms on the floor and stacking your shoulders directly on top of your elbows. Straighten your legs, and lift your knees off the ground. McCamish says to focus on lifting your lower belly into the spine and keeping your head aligned with your spine. “The transverse abs can be weak, so you want to think about tucking your pelvis under to fight the belly from caving towards the floor,” she says. Hold plank for 30 seconds to one minute and repeat once more if you’re up to it.
Your obliques will generously thank you if you incorporate this move into your regular routine. To begin, lie on your side, and place one forearm on the ground. Your elbow should be directly under your shoulder. Press your elbow into the floor, and lift your rib cage to ensure it doesn’t sag and form a U-shape. Press your shoulder down away from your ear, and make sure your legs are straight as you lift your hips off the floor. Now that you’re in position, dip an inch and lift an inch. Keep this up for 30 seconds on each side. You can repeat it once more if you can handle it. If you have sensitive shoulders like me, you can place one bent knee on the ground for a modification.
I always feel the burn when I do this Pilates-inspired exercise. Lie on your back, and draw your naval into your spine. “Your spine will make a soft imprint on the floor. Don’t squeeze your glutes; you want the contraction to come from your abs,” McCamish says. Lift your legs into a bent table top position at a 90-degree angle from your hips. Roll your head and shoulders off the floor, and gaze at your belly as you begin. You’re going to inhale and count “1-2-3-4-5,” exhale and count “1-2-3-4-5,” pumping your arms up and down as you breathe until you’ve done a total of 100. If you feel really strong, you can straighten your legs out to a diagonal. You can also lower your head if needed.
About the Author
Crystal Conde is an Austin-based writer with more than a decade of experience in the journalism industry. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism in the magazine sequence. In her free time, she enjoys sewing, going to movies and concerts, and spending time with her fiance, Patrick, and her dachshund mix, Saffron.