Soleil, about abs...

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Registered: 03-20-2003
Soleil, about abs...
5
Tue, 04-15-2003 - 7:38pm
If you get a chance, I'd love to hear about more ab workouts. I've just added the plank back in (thanks, millcreek!). I do the thing where your legs dangle and you lift them up (straight) for 15, then to the side, bent, to get the obliques. Also, bicycle and sometimes crunches on the ball. Did you say it's counterproductive to do them every day? How often do you do them? Less often sounds good to me because they're just not fun. Thanks!





Avatar for soleilune
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-16-2003 - 9:13am
It's been debated whether the abs need to be rested as much as other muscles, as they're an endurance type of muscle. In my mind a muscle fibre is a muscle fibre, no matter where it's located. It gets 'torn down' when exercised, so needs time off to repair.

My job requires me to do abs all the time, not only for the purpose of demonstration, but motivation (on the really tough ones participants last longer if I'm doing it w/ them instead walking around talking to them & checking form). I do have great abs, but I find that when I do them less often I have better definition. Genetics are a factor too. In an effort not only to keep things interesting for myself & everyone else, but to try get around having to do abs almost daily I've found or created an endless number of ways to work this muscle group. This way, hopefully, I'm challenging different fibres.

Before I provide some of my exercises, I need to know about the health of your back. If you have any problems & if so what & where. Most of my better options bring other 'core' muscles into play, along w/ the abs. This can create strain on the the neck & low back.

I've got to take the car in today, so I may not be able to get back to finish anwering this for a while, but I won't forget.

Soleilune
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Registered: 03-20-2003
Wed, 04-16-2003 - 10:52am
That's interesting that people last longer when you do abs with them. I've never noticed what others are doing. Neither of the advanced step instructors do them in class so it's been awhile since I've done abs in class. I actually work harder when the instructor walks around because it makes it concentrate harder on form.

As for my core, I have lower back problems and I can't roll up the lower half. So, I don't do moves for long where I'm on my back and my legs are out in front near the ground. I have not liked any pilates moves that we've done in classes for our abs. Also, I do some crunches on the ball, but only a few because that also bothers it.

Whenever you get a chance, that would be great! It doesn't have to be a lot, just enough to get me jump started on something new. I don't do abs every day, about five times a week. Thanks!






Avatar for soleilune
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-16-2003 - 5:55pm
I think people hanging in longer when I do it w/ them is an ego thing. I'm an average looking thirty-something, that they've watched trim down & firm up & see what great abs I've got. I think on one hand I'm a realistic enough role model that they feel they can acheive the same things I have, so try to stick w/ me. On the other hand I know some of the fitter (or so they appear) younger women feel challenged to keep up w/ me. (I'm deceptively strong. As a matter of fact it's been awhile since I did an unassisted pullup so I though I'd try today. I did 4 unassisted immediately followed by 6 w/ 10lbs. assistance & 10 w/ 30lbs., I did 2 sets, one wide grip, one narrow-reverse grip. :-) You inspired me to give it a whirl. I'm hurting now, but YAY ME!) Plus, when I'm walking around I'm giving calmer, quieter, individual feedback, when I'm working w/ them I'm screaming form & safety cues and encouragement at them, so it pumps them up & makes everyone aware of their form every moment, not just when I'm speaking to them personally. Also, I go harder on them when I'm doing it too.

Here's a couple exercises for you (I don't have time for more right now). Sit down on a mat & lean back on an incline so you feel the abdominals engage. Feet are extended comfortably in front of you, knees bent. You can do this w/ the feet either on or off the floor. If you lift the feet up, it will activate the hip flexors further, which will create greater stress on the low back, but makes for a reeeeaallly killer ab workout. You should be positioned as if you were doing 'V-sits', but feel free to put your feet on the floor. Both exercises start from this position. For the first one simply rotate side to side, maintaining the 'V' position, reaching each arm across the opposite leg. Try doing single, double & quad reaches across each leg. The second exercise involves simply lifting & lowering one leg at a time. If your legs are lifted you put one leg down & lift it, then the other. Do the reverse if your feet are on the floor. It's like a 'bicycle', but you just lift & lower each leg, finishing the movement w/ one leg before doing it w/ the other. This one can be done leaning back on your elbows to make it easier on the abs & back, but don't let the back arch. Both exercise involve using the abs as both 'movers' & stabilizers', so the muscles are working/contracted for the entire set. Remember if anythings hurts, stop what you're doing.

I hope this made sense. It's very hard to describe an exercise completely & properly, especially when your a slow typist in a rush.

Good luck & take care.

I'll try to offer more later. I have some easier one than these two, but they're harder to describe.

Soleilune
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Registered: 03-20-2003
Wed, 04-16-2003 - 7:59pm
Thanks--those sound good and well described. I'll give them a try next time. I've seen a variation of the first one where the person held a weighted ball and moved slowly from one side to another. I can't do a "V" sit to save my life but I think I can do these.

Congratulations on the pull ups! The people I know who can do them w/out working on them are built more like men--weight at shoulders, no hips, thin legs. But, did you say that you have large, strong legs, too? There goes my theory on body types, and my excuse on why I can't do them! I'm working on them, but I'll be happy to do one good one.

Have you lost weight lately? I thought we were about the same weight, but you've dropped. Have you trimmed down/firmed up lately? Good for you! Ideally, I should be about 10 pounds lighter, but at this point, I'm not sure it's worth being 100% on eating and working out to get there. I'm healthy enough where I am and getting down lower would be for vanity sake (though I still go back and forth on this).






Avatar for soleilune
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 9:18am
V-sits are awful. They mainly work the hip flexors & w/ my bad hips & back these are brutal on me. The 1st exercise I described is just like the weighted one you mention, just w/o the weight & extending the arms one at a time(I do it w/ the weight).

Your ideas about body type are right as a rule. I don't look like my upper body is anywhere near as strong as it is. My upper body is VERY small naturally & resistance training has filled out enough I look porportionate now. I blush to admit the amount of admiration I receive for being so strong, yet maintaining a more feminine than athletic physique. Although, I would like a more athletic looking upper body (no help needed on the legs) I'm happy w/ where I'm at. Besides my husband doesn't like really muscular looking women. He likes them shart & shapely. So, this work for both of us. My goal is to be as strong as possible, definiton or not, he still gets the hourglass. My legs don't count - they were even more muscular when he met me, from dance. Don't think I don't work on those pullups. I work all the muscles involved on their own regularly & do a few sets of assisted pullups every couple of weeks. I've just been wussing out on doing the real deal. I must admit I'm rather proud of myself, but my pecs are hurting today. Oddly enough nothing else hurts. Upping my top weight on chest flys to 120lbs. could be why. I have 3 workouts to lead today (75 min. cardio cross training & stretch, 1 hr. weights, 1 hr. kickboxing) & tomorrow off, so I should be loosened up & ready to rock in no time. I'm golfing tomorrow though (if it quits snowing - yes, snowing in mid-April), so my game will probably pay for those pullups.

As to my weight, it flucuates so much due to my never ending battle w/ fluid retention, its hard to tell how much, if any, weight I may have lost. People keep commenting that I look thinner, but my measurements haven't changed much & I haven't lost more than 2-3 lbs. so I must be firming up. I can't see it though. I'm not really trying to acheive anything right now. I just do what I do, w/o sacrificing my enjoyment of life's offerings & if I improve myself in some way, bonus.

Soleilune