Strong Core Abdominal Exercises

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 32,235
    Fitness Expert Vionna Jones demonstrates strong core abdominal exercises.

    Vionna Jones: Hi! I am Vionna Jones with Fit in D.

    C. and I am showing you how to have fabulous abs. Now I am going to show you three great exercises for strengthening your core abdominal muscles.

    Remember the core muscles are the inner abdominal muscles, the ones you can't actually see but are really very important. The transverse abdominal muscles are responsible for giving you good posture, good balance and also for holding your inner organs in place and things like that.

    First exercise we're going to do is a great exercise called the Plank. So to start, you are going to come down on your forearms on your mat. All you need for this exercise is a mat and your own body. So you bring your forearms down to the mat. You can have them flat this way with your palms facing down or you can have your arms to the side. You just extend one leg straight out and then the other leg straight out.

    Now you want to make sure that your shoulders are relaxed, your head is relaxed and you are just engaging your abs. Engaging your abs meaning bringing your belly button in, like you are pushing it towards your back. You also want to be careful that your hips are not higher than your shoulders. Everything is in one nice line.

    Now if you are a beginner to this exercise, if you are new to this exercise, you want to start up with bringing your knees down because you will see that it's actually very hard, even though you are not moving, to hold this position. So you can bring your knees down. Notice, I went from being straight and just brought my knees down. I did not shift at all my upper body. Abs are still engaged. This is also a good position to be in, if you start to feel your back hurt while you are in the other plank. Then you just hold this position, either one. So you can start with 10 seconds and then work your way up to 20 seconds, 30 seconds, until you can hold it for an entire minute. That's the basics of the plank.

    Our second core exercise is called the Dead Bug. All that you need to do the Dead Bug is a Bosu. This is a bosu, it is like half of the stability ball on a flat surface. So if you are new to this exercise, you want to start at this first variation here. You want the middle of your back to be in the middle of the bosu. If you are too far forward or if you are too far back, you are not going to be able to to balance on the bosu. So you want to play around with finding just the right position for your body.

    So your lower back is being supported by the bosu and we're going to start with bringing the hands behind the head. So your neck is relaxed, your shoulders are relaxed and your head is just resting in your hand. I am going to start with lifting the right leg up, a little crunch here and then the left leg up, placing it back down. You can do this repeating on each side, alternating sides 4, 10, 12, 15 times.

    If this does not seem very difficult, then we can go to the intermediate step. The intermediate step, you will lift your right leg into the air, lifting the left foot off of the ground before you lower the right leg and then lower the right leg. Then again alternating sides, pick the right foot off of the ground before you lower the left foot down. Then you alternate like this.

    The whole time your abdominal muscles are engaged which means belly button in towards your spine. Again, you can do this one 10, 12, 15 times on each side. Then the final product and why this is called the Dead Bug? You will lift the right leg and then lift the left leg. Abs are engaged. In this one, you are not moving. You just hold this one for as long as you can. Start at 20 seconds, go up to 30, 40, see how long you can hold it. You should feel your abdominal muscles shaking here and they are really working. Then when you are done, lower one leg and then the other.

    For our last core exercise, we're going to do the Boat Pose. Many of you maybe familiar with this boat pose from yoga class. This is taken from yoga. All you need for this exercise is a mat. You can use either an exercise mat like this one or a yoga mat, not important. We're going to just be on the floor, knees are bent and you are going to roll the shoulder blades back. This is going to help to keep your back nice and straight and to keep the strain out of your lower back. So this is very important, roll the shoulder blades back and then engage your abs, also very important.

    Then you lean back just a little bit keeping the back nice and flat, your back on your sit bones. You lift one leg and then you lift the other leg. You can start with your legs at a 90 degree angle like this and then hold it. Abs are engaged, see how long you can hold it. Dont forget to smile, its fun. Then if you are a little bit more advanced, if you are used to doing this, you can straighten the legs out and hold it here.

    Then when you want to be done, you can bring both legs back down to the mat. Now if you are a veteran to the boat pose and you have been doing it in yoga class for years, I would like to take the boat pose to the next level, make it a little bit more challenging. You can do the same exact pose on the bosu, which we use for the dead bug or on a balance disc. A balance disc is a little red disc that you can find at your gym or you can easily buy and store this little disc at your house. These are actually really very good. I will demonstrate how to do this on the bosu. However, it can be done the exact same way using the balance disc.

    Knees are bent, I am sitting right on top of the sit bones, roll the shoulders back. Now this is really important to have the abs engaged. You let go off the abs, you are just going to roll right off the bosu. So abs are engaged and now we are going to lean back. Lift one leg and then we'll lift the other. Again, back is still flat, abs are engaged and you are just going to hold it, hold it for as long as you can. You are going to feel very wobbly.

    Then when you are done, you lower one leg and then the other. Next, I'll be showing you how to strengthen your outer abdominal muscles, those six pack abs.

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