Three Great Abdominal Exercises that WORK

Working on our abdominal muscles is always a chore. Some of us work very hard with doing crunches and other similar exercises and still don't see the results we would like to see.

According to Hemalayaa, an instructor of yoga and traditional Indian dance, the correct and most effective exercise for the abdominals involves the full spectrum of abdominal muscles, which includes the obliques (the sides of the abdomen) and the rectus abdominis (the front of the belly). When toned, these muscles better support your spine, torso, and abdominal organs. They even improve your posture.

Below are some exercises that Hemalayaa recommends to get a full workout of all the muscles of the abdomin. I started these yesterday - is it possible? I feel and see a difference already. As a dancer for over 40 years, I am blessed with a flat stomach (even after 4 children), but I will be 53 in three weeks and I am fighting to keep my abs. Hemalayaa recommends that you do these exercises three times a week. Join me in the quest for the flat stomach! Please let me know if these work for you!

The Standing Squeeze

What It Does: Strengthens the rectus abdominus as in a traditional crunch, but also stretches the abs and chest, resulting in a longer, leaner look.

How to do it: Stand with feet just wider than shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Shift your tailbone forward; maintain this alignment for the entire move. Inhaling, interlace your fingers and reach your palms to the ceiling, straightening your arms. (This is the starting position.) As you exhale, pull in strongly and tighten your abs, rounding the spine and dropping the arms to shoulder height. Hold for a count of three. Inhale and release back to the starting position, reaching up to create space in the abdomen and chest. Start with two sets of 10, and build up to two sets of 20. You will immediately feel a tightening of your stomach and you thigh muscles. It is also a great way to start your morning exercise by taking those deep breaths and exhaling into the Standing Squeeze position

Second-Hand Circles

What They Do: Strengthen and lengthen all three groups of abdominal muscles.

How To Do Them: Lie on your back with your legs straight, palms on the floor, edges of the hands tucked under your hips. Press your lower back into the floor and lift both legs straight up to a 90-degree angle, keeping your feet together and toes pointed. Moving slowly to a count of five, make a circle with your legs, rotating them clockwise until they're straight up again. Repeat in the opposite direction. Do 10 circles total, switching directions each time. Tip; don't forget to breathe during this exercise. It is typical to hold your breath while working on the move, but it really helps to get you through this exercise if you do BREATHE through each move.

360 Degree Abs               What They Do: Strengthen the entire core.

How To Do Them: Sit tall on the floor with your legs straight. Interlace your fingers, palms out, and straighten your arms in front of you at shoulder height. Lean back so your torso makes a 45-degree angle to the floor. Hold for five breaths, then make a big circle with your torso, leaning left, forward, right, and back to the start. Move slowly to a count of five for the rotation, keeping your sitting bones rooted. Repeat in the other direction. Do 10 circles total, switching directions each time.

These are easy and wonderfully exhilarating exercises to do. Gurnteed you will see a difference in a few weeks. Make sure that you take care not to strain yourself. Work at your pace, for what is best for your level. Whatever the pace, whatever the level you will see an improvement and get stronger. Before you know it you will be able to do more than the recommended number of time for each exercise!
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  1. I have found these exercises to be great for my abdominal toning and well being. Being 41 and having a little weight caused some problems with my back. While I am losing the weight 30 pounds, yes 30! I have shared this exercise with my mom who has had back surgery. She has said that she finds the standing exercise to "be managable and comfortable not to mention it really tightens my stomach."
    Keep it coming, thanks Praiseworks for helping us get back into shape!


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