Are you looking for a good ab challenge? I’ve been training golfers and fitness enthusiasts for 16 years and one issue I have with the fitness industry as a whole is that trainers post very difficult exercises without focus on the progression needed to take an athlete with abdominal weakness to a higher level of strength in a logical manner. I would like to change that with an ab challenge meant for building good core and postural strength, focusing on fundamentals of stability and movement. I encourage everyone to take this challenge with me and embark on a journey toward improved core strength, postural alignment and the ever sought after “six pack.” We will do each exercise as prescribed and will complete 3 cycles of each of the 5 exercises without resting, every day. It may take you longer than one week to develop the strength sufficient to perform each exercise correctly for 3 cycles. When you are able to do this move on to week 2. Check out the link below to watch a quick video of me performing each exercise of the ab challenge week 1.
- Front Plank
- Pelvic Tilt
- Seated Chop
- Boat Pose
Front Plank: Get into a plank position, supporting yourself on your hands and toes. While in this position I want you to focus on “pulling” your stomach in towards your spine, squeeze your glutes and tighten your quads. It’s important in this ab challenge to bring awareness to other parts of your body that support you, as the exercises get harder over the next few weeks you will need these muscle groups to stabilize your body. Hold this position for 1 min if you are a beginner and 2 min if you are an advanced athlete.
Pelvic Tilt: Position yourself on your hands and knees with your hands and knees directly below your shoulders and hips, respectively. Tilt your pelvis backward by pulling your belly button in toward your spine, be careful not to round your shoulders while doing this. We are trying to produce upper core stability during this exercise. If done correctly, even the most well trained athlete will feel slightly fatigued deep in the lower abdominal muscles. This is one of those exercises that takes focus and is a fundamental motion for almost all motion. Perform 20 reps, slowly.
Seated Chop: This is a fun exercise for developing shoulder rotation from the core. Sit on the ground and hold a medicine ball with both hands, leaving your feet on the ground. Turn your shoulders to the right and touch the ball to the ground, reverse directions and turn your shoulders to the left, touching the ball on the left side of your body. Repeat this 20 times. The key factor here is to pull your abs in the entire time and to let your hands follow your body motion. Do not reach with your arms to touch the ground, if you don’t touch the ground based on shoulder motion then stop when your shoulders stop you from moving.
Boat pose: sit on the floor and pull stomach in toward your spine, slowly lift your legs off of the ground and raise your hands toward your feet. Be sure to try to keep your chest up, shoulder blades back and your stomach pulled in throughout the exercise. Hold the position for 60 seconds.
Crunches: This is a classic exercise, one we have all done countless times. This weeks challenge is about fundamentals and getting it right, so I want you to focus on using your core and no momentum to assist you. Lie on your back with our knees bent, cross your arms over your chest and use your abs to slowly pull your upper chest upward until your shoulder blades raise up off the ground, then lower back to the ground. Perform 20 reps.