Start – From a seated position on the ball, walk your feet out until the ball is fully supporting your mid to lower back region. Cross your arms over your chest or place your finger tips lightly on the sides of your head.
Movement – Contracting the abdominals, raise your upper body about half way up until you feel a full contraction. Slowly return to the starting position.
Key points – Exhale while raising your body. Inhale while returning to the starting position. Be sure to keep your head and neck relaxed.
Caution – The ball should not roll forward and back – it should remain stationary. For added support spread your feet wide the first time you try the exercise.
REVERSE AB CURL
This exercise is for the lower abdominal region and is very challenging.
Place all your focus on the lower abdominal area contracting. It may be difficult to initially concentrate on the area, but once you master the movement with the correct mental concentration, you’ll really feel the area being worked
Start - Begin on your back on a mat with your back relaxed and your hands on the floor by your hips. Raise your legs into the air and focus on keeping your upper back pressed into the floor throughout the exercise.
Movement – Contracting your abs, raise your butt and gently roll your hips off the floor, stopping when you feel a full contraction of your abdominals and can no longer lift your hips. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
Key points – Exhale while lifting your hips. Inhale while returning to the starting position.
Caution – Do not swing your legs.
Research consistently rates the Bicycle Maneuver as one of the most effective abdominal exercises.
Start – Lie on your back on a mat keeping your lower back in a comfortable position. Place your finger tips lightly on the sides of your head and lift your knees up to about a 45 degree angle.
Movement - Slowly go through a bicycle pedaling motion alternating your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee.
Key points – Your legs and shoulders should remain elevated from the floor during this exercise and the lower to the ground that your legs bicycle the harder your abs have to work.
Caution – Do not pull on your head and neck during this exercise. Do not perform this activity if it puts any strain on your lower back.
I like the double crunch exercise because if performed correctly, you can isolate the lower and upper region of the abdominals. Please note, contrary to popular belief, we do not have separate upper and lower abs.
Start – Lie on the floor face up. Bend your knees until your legs are at a 45 degree angle with both feet on the floor. Your back should be comfortably relaxed on the floor. Place your finger tips lightly on the sides of your head or have your hands crossed over your chest.
Movement - Contracting your abdominals, raise your head and legs off the floor toward one another. Slowly return to the starting position stopping just short of your shoulders and feet touching the floor.
Key points – Exhale while rising up. Inhale while returning to the starting position.
Caution – Keep your eyes on the ceiling to avoid pulling with your neck. Your hands should not be used to lift the head or assist in the movement.