Contributing Monkie GreenChef Staff Monkies
Published on July 16, 2012
Beach weather is finally here and the best way to cool down is to strip down. But what about your stomach? Just as you reach for that bikini (or speedos) that has been stuffed in the back of your drawer, you may find yourself unnerved by a panicked assessment of your neglected core muscles. Yet the thought of doing hundreds of boring and painful crunches is probably even more dreadful.
Good news! You don’t have to do any crunches or sit-ups to get beautiful sleek abs and a strong healthy core. There are many exercises that engage the core indirectly and are effective and fun. One of my favorites is the plank pose in yoga. There are many variations of the plank. To increase the intensity and target the abdominal muscles, try this modified plank exercise with a leg lift on a stability ball:
On a stability ball secured up against a wall, place your hands about shoulder-width apart on the ball. With your legs straight and extended out behind you, balance your weight on your hands and toes. Engage your core and suck in and tighten your abs. Your body should be straight and aligned in a pushup position on the ball. Hold this pose for a few seconds. Now lift your right foot a few inches off the floor while balancing on your hands and left toes. Hold for 3-5 seconds. Lower your foot and repeat with your left foot. Do 5-8 sets per side to start. Later you can move the ball away from the wall to make it more challenging. If you don’t have a ball, do this move on the floor. The ball makes it more challenging because it creates an unstable surface. You can also do it on the floor balancing on your forearms instead of your hands.