Summer’s right around the corner…which means that soon we will all be bearing a lot more skin. I don’t know about you, but I ‘m always more motivated to work on my core, when bathing suit season is drawing near. Especially after having three kids in three years.
It was January 2011, and I was six months away from turning 40. The workouts I had been doing–a combination of running, walking, and the elliptical, with a little yoga mixed in–were not giving me the results I desired. My arms and legs were strong, but my core was weak. I decided it was time to reclaim my abs, so I would feel my absolute best by the time the big 4-0 rolled around.
My plan was simple… a 10 minute ab routine every day, no matter what. I refused to go to bed at night until it was done. I committed to do 100 bicycles, 100 sit ups, and a planque routine that consisted of 6 poses, held for 20 breaths each. Whenever you do core work, you have to do back work as well, so I would also strengthen my back with locust pose, held for 20 breaths, 3 times, each day.
It was not easy at first! I gave myself grace the first few weeks, when I realized I could not do complete sets without stopping. For example, I allowed myself to do four sets of twenty sit-ups at first, and eventually worked my way up to 100 in a row. When I was feeling really motivated, I would do the entire ab routine twice a day–once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
It takes about 6 weeks to start seeing results, but trust the struggle. Good things come to those who trust the struggle, and do whatever it takes.
There are three planque exercises that are really effective. Knee-to-nose, knee-to-elbow, and knee to opposite elbow. Hold each for 20 breaths (or two sets of ten breaths each), and make sure you do them on both sides of your body.
Practice 100 sit-ups every day. Start with five sets of 20 continuous sit-ups, and eventually you will be able to do 100 in a row.
Same as above, 100 bicycles, allowing for multiple sets at first to get the job done.
Hold this pose for 20 breaths each, for three sets. You can vary the pose by reaching arms forward, or out to the sides instead of back.
Photo: Marty Sconduto for http://www.yogajournal.com