April 16, 2009

I used to think that that when it came to ab exercises, crunches were the only game in town. But then I hurt my ankle and my trainer, Lauren Kern at Equinox, replaced my usual lunges and squats with an assortment of tummy-toning moves. She said that when you're targeting the core, it's more effective to vary things because you engage all of the different muscles. These three exercises are really hard, but after only a few weeks of doing them, I'm already seeing huge results!

1. Toe-touch Vs Lie face up on the floor with your legs extended straight up toward the ceiling and arms straight over your chest. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground and reach your hands toward your toes. Lower to start position and repeat. Do 25 reps.

2. Superman Lie face down with arms extended in front of you. Simultaneously raise your arms, chest, and legs a few inches off the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, then lower and repeat. Do 25 reps.

3. Vertical leg crunch Lie face up on floor with legs extended, your head an arm's distance from a weight bench (or couch if you're at home) and hold the legs of the bench behind you. Keeping legs straight, raise them until they point toward the ceiling. Continue raising them toward the ceiling as you lift your butt (making sure not to move legs toward head). Lower and repeat. Do 25 reps.

(An important note: While I joke about these exercises hurting, the discomfort should only be from fatigue. If you feel any real pain, you should stop.)