A 10-Minute, 10-Station Low-Impact Ab Workout
A while back, we turned you on to a cross fit exercise regimen known as the 60/10 Cross Fit Power Glide. The essentials are simple: Using a timer with minute increments, move from one exercise station to the next, allowing yourself 10 seconds rest between each (even though this is a 10-station routine, it is more than okay to start with only 5-7 and build your way to 10). Go through each exercise, and then take a minute and 20 second break before repeating the routine. Do this 2 to 5 times based on ability. Since we already provided you with a basic, all-around exercise routine using this system, we figured it was time to start focusing on specific areas of the body, especially now that summer is here. The abdomen was the logical first choice, and so here is a list of exercises to do once a week in place of the general routine to get those ripped abs.
Note: For an abdomen heavy workout such as this, you should be sure to clear an area that is reasonably padded since most exercises involve lying on the ground. Also, be sure to set up the stations beforehand, since exercises will be done in rapid succession. Finally, equipment is only needed for the exercise if noted.
Exercise #1 – Opposite Arm and Leg Extensions
This is the perfect way to start the routine, as it is fairly simple, and will get you nice and loosened up for what’s to come. Starting out on all fours, stretch one arm out directly in front of you while stretching the opposite leg directly behind. Do the same with the other arm and leg, and continue until the minute is up.
Exercise #2 – Planks
Planks are a very effective core exercise, and if you haven’t worked out in a while, quite grueling to do for a minute at a time. But don’t worry, if you keep them up, they’ll get easier. Perhaps even too easy. Once that becomes the case, you can change things up by grabbing a medicine ball and either planking on it with your arms, or putting your feet on it and planking on the floor.
Exercise #3 – Side Planks (with twist)
Side planks alone are another very useful core exercise, but again, once you get the hang of them, they may be to easy. To give them a little kick, while balancing on your elbow, use the opposite arm to reach up in the air as high as you can. Then, lean forward and try to reach that same arm behind you by going underneath your planked body. Pretend as if someone is trying to hand you something on the ground behind you, but just out of reach. Then reach back up toward the ceiling again and keep repeating until time runs out (Note: this would actually be two separate exercises, as you would plank on one elbow for a minute, then the other).
Exercise #4 – Exercise Ball Passes
Equipment Needed: Exercise ball
Start by laying flat on your back with your arms also touching the ground as if you were reaching above your head in a standing position. Then put an exercise ball between your feet. The object here is to lift your arms and legs at the same time, and pass the ball back and forth between you arms and legs. Once you start, never actually touch your feet or arms to the ground, even when they aren’t holding the ball.
Exercise #5 – Crunches (using diamond method)
More of a guidance mechanism to help you maintain good form than anything else, as you do your crunch, pick a spot on the ceiling directly above you and look at it through a diamond shape you make with your hands. As you do your crunch, never lose sight of that spot, and pretend as if you are pushing your palms toward it. Make sure not to rest in the down position, or the exercise will be much less effective for your upper abs. To change things up, you could sit on an exercise ball with your feet on the ground and perform crunches as well. This takes the leg muscles out of the equation, and focuses the exercise strictly on your abs.
Exercise #6 – Side Crunches
There can never be enough crunching going on when it comes to toning your abs. Side crunches are probably one of the easiest exercises on this list in terms of form, as they are just regular crunches that you simply lay your legs down on either side of you to do. But make sure both of your shoulders touch ground in the resting position, and that the leg closest to the ground on either side is touching it, with the other leg on top. (Note: This is another exercise that would count as two, as you would need to do each side back-to-back for a minute each.)
Exercise #7 – Twisting Crunch/Bicycle Kicks
A twisting crunch consists of getting into the crunch position, raising your torso at a 45 degree angle, and simply twisting from side to side. While it doesn’t seem to be horribly complicated, it is one of the best ab exercises for you, as it hits all the muscle fibers. Once you have it mastered, you can move on to the more complicated bicycle kicks. This is the same as the twisting crunches, only now you are touching your elbow to the opposite knee as you twist from side to side. Your legs will mimic pedaling a bike if done correctly.
Exercise #8 – Extended Leg Kick-Ups
Lie down with your back and legs flat on the ground, and your hands under your buttocks. Now, raise your legs so that your feet hover roughly six inches from the ground. From this point on, your feet will never touch the ground until the minute is up. Next, pull your feet into your chest, and then push them upward toward the ceiling, as if you were kicking in a door with both feet (at this point, your buttocks will lift as well, and your hands should no longer be touching them). Finally, pull your feet back down toward your chest, then out again in the original position with your feet hovering six inches from the ground. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Exercise #9 – Abdominal Holds
Equipment Needed: Sturdy bench/chair
Sit on the bench/chair (make sure it is durable and doesn’t move around). Place your palms face down on the chair on both sides of your buttocks. Lift your feet 4 to 6 inches above the ground so that your knees are bent and your abs are tight, then lift your buttocks from the chair with your hands keeping you steadily hovering. Hold this position for as long as you can (5 to 10 seconds) and lower back down to the seated position. Repeat this as many times as you can, but never let your feet touch ground once you have started for the whole minute.
Exercise #10 – Exercise Ball Roll-Ins
Equipment Needed: Exercise Ball
While lying on your back with your palms and shoulders flat in the floor, put your heels on top of an exercise ball with your knees bent. Then, while continuing to keep your hands and shoulders touching the ground, pull your knees in as if you were rolling the ball toward your buttocks. The bottom half or your torso should raise toward the ceiling, with the bottoms of your feet now on top of the ball. Push the ball back to its starting position with your heels again on top of the ball, and repeat for a minute. This should give your central ab muscles quite a workout.