Exercise No. 1: The Abdominal body stretch
Begin and end all of your routines (at whatever level) with this exercise, as it is more of a stretching exercise. It is essential to stretch before any exercise session (to warm up) and afterwards (to cool down) this greatly reduces the chances of any injuries. Lie down on your front, with your arms next to your head and stretch out as far as you can. Also stretch your legs, feet and toes as far as you can in the opposite direction. At the point of maximum tension, hold the position for 15 seconds, then release.
Perform five repetitions (reps).
Exercise No. 2: Hanging leg raises
Performing this movement requires the use of a horizontal bar from which to hang, e.g. a doorway chinning bar. Your grip should be slightly wider than shoulder width.
Bend you knees and try to raise your legs as high as possible (you should aim to touch your chest). Do not keep your pelvis completely straight for this exercise, for then other muscle groups apart from the abs come into play.
Keep your pelvis area curled slightly upwards during the whole movement (see diagram) this ensures pressure on the abs. Hold the raised position for a couple of seconds (keeping abdominals "tight") and then lower your legs.
To ensure correct and most effective form, make sure that you don't "swing" your legs up. Keep the movement slow and controlled let your work.
Exercise No. 3: Hanging knee raises
This exercise is the same as the last one except here, you must bend your knees fully and try to lift your legs up as far as possible(preferably to the chest).
Exercise No. 4: Horizontal Leg Raises
Lie flat on the floor on your back. Place hands, palms down below your pelvic area. Hold your head and shoulders slightly above the floor. This intensifies the pressure on the abs and gives better results.
Now with a controlled, smooth movement (not "swinging"), lift up your legs and pelvis until your feet point straight up.
At this point you can add a "thrusting" movement by thrusting your feet upward this adds further tension to the abs. When bringing legs down, perform the exercise above in reverse.
Exercise No. 5: Straight Abdominal Crunches
Lie back in a bent knee sit-up position with hands behind your head or touching your temples. In a controlled way, slowly lift your head and shoulders 30º off the ground. Hold the position for a second (tensing the abs. hard). Release and go back to the starting position. Don't "pull" your head up with your hands. Each repetition done properly, will take at least two seconds.
Exercise No. 6: Twisting Abdominal Crunches
These are similar to straight crunches but work predominantly the side of the abdomen. When lifting your left shoulder you should also raise your opposite (right) hip, and vice versa. Make sure you hold the "twist crunch" position for at least a second, maintaining tension in the outer ab. muscles.
Exercise No. 7: Semi Sit-ups (Accelerated)
Unlike all the other exercises in this programme this exercise should be performed as quickly as possible. Lie on your back, with your knees bent, and your legs at right angles with the floor. Now raise and lower your head, shoulders and upper chest as fast as you can.
Exercise No. 8: Rock Tucks
Starting in the bent knee sit-up position put your arms flat on the floor next to you with palms facing down. Moving in a controlled fashion, pull your knees (keeping them together) slowly back towards your chest. Keep your abs. tensed throughout. Hold this contracted position for two seconds and return to the starting position. (When returning to the starting position, try to keep your feet three inches off the floor as this keeps constant tension on the abs and is more beneficial).
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