Weekly Ab Supersets: Scissors and Cross Touch Abs

Try to do both of these moves as a superset – one after the other – everyday. Aim for 5 supersets, but start with 3. Both exercises have you positioned starting on your back, so you can take zero rest in between. Take a 30 second break between supersets, then repeat the sequence. This is meant to keep your core engaged, for a quick burn.

 

Scissors (20 reps) – Lie flat on your back, extending one leg straight up and lifting the other leg off the floor a few inches. Flex your feet, and switch position with your legs, holding briefly before switching back to start (1 rep = 2 switches). Keep legs as straight as possible throughout. You can keep your arms down by your sides, or place your hands under your hips. Be sure to keep your lower back on the ground. For more of a challenge, place your hands behind your head and crunch up slightly and hold the crunch as you scissor your legs.

 

 

Cross Touch Abs (20 reps) – Laying flat on your back, extend both legs straight up over your hips with your feet separated a couple inches. Crunch up and reach your right hand to touch the outside of your left foot, twisting your torso slightly. Lower and repeat reaching the left hand to the outside of the right foot. (1 rep). When lowering down, keep your shoulders off the ground to maintain a crunch throughout.

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Heel Taps and Double Leg Stretch

Do these 2 ab exercises in supersets, doing one right after the other. Rest only 30 seconds between sets. Aim for 5 supersets, but do at least 3.

Heel Taps (30 reps) – Lay on your back, arms down by your sides. Lift shoulders off the ground and curl your chin and reach to touch the right heel with right finger tips, then touch the other heel with the left fingertips (1 rep). Alternate side to side in a fluid motion, and keep shoulders off ground the entire exercise. Add variation by spreading feet further apart, or by touching the inside of the ankle instead of the heel. This will target your upper abs and obliques.

heeltap

Easy modification: Aim higher up on the leg, and reach and touch your calf it the heel is too much of a stretch

Hard modification: Grab a pair of weights and hold them in each hand as you perform the exercise.

Double Leg Stretch (12 reps) – Lay on your back with knees and hips bent 90 degrees, shoulders off the floor and hands placed lightly on your shins. Pull your abs in and flatten your lower back. Extend both legs and arms out overhead to 45 degrees, pause briefly and circle your arms and bend your knees to return to start and repeat. (1 rep). Keep your shoulders lifted for all reps. This will work your upper and lower abs.

Easy modification: If your neck is straining, or it’s to difficult to keep your shoulders lifted, lower shoulders after each rep. You can also do this move without even lifting your shoulders. Try to lower your legs as far as you can though.

Hard modification: As in the previous exercise, you can do this holding a pair of dumbbells as well.

Hello Dollys and Side Plank Twists

Try to work this daily ab superset into your workout and/or daily routine. Do these 2 exercises back to back without rest as a superset – rest up to 30 seconds between sets. Aim for 5 supersets, but perform at least 3. These will work your entire core, focusing mostly on the upper abs and obliques.

Hello Dollys (20 reps)

Start on your back, legs straight above hips and hands behind your head. As you crunch up, separate the legs straight out to sides, and back together as you lower shoulders back to the ground.

There are modifications that may be done, which may make the move harder or easier. Instead of placing your hands behind your head, you can stretch your arms out in front of you. As you crunch up and separate your legs, your arms will go between your legs.

You can also do just the leg movement, while remaining up in the crunch position with your shoulders lifted off the ground for all reps.

hellodolly


Side Plank Twist (10 reps/side)

Start in left side plank, with feet stacked and right arm outreached straight up.  left foot in front of right. Rotate hips so that the pelvis is facing the floor, bringing the right arm under your torso. Return to start bringing the right arm back overhead. Complete all reps then repeat in right side plank.

sideplankblue      underplank

Easy modification: perform the same movement, but position yourself into side plank on your elbow instead of your hand. You can also position your feet differently if you’re having a problem balancing. Place your top foot in front of the bottom foot a few inches, and perform the same rotation movement.

Reverse Crunch and Criss-Cross Crunch

Do these as supersets – one after the other with no rest. Take a 30 second break between sets. Do at least 3 sets, but try to work your way up to 5

 

REVERSE CRUNCH : 20 reps

Lay on bench with your hips at the end, holding onto the bench above your head. Lift knees to chest then push legs straight out and down to form straight line with body. Bring knees back to chest. Keep lower back pushed down. This should be mainly working your lower abs.

reverse

Easy modification: Lay flat on the floor with your hands  at your sides or under your hips. Do the same movement bringing your knees to chest then pushing them straight out. If you can’t keep your lower back down, or if this is too difficult, raise your legs to 45 degrees when straightening them.

Reverse Crunch 1

Hard modification: Perform this move on the bench, as mentioned above. After bringing knees to chest, lift your hips off the bench with knees still bent. Lower with control and push legs back out straight.

hardreverse

CRISS-CROSS Crunch: 15 reps

Lay with knees bent, hands behind head. Crunch up and cross left shoulder to right knee. Lower and repeat bringing right shoulder to left knee. (1 rep). Continue alternating sides. This will work the upper abs and obliques.

Oblique_crunch_

Easy modification: Lay with your right knee bent, and left leg crossed over the right knee so that the left knee points out to the side. Place your right hand behind your head, and crunch right shoulder to left knee. Complete 15 reps, then switch sides.

crisscross

Hard modification: Lay with knees slightly bent so that just your heels touch the ground, hands behind head. Crunch and cross left shoulder to right knee and you raise your leg, keeping a slight bend in it. Lower and repeat bringing right shoulder to left knee. (1 rep). Continue alternating sides. You can also do this same move with your lower back rested on a bosu ball or ugi ball. (see pic)

bosu

Cross-Leg Reverse Crunch and Plank Hip Twist

Complete each of these moves back to back with no rest 3-5 times. Rest little between supersets (no more than 30 seconds)

Cross-Leg Reverse Crunch (15 reps/side) – Lay on your back, rotate right hip out and place the outside of your right foot over the left knee. Do a reverse crunch lifting the left leg (with right crossed over) up and raise left foot to ceiling. Lower leg without touching the ground and repeat. Complete all reps, then switch legs, crossing left over a straight right leg.

Easy modification: Bend the leg that you are lifting off the ground.

Hard modification: Lay on a bench with your legs over the end, so that your legs never touch the ground. (see pic)

Plank Hip Twists (15 reps) – Start in plank, on elbows. Keeping legs and back straight, lower the right hip to floor. Return to plank and repeat to the left. (1 rep). Pivot at your feet – you should use your obliques and abs to lower and raise your hips.

elbowplank

Hard modification: Rest elbows on a bosu ball or ugi ball. This will add instability and make it harder work on your abs.

Floor Knee Tucks and The Frog

This week’s ab superset circuit contains 2 exercises that will work the upper and lower abs, as well as the deeper abdominal muscles. Do these back to back with no rest – and rest up to 30 seconds between supersets. Start with 3, and work your way to 5 supersets.

Floor Knee Tucks (15 reps) – Lie on the floor with your legs straight, holding a light dumbbell between your feet (3-5 lbs), arms are straight at your sides. Lift your shoulders of the ground to engage your core, and lift your feet a few inches off the ground. Bend your legs bringing your knees toward your chest, then straighten legs back out without lowering them to the ground. Also, be sure to keep your shoulders lifted for all reps.

dumbbell-pull-in

Easy modification: You can perform this same movement without the weight between your feet. Or if keeping your shoulders lifted strains your neck, you can lower them with each rep, or not raise your shoulders at all – just do the tucking movement with your legs. Try to keep your legs lifted throughout, so that your core is constantly engaged. Try to add weight if you can.

Hard modification: Up your weight to 8-10 lbs. You may need to slow your reps down so that your keep proper form. Make sure that your lower back stays in contact with the ground.

 

 

The Frog (20 reps) – Lie on a mat with legs straight and together, toes pointed and hands behind your head. Lift your upper body and do a crunch while lifting your legs and turning your hips out so that the bottoms or your feet come together toward your pelvis (frog shape). Hold for 1 count then return to start, straightening legs and lowering your shoulders.

Frog

Easy modification: Lie on the ground with your hands behind your head and your knees bent out to the sides with the bottoms of your feet together. Lift shoulders and crunch. This is a short movement – be sure to lift with your abs and don’t pull on your neck.

frogeasy

Hard modification: Leave the weight from the floor knee tucks between your feet and do the same movement with the weight. You may not be able to bring the bottoms of your feet completely together, but make sure the movement is relatively the same.

Introducing Weekly Abs

Every week I will post a superset ab workout. It will be 2-3 moves that will be done as supersets. So what does this mean? You will do these exercises back to back with no rest. Take up to a 30 second break between sets –  try for 3-5 supersets. The idea here is to keep your abs engaged and active to the point of exhaustion. This is a quick but effective ab workout – you should feel the burn!

sideplankblue

Try to perform these every day – they should only take a few minutes. Incorporate them into your workout, or you can perform it before you go to bed or when you wake up in the morning. Do these as often as you’d like – maybe during a commercial break or whenever you have a few minutes to spare. You can also modify them to make them harder (i.e add weight or more reps). I will provide modifications if they are optional.

Enjoy!

Nicki