Drop and Give Me 20!
Pushups are an excellent way to tone and strengthen the upper body but women are frequently intimidated by them. We’ve been lead to believe that we don’t have the upper-body strength for them and wind up missing out on the benefits. But, with proper technique and a bit of practice the basic pushup can become your go-to exercise for sleek, powerful arms.
1. Set yourself up in a basic plank position–palms on the floor, wrists and shoulders vertically aligned, core engaged. Most importantly DON’T do them on your knees! If your wrists and shoulders are strong enough to hold a plank on your hands, your ready to try pushups on your toes!
2. Lower your body towards the floor by bending your elbows and push back up until your arms are straight or almost straight again. If you’re new to pushups, don’t worry about going down all the way. It can take a while to develop the strength to go all the way down and back up again.
1. Butt ups–people sometimes are so focussed on the up and down motion that they start rocking their hips up and down rather than bending at the elbows. This won’t get the results you want and may irritate your lower back. Lower your entire body at the same time, and keep that core engaged!
2) V-up–double check that your hands are in line with your shoulders as you move. If your hands are too far out in front of you you risk injuring the front of your shoulder. Think of making a perpendicular line from the floor, through the wrist and elbow to the shoulder. If you feel discomfort in your shoulders, you can try widening or narrowing your hands but they should always be lined up with your shoulders, not your face or eyes.
You can do it! Stay on your toes for strong arms and shoulders.
I Am Enthusiastic AB Movement
Lying on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor about hip width apart, place your hands behind your head where your head meets your neck. Lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor feeling your abdomen muscles contracting. Keep your eyes focused upward. When you are at your highest point, say “I”. Return your upper body back to the floor. Lift your upper body off the floor again and say “am.” Return your upper body back down to the floor. Lift your upper body off the floor again and say “enthusiastic.” Repeat as needed.
Swimsuit Ready Challenge
This exercise is part of our Swimsuit Ready Challenge (April 2-30, 2012). Do this exercise and comment below “I did this!” to be entered to win our $100 and $50 giveaways. You may enter up to one time per day through April 30th.
Also – be sure to share this on Facebook, Pinterest and other sites to let your friends cheer you on or – better yet – join in on the challenge so they can hang out on the beach with you this summer! read more →
Planking is more than just a silly trend! It’s a fast and effective core strengthening exercise that packs a punch! While it may look simple enough, holding the plank position for a full minute may take some time to work up to, but you will quickly notice your core becoming stronger.
This exercise from Kerry Ann King seems easy at first – but try to hold it for a while, and you’ll feel the burn kick in! This move proves that you don’t have to get to the gym every day to have great looking abs – you just have to get into those abs!
Ready for swimsuit season? Dreading the thousands of crunches you think you need to do to get there? Stop!
I’m like everyone else – I hate sit-ups and crunches. But, probably not for the same reason that everyone else hates them.
I hate sit-ups and crunches because they are too easy… yep, you heard me, too easy.
Cheating on Your Abs
It’s just too easy to cheat yourself when doing sit-ups and crunches. Admit it – you don’t squeeze as many muscles as you could as hard you can with every crunch.
And really, all that you’re doing is cheating yourself out of the benefits of a good ab workout. And – ug – if we expect anything from all of our intense workout exercises – it’s f#%@ing awesome abs!
Do Ab Exercises You Can Feel
There are two types of ab and core exercises that work – and you’ll know they work because you’ll feel the burn.
- Big, Repetitive Movements
- Isometric Holds
The most popular of these is the plank. Holding a plank requires the engagement of most of the muscles throughout your core. Plus, it engages muscles in the legs, arms and shoulders.
Challenge yourself by holding a plank as long as you can, and then beat your time day after day. Every second counts… think about it. In if you can hold for 30 seconds today, add 1 second per day and by this time next month, you’ll be planking for a full minute.
Change it up switching your hand and/or foot position:
- Place your elbows and forearms down on the ground (your hands under your face) – and watch that your tail doesn’t raise.
- Lift and hold one foot up about an inch off the ground. Hold for as long as you can and switch feet.
Wall Press Leg Lifts
- Sit on floor with lower back against a wall, knees slightly bent and feet planted wider than shoulder-width apart. Place hands on floor between legs and squeeze abs.
- Press into floor with fingertips and lift feet about 6 inches. Make it easier: Lift and lower left foot; then repeat with right to complete 1 rep.
Slow-Rise Head Stand
Now, this is one of my current challenges! Getting from a “dolphin” (basically a downward dog with your forearms and head on the floor) into a headstand without kicking your feet… you just slowly raise them upward.
The woman above shows the move one leg at a time. This helps get the feel for balance and gives your neck and back a break until your abs are strong enough to hold both legs.
Once you’re ready to try this, start with both feet on the floor, and your head and forearms ready to support your weight. Slowly bring both knees into your chest, and raise them together into the air. Easy – right? Haha – not at all!
Feel the Burn!
Give these a try and feel the burn in your abs and throughout your core! Bye-bye easy crunches and hello swimsuit season!
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