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Crunch-Less Core Workout

Crunch-Less Core Workout

While crunches have their place in a workout routine, I've found that the best core exercises typically don't involve them. The following (printable!) workout is designed to engage your whole core, that means your abs, back, and glutes, without a single crunch. Don't be fooled - this workout is still challenging. Give it a try, and then let me know how you liked it!

Feeling Stuck? Break Through Creative Blocks with This 15-Minute Workout

Ever feel like there is a giant roadblock in the way of your creativity? I'm not necessarily talking about "traditional" creativity (like painting or sculpting). Maybe it's simply writing a difficult email, or completing a project at work. We can all get a little stuck sometimes, which is why I created today's workout.

The workout focuses on activating the second chakra, located right above the pubic bone. This is where your creativity is stored. Now, if you're not "into that stuff" no worries. This is also where your core muscles live, muscles that typically go to sleep throughout the day as we sit, slump, and slouch at a desk, driving in the car, or lounging on the couch. No matter what school of thought you believe, there is some stagnant energy floating around in that region, and this workout is exactly what you need to flush it out and tone up the core muscles in the process. Give it a try!

 
 

As always, leave a comment below and let me know how you liked it. 

 
 

Daily Core Workout

If you've ever come to one of my workout classes, you just know I looove my plank exercises. A great, all-around core strengthening exercise, there really is nothing better. This is a quick and simple workout you can do daily, and it only takes about 10 minutes. It gets the whole body moving, and doesn't involve one. single. crunch. 

See below the image for detailed instructions!

1. 60-Second Plank: Set yourself up in this plank position to start. The key is to make sure your shoulders are over your elbows, and your weight is shifted to the balls of your feet. Picture making a straight line from the top of your head to your heels, lengthening through your entire body. As you do this. slide the shoulder blades away from the ears, drawing the thighs up and towards each other and pulling the abdominal muscles up and in towards your spine. Think about engaging the abs even more every time you exhale. Hold for 60-seconds, coming down to the knees (see modification 1a) if you really need a break. Rest in child's pose for 15 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. 

1, 2, 3, 4. Plank-Ups: Starting in position #1, place your right hand on the ground then, push yourself up with your left hand, coming into a high-plank (position #4). Pressing the ground away from you find a straight plank, but this time on your hands. To come back down lower onto your right forearm, then your left forearm. This is one count (right hand, left hand, right forearm, left forearm) . Repeat 5 rounds leading with the right hand, and 5 rounds leading with the left (10 rounds total. Rest in child's pose for 15 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. 

5. 60-Second Side Plank: Rotate from your forearm plank, into a side plank. Keep the elbow directly under the shoulder, pressing the forearm down into the ground, and lifting the hips up towards to ceiling. It's very important to keep the hips and shoulders directly stacked over one another, to target the bottom oblique. Continue to create length between the top of the head and the heels and draw the belly button in towards the spine. If you're new to side planking, try modification 5a. Hold for 60 seconds, then rotate to the other side to repeat. 

6. V-Up Hold: Flipping onto your bum, sit up straight, drawing the abdominals in and up. Lift the feet off the ground, so the shins are parallel to the floor. Reach the arms forward at shoulder height. If you need support balancing, feel free to hold onto the back of the thighs, and test periodically with the arms reaching forward. Hold this for one minute before continuing to exercise #7.

7.  V-Up Extension: Starting in position #6, Extend the legs straight out and lower the torso down towards the floor, without resting on the ground. Exhale, and draw the abdominals in further to return to position #6. If you need help balancing, you can bring the finger tips to the floor near the side of the hips. Repeat this 15x, then continue to exercise #8 and #9.

8, 9. V-Up Twist: Holding position #6, cross the arms like you're holding a baby, in the unsafest way possible that is. Twist right, reaching the elbows down towards the ground, then twist left. With this exercise you want to feel like you're wringing out the obliques and the spine. Breathing consistently. Repeat 20x, then rest!

You did it! How do you feel? Is it harder than it looks? Let me know in the comments below, and make sure to sign up for email updates if you're looking for more workouts like this!

 
 

10-Minute Plank Workout

If you've ever tried any sort of workout regimen, you've probably been exposed to this dreadful exercise... the Plank. 

It's one of those isometric exercises that works almost every muscle in your body at the same time your brain is saying "PLEASE STOP!" 

It's hard, I know. But it's also one of the most effective exercises... if you do it right. And that's a big IF.  

If you've worked with me before you know I am BIG on alignment and form so you can squeeze the most out of a short workout.

For this exercise, it's extra important to read through the cues, and then give it a try. You might not get through it the first time, but just keep practicing. Once you get your alignment in check, you'll start to notice not only differences in overall toning, but your posture, and even your mood might change.  

plank-workout

 

  1. 60-Second Plank: Set yourself up in this plank position to start. The key is to make sure your shoulders are over your elbows, and your weight is shifted to the balls of your feet. Picture making a straight line from the top of your head to your heels, lengthening through your entire body. As you do this. slide the shoulder blades away from the ears, drawing the thighs up and towards each other and pulling the abdominal muscles up and in towards your spine. Think about engaging the abs even more every time you exhale. Hold for 60-seconds, coming down to the knees if you really need a break. Rest in child's pose for 15 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. 
  2. 90-Second Plank with Knee Tread: Hold the plank from position #1, and drop your right knee, and then left knee down towards the floor, but without resting the knee completely. In this exercise nothing else moves except the knees so make sure you keep drawing the abdominal muscles up and in to keep your hips level. Do this for 90 seconds, then rest in child's pose for 15 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.
  3. 60-Second Twisting Plank: Holding the plank from position #1, and this time squeeze the thighs and feet together. Place a slight bend in your knees and then twist your knees and your hips fully to the right, while keeping your shoulders level, and your chest facing down towards the floor. Feel the opposition of your shoulders and chest anchoring the front of your body, as your hips and knees twist through your lower body to engage your obliques. Twist right to left for 60-seconds. Rest in child's post for 15 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. 
  4. 90-Second Plank w/ Leg Raise: Holding the plank from position #1, raise your right leg, Keep the rest of the body stable in your plank position, and your right hip, thigh, knee, and foot facing straight down towards the floor. Find length between the top of the head and the right heal. Engage the right glute muscle (butt cheek) and draw both legs in towards the midline of your body. Lower and lift the leg for 45-seconds, and then switch sides. Rest in child's pose for 15-seconds and then repeat all 4 exercises.  

If you want to try another variation for your second round, try the same exercises but holding a plank on your hands. This will work the muscles of the shoulders, chest, and back a little more. All of the same alignment cues apply!

When you're done, share the news with a friend, and challenge them to try the workout! Tweet it!

Photos by Matt Potenski + dotcom Distribution Photo Studio