When it comes to toning the midsection, few are as knowledgeable as Chris Guerrero, founder and president of CrossFit Westchester and a former CrossFit regionals athlete. Here are four of the fitness guru’s favorite ways to strengthen your core.
Side Plank: “The side plank is a variation of the traditional plank that can be performed from your hand or forearm while engaging your core and holding your spine in a neutral (straight) position. Practice till you can hold each side for 90 seconds non-stop.”
Leg Raise Negatives: “Lie with hands at your sides and your lower back pressed into the floor. With your legs at 90 degrees above you, lower them as slowly as possible while keeping your back in contact with the floor. This challenges the negative — or eccentric portion — of the movement, which is an area often overlooked.”
Tabata Sit-Ups: “Perform eight rounds of 20 seconds of work with a 10-second rest period to follow. Use a standard sit-up position with feet anchored. With your hands at your temples — not pulling on your neck — explode up until your chest touches your thighs and return back to the start.”
If your arms are looking more flabby than fit, don’t despair. Krista Ferrara, owner of FitBody by Krista, suggests three moves that will shape your arms up, fast. “Try four sets of 25, every other day,” says Ferrara. You could see results in four weeks.
1. Snow Angel — Face a mirror with 3lb weights in hands, palms facing the mirror. Start with arms straight down at your sides. Take arms up and over your head until weights touch, then bring them all the way back down.
2. Shoulder Press — Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Press weights above your head.
3. Triceps Dip — Place hands shoulder-width apart on bench or chair. Slide your derrière off front of bench with your legs extended out in front of you. Straighten your arms.
The average couch potato watches 15 minutes of commercials an hour — the perfect time for couch crunches, says Certified Insanity Coach Jamie Smith of Be First Boxing in Peekskill. Expect some results after three weeks, assuming you stick to a regimen of 200 reps per day, three times a week.
“Absolutely anyone can do it. You are stronger than you think,” says Smith.
Lower Ab Crunch
Step 1: Sit on the edge of your couch with legs up and out in front of you.
Step 2: Roll back until shoulders touch back of couch.
Step 3: Roll back up.
Upper Ab Crunch
Step 1: Lie on back, knees bent, hands behind head.
Step 2: Slowly lift head, shoulder, and upper back off couch.
Step 3: Slowly lower back down.