With the first full day of summer upon us today, it’s officially that time of year again—bathing suit season.
Fret not—Donald Bunch, a trainer at the Westchester One Club in Elmsford, offers some pointers on basic, quick exercises you can do each night right at home, before bed, to get you in top form for that itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, yellow… well, err, you get the point.
Bunch divides the body into three main training regions: upper body, which includes the chest, arms, shoulders and traps (short for upper trapezius, a broad, flat muscle on each side of the upper and back part of the neck, shoulders, and back); lower body, which encompasses the gluts, hamstrings, quads, calves and feet; and the core, meaning the abdominal region.
This week he focuses on core training to help you get your abs trimmed and toned.
“Most people want to work out their lower abdomens,” said Bunch. “But if your goal is a six pack, remember that not every person can have one, because every person’s body is different. The goal should be to get stronger, not to get a six pack. In other words, substance, not cosmetics.”
The abdominal muscles are being used even when you’re sleeping, so they’re being used more than any other part of your body ever day, he added, calling the region “the basis of everything.”
Check out his tips below:
Most people tend to use the incorrect form when doing exercises, even one as simple as the basic sit-up.
For the best results, lay flat on your back, with your hands behind your head or neck. Pick a spot straight above you on the ceiling and lift yourself straight toward that spot, while exhaling. Then slowly move back down while inhaling, and repeat.
“Note that your neck should not be moving at all,” warned Bunch. “People use the neck because they think a lot of movement is needed to be effective, but it’s not.”
For beginners, he recommends two sets of 15 repetitions, and then gradually increasing the number of sets as the individuals muscles strengthen.
SIT-UPS WITH KNEES BENT
Follow the same form as the basic sit-ups, but with the knees lifted off the ground and bent, and your feet flat on the ground.
SIT-UPS WITH HIPS TURNED
This time, start with the same basic upper-body form, but rotate your hips and legs toward the left, so that the left side of your gluts, thighs and calves are against the ground. Bend your legs so that your thighs and calves form a 45-degree angle.
With your arms behind your head again, lift your torso toward your knees, keeping your chin off your chest, as in the basic sit-up.
VERTICAL LEG SIT-UPS
This form is varied from the basic sit-up in that your legs are lifted off the ground, with the knees bent slightly and ankles crossed, as seen below. Lift while exhaling, lower while inhaling, and repeat.
One of the more advanced sit-ups, this type works out all the abdominal muscles
To begin, put your hands under your head and lift your legs off the ground, keeping them straight and pressed together.
Slowly bring your left knee in toward your chest, and then straighten it as you bring in your right knee, mimicking a bicycling motion.
As you do so, lift the opposite side of your upper body in toward your legs. In other words, bring your right arm and elbow in toward the left knee you pull that leg into your chest, making them touch. Release and come back to starting position, and then bring your left arm in toward your right knee you draw that leg into your chest.
As you do this exercise, retain the same position with your arms under your head, not shifting their form at all.
Tune in next week for more summer work-out tips!