You want a summer body, I want a summer body, we all want a summer body. So how do we get one? We start from the beginning. Every place we go looking for tips it’s always more of the same, “Do these five gym workouts and we’ll give you a pithy explanation.” This isn’t one of those.
This article is best starting point to get you in shape for summer. We’re starting off with the three most basic exercises: aka, the best abs workout for summer. These exercises can be done anywhere from the breakroom to your bedroom.
Planks are a full body workout that are not as rough on your lower back as sit-ups, and they give you that control that you need. So how do you do a plank?
You will want to be in push-up position. From there, you can rest on your flat forearms or maintain a full push-up position. I find it easier, and more effective, to have my forearms flat on the floor. To increase your stability and release pressure, make a triangle with your forearms (keep your elbows shoulder width apart and bring your hands together).
Then comes the most important part: your body should be in as straight of a line as you can make it. Your face is looking at the floor (not at your feet and not in front of you), and you should be able to put a plank of wood on your backside and have it hit your ankles to your head. Essentially, you look like a plank of wood. Now, just hold it as long as you can. Do a couple more sets of them and call it a day.
There are two pictures below, can you figure out which one is correct?
If you said the second one, you’re right. Notice that her body is a straight line and her face is towards the ground. The other picture what you should NOT to do. Her lower back is being terribly pulled out of position, and it’s over-stretching her upper back. She’s relying on her lower-back to maintain stability instead of her core, but that increases pressure on your lower back, potentially leading to more injury.
Once you’ve gotten used to engaging your abdominal muscles, let’s move on to the sit-up.
Sit-ups are great and potentially terrible at the same time. If done correctly, they will work out your abdominal muscles. If done incorrectly, it can tear up your back. So you have to do them correctly by activating your abs.
So how do you activate your abdominal muscles? Scrunch them. If you don’t know how to squeeze them, imagine someone is about to punch you in the stomach. You’ll reflexively flex. Those are your abs.
This is the difference between the plank and the sit-up. The plank subconsciously forces your body to use your abs to maintain the correct position. The sit-up is a conscious effort.
So you need to assume the “sit-up” position. Lay down on the floor with your knees up and feet flat on the floor. You can cross your arms across your chest or put them behind your head. But the most important part is sitting up by using your abdominal muscles.
You do that while laying down. Don’t use your back to help you. If you can only lift your shoulders two inches off the ground by doing that, that’s perfectly ok. Keep doing that. Soon you’ll get three, and four. (This is why people say crunches are safer. Using your back to do sit-ups, especially if you sit all day, only increases the chances of lower back pain).
This one will actually get you into a better position. Now I could just tell you to, “sit upright,” but that doesn’t help anyone. You use your core to sit-up. All of those sit-ups and planks are showing you exactly which muscles you should be flexing and using. Now use those muscles extensively in order to maintain an upright position in your chair.
This exercise is perfect for just working out in the office. If you find yourself leaning backwards too much, use your abs to “pull” yourself forward and upright. If you find yourself leaning to far forward, straight yourself up and tighten your abs so it feels like a brace that keeps your chest from falling forward.
Hopefully with these three activities, we can move on to our bigger and better exercises to get you completely in shape for summer. If you have any more tips and tricks, let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.