Keep up the cardio. because we’ll add to it soon, but right now were going to focus on developing an all too often neglected area of your body.  Your core is basically your midsection. Made up of a sort of girdle of abdominal and low back muscles, this is the area of your body responsible for holding you up all day long.  These muscles  play a big role in holding posture upright and in your balance and coordination.

This week, implement this ab routine into your day on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  You want a day of recovery.  This routine takes no special equipment, no resistance, and no time restrictions, so be sure you do each set all the way through before you rest.

A strong core will help you show off your strength and your stomach come beach volleyball season.

Lovely Abs:

Suitcase crunch x20
V-Ups x20
Reach Throughs x20
Toe touches x20
Russian twists x20
Reverse crunch x20
Side crunch (right) x20
Side crunch (left) x20
Pillar x 30seconds

Rest a minute and repeat two times, for a total of 3 sets.

Index of Ab Exercises:

1. Suitcase– lie on your back with hands on ears (don’t pull on neck) and knees bent at about 90 degrees with feet on the ground. Pull in with your stomach to bring your elbow and knees together. Slow and controlled, simultaneously lower feet (with legs still bent) and torso back towards the ground. Don’t let your feet touch the ground. That is one repetition.

2. V-up– lie on your back with arms stretched overhead and legs stretched out straight. Pulling from your stomach, bring your torso and your legs together so that in your end position, you are sitting on the top of your tailbone. Slow and controlled lower yourself all the way back to the ground. If you aren’t able to do this yet, try an alternating v-up. Alternating v-ups are similar except you pull up right leg to left hand, back down and then left leg to right hand. One arm and one leg is always on the ground to help stabilize.

3. Reach through– lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your feet on the ground shoulder width apart. Clap your hands together pointed towards your legs. Lift up from your stomach to reach your hands through your legs. Only go as far as your stomach will lift you (about where your shoulder blades come off the ground). Control your way back down.

4. Toe touches– lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air and your toes together. Clasp your hands together, lift your shoulders off the ground to reach for your toes. Lower your shoulders back to the ground.

5. Russian twists- sitting up, bend your knees to 90 degrees. Grasp your hands just behind your knees and lean back until your arms are straight. Stay at this angle. If you can, pick your feet off the ground and straighten out your legs. You will stay in this position for the duration of the exercise. Now grasp your hands together and hold just over your stomach. Turn so that your shoulders face to the right and your hands are over your right hip. Now twist to the left. Right and left equals one repetition.

6. Reverse crunch– lie on your back and bend your knees at 90 degrees with your feet on the ground and arms out to the side. Keeping your shoulders on the ground the whole time, lift your feet off the ground, rock back and lift your feet up to the air. Your tail bone should come off the ground. Be sure you lift with your stomach and don’t push off your arms. Come back down so that your feet ALMOST touch the ground.

7. Side Crunch– From the ending position of reverse crunch, let your knees fall to the right with your legs stacked. Your shoulders are on the ground. Put your hands on your ears. Crunch up (pull with your stomach) Over your left hip. Do all repetitions this side and then switch to other side.

8. Pillar- Have a timer or a clock where you can see seconds. Lie on your stomach. Tuck your elbows under your shoulders. Push up so that you form a bridge between your elbows and your toes, and hold this position by drawing your stomach in to your low back. Your arms should be at 90 degree angles. Your back should be flat. No butts in the air or sagging low backs or stomachs. Hold for time limit. If you can’t hold this position yet, then bridge between your elbows and knees instead, trying to form a straight line with the same technique between your shoulders and knees.

That’s it. Enjoy the burn!