10 Penguin + Cross Over Crunch Combo [R]
10 Penguin + Cross Over Crunch Combo [L]
5 Laying Double Leg Lift & Crunch [Hi-Lo]
[x2] = 50
10 Bird Dog Crunches [R]
10 Bird Dog Crunches [L]
5 Plank Drill: R Side Plank + R Obl Crunch + Repeat on L
[x2] = 50
Does the 1st exercise leave you wondering...
"WHY DO AB EXERCISES KILL MY NECK?!"
- Check your posture! First off, pull your belly in & press your lower back toward the floor to prevent arching in your lower back. And remember that your neck is also part of your spine! If it often aches while doing ab exercises, you may be sticking your chin out like a pigeon does when it walks - haha - OR pulling your chin down to your chest. This hyperextends & fatigues the muscles that support your head. Instead, stabilize your neck & initiate crunching movements by lifting your shoulder blades off the ground. Your head is attached to your shoulders, so it’ll follow automatically ;-)
- Make sure you’re engaging your lats. This is CRUCIAL for every exercise EVER. To engage your lats, do the opposite of shrugging your shoulders, [broaden them as you pull them down & away from your ears]. If your lats disengage, your shoulders will collapse forward & lift toward your head, which creates tension in your neck, chest & shoulders. Pulling that tension down into your powerhouse is not only going to reduce tension in your neck, it’s going to properly load your abdominals so that you’re actually strengthening them with the exercise.
- Use your strength to control the movement at all times! Using momentum to crunch by throwing your head &/or arms forward is basically giving yourself whip lash - HA! With these cross over crunches, how much you lift up is 100% dictated by your abdominal strength. Initially, you may only be able to lift your head & the top of your shoulder... but you’ll improve more quickly than you think - so long as you follow all the tips above :-D
Bird Dog Crunches
Bird Dogs are an anti-rotation core training exercise. I love them because they’re a great way to build body awareness around core engagement - which can be a whole lot harder to focus on when you’re laying on your back struggling through crunches or leg lifts. They’re also great - when done correctly, of course ;-) - for people who struggle with lower back pain. When you reach your arm & leg, be sure to squeeze the booty of the lifting leg & engage the lat, [unshrug the shoulder], of the reaching arm. When you crunch your knee & elbow under your torso, focus on moving with strength & control so that you're able to keep your hips & shoulders square to the ground as you round your back & crunch your abdominals.
The side planks are another great opportunity to practice keeping your lats engaged [shoulders "unshrugged"] to build stability in your shoulders & core. For the oblique crunches, your goal is to crunch your knee to the side without letting your hips get out of place. If our hips lift above your shoulders, it shifts tension out of our abs & into our neck... & if our hips sag too low, it shifts tension out of our abs & into our lower back. The goal is to keep the tension in our lats & abdominals at all times!
Ok! You've got all the tools you need to CRUSH this workout - Let's get it!