Do not start cold you must mobilize and warm the body first.   You want to start lying on your back, heels on the floor.   Tilt pelvis into the floor so achieving a flat back, then relax and tilt the pelvis the other way to  arch the lower back.  Repeat a few times then find a position somewhere in between.  This is known as “neutral spine” where the spine is in its natural position.

All abdominal work should start from this neutral spine position, and must be performed slowly and under control ensuring that correct breathing is done.

1. Inhale and fill the lungs with air (chest and stomach should rise) then slowly exhale while pulling in the abdomen(compression).

2. Obtain neutral, lay hands on top of abdomen, inhale and pull the stomach in about 50% of a maximum pull.    Take both hands overhead to floor and back to abdomen whilst slowly exhaling.

3. Same position as above but hands by sides.  Do not allow the spine to flatten or arch.  Breathe in and slide a leg along the floor .  Breathe out and lift foot off the floor straight up then bend and replace to starting position.   Repeat other leg.  This can be reversed so start with leg up exhale as leg is lowered to floor and slide in.

4.  Position as for 3.  Lift legs to above the hips.    Keep one leg over hip at all times.   Exhale and straighten leg pushing it away from the body aim high to begin with.    Progressively lengthen and lower leg until you can do this with your feet just above the floor.    Always work with one leg at a time.

5        In a box shape on your hands and knees, checking that knees are in alignment with hips and hip distance apart, your wrist should also be directly underneath your shoulders.    Keep back flat and still throughout.   Allow the stomach to relax and hang down!    Start with a pelvic floor contraction (imagine that you need to go to the toiletbuts its not a good time) then pull the stomach muscles up and suck them in towards the spine.  Hold for 25 – 30 seconds breathing throughout.

Lying on back, heels close to butt,  clasp hands together in front with thumbs up.  Now take hands to the back of the head with thumbs down neck so supporting head and neck.

Look directly up at the ceiling and obtain neutral spine,  compress, lift head just off the floor.  This is the starting position and finishing position

Warning if on lifting  you look between your knees, over time a firm pot belly will be achieved.  If desiring a flatter stomach, look directly at ceiling and think about lifting from the rib cage not the chin.

1.   Keeping elbows level with ears slowly breathe out and lift shoulder blades clear of the floor.  Lift up slowly for two counts and lowering for two.

2.   As above but with knees further apart .  Lift rib cage slowly forward and down towards the opposite knee, alternate sides.  (elbows still kept back)

The Plank

Lying face down, palms to ceiling, elbows tucked into side.     Completely relax the abdominal muscles, try and get the chest relaxed on the floor to.

Breathe in, and as you breathe out pull up from the pelvic floor and try to suck in and lift the abdominals off the floor.   Hold it tight and breathe from the chest.

Only when this has been done can you then push up onto elbows and lift the hips whilst pushing onto toes.    Stay as low as you can, relaxing the shoulders by gently pressing them down your back,   breathe and hold for up to 30 secs.

Pelvic floor muscles will release but keep hold of abs throughout.

When lowering to floor at the end, bend the knees to the floor first.

Keep breathing

ONLY When you can comfortably do all the above try the following exercises

Core Cycling

Lying on back,  feet on the floor.   Hands and thumbs supporting the head and neck, look at the ceiling.   Breathe in and out pull up through the pelvic floor and tighten abs.   Lift the feet off floor and bring to above the hips.

Head relaxed on floor begin to slowly straighten one leg trying  to go as close to the floor as possible, then return to hip.  Repeat with other leg.  Breathe out as one leg is extended, in as it flexes.     Pelvic floor muscle will release but keep hold of abs throughout.    Repeat 10 on each leg.

Then keeping head looking up, lift upper body two inches off floor.

Repeat 10 on each leg.

Progress this by adding rotation from the ribs keep the elbows back.  Breathe

Side bends.

On back, feet on floor, one hand supporting head and neck, other hand by side.   Breathe in and out pull up through the pelvic floor and tighten abs, this time to 40 % of maximum.

Lift upper body so it is two – three inches off floor.   Keep looking up at ceiling,   reach to side trying to just touch heel – adjust footing as necessary.  8 on each side repeat twice.

Rectus Abdominus    (six pack)

Lying on your back, feet on the floor.   Hands and thumbs supporting the head and neck, look at the ceiling.   Breathe in and out pull up through the pelvic floor and tighten abs to 40%.

Lift upper body one inch off floor – you must come back to this position between each lift.   Now look further back at the ceiling.

Breathe out and lift upper body a further three to five inches off floor.   Breathe in and lower down to starting position.   Repeat 16 times.

Internal and External Obliques

Same as above but this time bring ankles and knees together so that they touch.   Allow the knees to drop to the right (clockface 2)  Lift as directed above.   Repeat 16 x’s   then take knees to the left (clockface 10) repeat 16.

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