Why wait for 2012 to start working on your six pack abs resolution? Instead, make December all about the core - or, rather, Abcember! You can always fit in 20 minutes of exercise a day somewhere in your busy holiday schedule and core exercises require nothing more than a little bit of floor space in your own home. So, get crunching this December and begin training for your next in 2012 with a core that's built for speed with the following workout:
WORKOUT GOAL: 20-30 minutes of core work at least three times a week during the entire month of December.
Plank (1 minute)
- Begin lying face down, resting on your forearms. Push off the floor, raising up on to toes and forearms so your body is parallel to the floor.
- Focus on pulling your abdominal in, keeping your tailbone tucked under and your back flat.
- Prevent your bottom from sticking in the air or sagging in the middle, making a straight line from your head to your heels. Make sure you are looking slight forward so a not to put strain on the neck.
- Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, lower and repeat for 2-3 sets.
Side Plank (30 seconds each side)
- Lie on your right side. Keep your right forearm flat on the floor (at a right angle from your body), and your feet stacked.
- Lift your body up on to your forearm and the side of your right foot so your body is parallel to the floor
- Aim for a straight line between your head and feet.
- Rest your left arm by your side or lift it straight up towards the sky.
- Hold for 30 seconds. Turn around and repeat on your left side. Repeat for 2-3 sets. Progress to holding position for up to a full minute.
Plank Walks (30 seconds)
- Start in the push up plank position with abs tight and arms straight and hands shoulder-width arm under your shoulders and neck slight up so you are looking out in front of you.
- Bend one arm to bring the elbow and forearm to the floor.
- Bring the other arm down so you are in regular plank position with your forearms on the floor (elbows on the ground directly under your shoulders.
- Push back up to the start position and repeat lowering the other side first.
- Alternate lowering and raising your arms for 30 seconds working up to 1 minute. Repeat for 2-3 sets.
Leg Raises (1 minute)
- Lie on your back with legs straight up in the air, 90-degrees from your body. Place arms straight down along the side of your body or tuck hands under the small of your back. Head flat against the floor.
- Keeping your legs straight and feet together with toes point out, slowly lower legs as far as you can towards the floor without touching the floor or bringing your head off the ground.
- Hold for 2 seconds and then return to start position keeping your belly button drawn in the entire time.
- Repeat for 30 seconds up to 1 minute. Repeat for 2-3 sets.
Mountain Climbers (1 minute)
- Start in the push up position with your back flat, hips low and weight over your shoulders.
- Keeping your hands on the ground and head looking out in front of your, push off/jump one foot up towards your hands, keeping your knee between your arm and back and hips low.
- Swap your feet back and forward as fast as you can, without losing form, so you are alternating foot placement as you are running in place. Be sure to keep your back straight.
- Continue for 30 seconds working up to 1 minute. Repeat 2-3 times. Start on your hands and knees and get into in a sprinter’s start position.
Opposite Arm/Leg Extension (1 min/30 sec each side)
- Kneel on all fours with back flat and palms flat on the ground.
- Extend the left arm and right leg out.
- Squeeze your abs as you bring left elbow and right knee together under your torso curling your back up as you bring them in towards each other.
- Hold for 3 seconds in both extended out and crunched in positions. Repeat one side for 30 seconds and then switch sides. Repeat 2-3 sets.
Russian Twists (1 minute)
- Sit with your knees bent and feet crossed.
- Lean back until your abs burn (back straight).
- Hold arms out in front of you with hands clasped together.
- Twist your upper body to move both arms to touch the ground to the outside of one hip. Repeat moving arms from side of the hip to the other side for 30 seconds working up to 1 minute. Repeat for 2-3 sets.
Crazy Ivans (1 minute)
- Sit with your knees bent and feet crossed a few inches off the floor (modified: leave your feet on the floor)
- Lean back until your abs burn. Make sure to keep your back straight.
- Clasp your hands together and bring your arms straight out touching the ground outside of your right hip.
- Rotate through the upper body to bring your hands up over the opposite shoulder, then down to the same hip, and repeat. Keep head facing forward during the entire time.
- Switch to the other side after 30 seconds and repeat for another 30 seconds. Repeat for 2-3 sets.
Toe Touches (30 seconds)
- Lie on your back with arms and legs straight up in the air.
- Using your abs, reach towards your toes with your arms.
- Return to start position and repeat for 30 seconds. Try to keep your shoulders from touching the ground on your way back to the start position so your abs remain engaged the entire time.
- Continue for 30 seconds working up to 1 minute. Repeat for 2-3 sets.
Bridge Lift (30 seconds)
- Lie on y on your back with your hands at your sides and palms facing down. Bend your legs so that your feet are flat on the ground and directly below your knees.
- Fire your glutes by driving your heels into the ground to raise your hips. Your hips should create a straight line from the knee through the hip and shoulder. Again, maintain this position by firing the glutes (driving the heels into the ground) and not flexing the lumbar spine. You should feel it mainly in your glutes and hamstrings, not your back.
- At the top point, draw in the abdominals (pull your belly button toward your spine) and hold.
- Hold for 30 seconds for 3 sets. If your legs fatigue and your hips drop before the 30 seconds, reduce each set to 15 seconds.
Bicycle Crunches (1 minute)
- Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground and contract your core muscles. With your hands gently holding your head, lift your knees to about a 45-degree angle.
- Slowly, at first, go through a bicycle pedal motion alternately touching your elbows to the opposite knees as you twist back and forth.
- Continue for 30 seconds working up to a minute. Repeat for 2-3 sets.
Supermans (20 reps)
- Lie on your stomach with legs straight and feet together and arms straight up by your head.
- Lift both arms and legs a few inches off the floor and hold for 3 seconds. Keep feet pressed together and arms straight out passed your head.
- Lower and repeat 20 times. Repeat for 2-3 sets.