So I had a chat with my mum on Skype the other night. She told me she's started doing 50 sit ups a night to improve her fitness. I had to stop for a second to realise I'd failed to talk to mum about some very important basic fitness principles, and how sit ups are not the answer. I am ashamed. I've had hundreds of private clients over the years who know better than my own mum?!
She's going to fly over to visit us from Finland next month, and I'm sure as hell going to make sure she leaves a week later being a lot more educated. In this post you'll find out exactly what she'll learn.
Now, most people will take on doing ab work at home because they want their waist to be smaller... Correct? Yep, well working on your abs will do very little, if anything. They might even make matters worse if you're doing the exercises wrong. Loads of people have got ab work induced lower back pain, which is not fun and can take a long time to get rid of. Also, if your breathing is wrong you can be encouraging your belly to actually push out, not get any slimmer.
Like your experienced powerlifters, they might be in pretty decent condition but also do a lot of exercise whilst pushing their bellies out towards their belts... Not ideal if you want to look slim.
So instead, focus on a full body workout where you use all of your biggest muscle groups. That way your body will burn the most calories (and fat), and since you cannot target fat loss, it'll burn off the most overall fat and tone up your body in all of the problem areas, including your waistline.
Here's your exercises for an effective beginner's home workout:
- Squat (standing up and keeping your heels on the floor, lower your bum down as if you were going to sit down on a chair. Keep your knees aligned with your toes. Your hands can come in front of you for balance as you squat down. Aim to get your thighs parallel to the floor.)
- Push up (keeping your knees on the floor [and feet uncrossed] whilst resting on your arms, lower your chest down until your arms are parallel with the floor, then push back up whilst breathing out at the top. Make sure your arms are aligned with your nipples, not your neck!)
- Seal (or 'lying back extension'. Lie down on your stomach, holding your hands by your temples. Lift your chest up controlled off the floor as high as you can, hold for a second at the top and lower back down to where there is still tension in your back muscles. Repeat. If you want the extra benefit of working out your bum too, just lift your feet up off the floor whilst squeezing your glutes at the same time as lifting your chest.)
Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions of each of these exercises. That's it! These exercises also train your core when you make sure your posture is good throughout, so no need for specific ab work unless you're already lean or have a particularly weak core.
50 crunches every night
3 x 15 squat, push up, seal every night
Make it into a daily routine and soon you'll start seeing much better results than you would from doing sit ups .
P.s. If you've got any questions, just drop me a message