Killer foam roller ab workout. The foam roller is one of my favourite workout props. Not only is it fantastic for rolling out sore muscles, but it can take any workout, even the easiest moves to the next level. When I still had my Pilates studio it was my secret go to when I had a “rowdy” class of A-type personalities that needed taming or when I had to deal with a bunch of athletes who thought Pilates was for “women”.
KILLER FOAM ROLLER AB WORKOUT
Arm circles. This is your quick warm up, a chance to find your feel for the roller and most importantly, to find your balance. Lying lengthwise on the roller (make sure that your head is firmly supported) place your feet flat on the floor hip distance apart, toes pointing forward. Reach your arms up to the ceiling and do large arm circles. Do 10 one way and 10 reverse. Don’t let your shoulders hunch up by your ears and keep your stomach engaged without arching your back or jamming it into the roller.
Toe dips. Now the fun starts. Place your hands on the floor by your sides (the wider you place them the easier it is). One at a time, lift your legs up to a table top position (legs are at a 90 degree angle to the floor, knees together). Without letting your back arch, you will create an arc with your right leg and slowly count to 5 as you dip your toes toward the floor, just as slowly bring your leg back to the start position and repeat with the other leg. Do each leg 10x. Part 2. Now you are going to dip both legs at the same time. Tips. The key is to create an arc with your legs and not just bend your knees. Don’t let your legs straighten either. Your legs are moving from the hips. To increase the difficulty, lift one arm in the air (just make sure that you are alternating arms).
Crunches with a twist. Starting with your feet flat on the floor, hip distance apart, toes pointing forward place your hands behind your head in a classic crunch position. Inhale and on the exhale curl your torso up off the roller. Simple yes, but there are a few things you should be thinking about. Tips. Watch that your glutes are relaxed so don’t tense your lower body. This will be a small curl so imagine that there is a pencil right under your chest and feel like you are curling over it. Repeat 10x. Part 2. Keeping your elbows pointing out to the sides, curl your body off the roller. Inhale when you get to the top and add 10 small pulses. Repeat 10x. Part 3. Without letting the roller move or letting your knees wobble from side to side, add a small twist as you curl up. Repeat 20x alternating sides.
Bicycle. This is a traditional bicycle exercise except we are taking it up a notch. Lying lengthwise on your back on the roller, take your legs up to a table top position (90 degree angle to the floor). On your exhale, stretch your right leg out without letting your lower leg arch up off the roller (if it does, simply take your leg up higher). Alternate legs 15x on each side. Part 2. To make this exercise even harder, reach both legs out at the same time. Part 3. Do this exercise with one arm reaching toward the ceiling.
Push ups x2. Now that your abs are burning, let’s finish off with some push ups. Place your hands on the roller and do 15 push ups. If you have weak wrists simply place your forearms on the roller and move it back and forth 15x. Part 2. With your hands on the floor place your toes on the roller and start your push ups. Do 15. For the forearm option you will gently pull the roller toward you by lifting your glutes a few inches in the air and return to your start position. Do 15. Part 3. If the push up are easy, just add a twist. You’ll start on one side with your feet stacked on the roller. Inhale and as you exhale pull the roller in, lift your hips to the ceiling and cross your free arm under your body. Do each side 10x.
As with any workout, remember to keep breathing and keep form over function. You’ll be tempted to power through this workout, but don’t. The killer aspect of these moves is all in keeping the correct form. If you feel any pain or discomfort in your lower back just take your legs up a little bit higher. Re-asses your position and try to continue. Remember, since all of these exercises rely primarily on your core they can be added to any workout.
What’s your favourite ab workout?
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