The Agency recently had the honor of hosting our new brand partner Equinox at our new listing 438 N. Faring Road, where they shot an awesome Ab Body Workout video. The star of that video, Aida Palau, contributed this week’s Top 10, which is sure to get you in shape just in time for all those stylish summer outfits. Many thanks to Aida and Equinox for these great workouts!
1. Narrow Push Up with Hip Adduction
- This is a dynamic exercise.
- From a plank position — hands and shoulders aligned, heels above the toes, body straight in a perfect line from head to toes — deepen stomach towards lower-back and (inhale) rise right leg off the floor and push toe upward with leg extended.
- (Exhale) drag the right knee in towards opposite elbow while bending right arm and extending right knee and keeping foot hip-height (or higher, if flexibility and strength allow).
- (Inhale) bending right knee in, head down and extend right toe/leg up.
- Repeat left side.
- 5-8 sets.
2. Sit, Roll and Stand Up
- Stand up tall in front of mat, with feet together and toes slightly apart.
- With control, sit down on mat, bringing head down between knees and hands to ankles, lifting feet off the mat, balancing on tailbone (your body should look like a rounded ball).
- Without modifying that shape, (inhale) as you roll back on lumbar and thoracic spine (never cervical) and (exhale) as you roll forward, then press feet together on the mat and stand up.
- 6-12 repetitions.
- It’s your body’s center of gravity that rolls you back (head remains forward). Make sure you roll on lower-back vertebras first. Press abdominal wall back to round deeper the lower-back.
- If lower-back is tight, create more distance between shoulders and knees (reducing hip flexion).
- Pull heels to the buttocks when rolling back and forth.
- Master the rolling back and forth before you add the standing up part of the exercise.
- Refrain from doing this exercise if suffering from a lower-back condition.
- Lift the heels to sit down on the mat.
- Don’t use the weight or momentum of head to roll back on spine.
3. Standing Mountain Climber
- To determine the right distance between feet and hands, start this exercise on all fours (wrists and shoulders aligned, knees and hips aligned, long spine, head aligned with the spine, ankle and feet aligned).
- Draw stomach in and, keeping shoulders above hands, extend completely one leg behind you placing toe on mat to the furthest point possible and do the same with the other. Now you should be in a perfect plank position. Shoulders and wrists aligned, long neck aligned with rest of spine, lower-back strong and supported by stomach in, knees completely extended hip-width apart, heels over toes.
- Keeping both hands down to the mat (if possible), bring right foot in between the two hands, aligning toes and fingers. If keeping hands down doesn’t allow you to keep back leg completely straight (knee extended), bring right hand or both onto the right thigh. Hands down or not, still rounding spine (aligning the head with it) and belly off the thigh.
- Breathing normally, and keeping right leg stable (not moving), draw left knee into chest and back 4 times.
- Continue moving back leg in and out for 4 repetitions while, simultaneously, rising arms and spine up towards the ceiling (head is perpendicular to floor, between the two arms, shoulders down and chest is open).
- Holding arms and spine up, back leg continues moving in and out for 4 repetitions.
- Start lowering arms down to the mat (or thighs if necessary) for 4 more repetitions.
- Start over for a 2nd and a 3rd set, if possible.
- Keep weight onto front leg, making sure knee and ankle are aligned. Front leg stays completely stable.
- Head remains aligned with spine and belly remains constantly drawn inward.
- Keep a vigorous rhythm.
- Shift the weight to the back leg or bend it at the knee.
4. Kneeling Side-Kicks
- From a plank position — hands and shoulders aligned, heels above the toes, body straight in a perfect line from head to toes — keep shoulders quiet and lower right knee to mat. Lift up left arm up to ceiling while turning right lower-leg behind you (so now you are sideways). Bring left hand behind aligned head (supporting head firmly), with left elbow as open as possible. Left leg rises up, keeping it turned out (knee pointing to the ceiling) at hip height.
- Lengthen left leg all the way through toes, away from hip while pushing waist up away from mat. (Inhale) bring left leg straight towards the front (hip flexion) and (exhale) bring it all the way back (hip extension).
- Repeat left side.
- 6-12 sets.
- Lift waist away from mat.
- Keep head aligned with rest of spine and top elbow open.
- Pull navel toward spine throughout entire exercise.
- Keep upper body as quiet as possible.
- Create length between the top of the head and the toe.
- Lower head or elbow down.
- Sink on standing hand.
- Compress lower-back when leg reaches furthest point back (hip extension).
5. Double Straight Leg Stretch – Clock
- Lay down on back with knees into chest shoulder-width apart, heels together, head lifted (nose in between the knees), shoulders down away from neck / ears and hands on ankles, pulling them gently towards you (elbows bent).
- Pull belly in towards spine / mat, keep head up and (inhale) extend arms and legs away from each other (arms straight back ears high, legs together in front at the height that allows lower-back to remain anchored on mat).
- (Exhale) circling arms straight to the side and forward while curling tailbone in to draw knees into the chest with heels together, getting into smallest rounded ball shape possible.
- Keep head up throughout the entire sequence.
- Keep lower-back anchored on the mat when extending the body.
- Use breathing to energize the movement, keeping a rhythm / flow and reach the furthest point of the exercise in both directions.
- When extending the body avoid at all costs lifting lower-back off the mat and/or lowering head down to mat. Legs remain always connected (thighs should be together during body’s extension and heels together during body’s flexion).
6. Shoulder Bridge
- Lay down on back with arms long by sides of the body, fingers reaching forward past hips, knees bent hip-width apart and heels on mat beneath knees.
- Press arms and heels into mat. Pull navel in and up and start lifting tailbone then lower-back vertebras, middle-back vertebras and then upper-back, creating a stretch in back of neck and at front of body (chest, hips, thighs).
- Keeping hips quiet, lift right knee up above hip and extend completely.
- Push toe up higher and (inhale) flex right ankle and reach heel towards front and, if it allows, a bit below hip-level, point toe, and (exhale) to bring the straight leg back up.
- Perform 6 repetitions and then repeat on other side.
- Keep weight off neck. Master stabilizing the hips first, then challenge yourself with range of motion of leg and later performing it without arm-support.
- Peel off one vertebra at-a-time when spine is in motion, looking for length / space between the vertebras through conscious movement and breathing.
- Feet are active and constantly reaching away from hip. Look for hip-stretch when leg goes to front.
- Collapse on neck, or compress lumbar vertebras.
7. Supine Pelvis Curl (or Reverse Crunch) – with arms up overhead
- Lay down on back with arms long by sides of body, fingers reaching forward past hips, knees bent to chest and heels as close to buttocks as possible.
- With arms and head pressing firmly into mat and heels as close to buttocks as possible, (inhale) draw navel in, rising buttocks and lower-back off mat, bringing knees towards chin. (Exhale) lower down with control (one vertebrae at-a-time) until tailbone is back on mat.
- 6-8 repetitions.
- Lay down on belly with forehead on mat, arms extended forward and legs, knees and toes extended hip-width apart behind you.
- Start by lifting belly-button up off mat (pressing pelvis on mat in opposition) and lowering shoulder-blades down towards lower-back.
- (Inhale) raise right leg, left arm and head up off mat, creating length at of neck and between finger and toes.
- Keep head up and stable (quiet) and switch arms and legs only.
- Keep switching arms and vigorously (inhale) for 5 counts and (exhale) for 5 more counts, for a total of 5 full breathing cycles, building up to 6 breaths.
- Deepen stomach inward throughout entire exercise.
- Keep head as quiet as possible, long neck and shoulders as far from neck / ears as possible.
- Breathe deeply in both inhale and exhale.
- Move vigorously the long arms and legs.
- Refrain from doing this exercise if you experience lower-back pain.
- Sink on lower-back, lower head, or bend limbs.
- Lay down on back with arms straight along sides of the body (hands long reaching past hips) and knees together above hips, flexed at a 90-degree angle (table top)
- Keeping knees together above hips, see if you are able to extend legs fully so toes are also above hips. If tightness prevents this, extend lets to a level you are able to maintain. Just continue squeezing legs together.
- Press arms firmly into mat (from back of shoulder to longest finger), as well as head and lower-back (tailbone included, belly in and up). (Inhale) start circling legs together to the right and down and (exhale) as you circle them to the left and up to center. Do it again reversing the circle, to complete one set.
- 3-6 sets.
- Keep spine and arms pressed completely on mat. Circles should be only as big as we can manage to control upper-body stability. Use breathing to energize the movement and to keep the necessary speed / flow.
- Allow lower-back to arch at any time and/or head to lift off mat.
10. Full Hip / Lumbar Flexion – with legs extended
- With hands shoulder-width apart and arms straight, hang from a bar that is high enough to allow for extending legs completely without touching floor.
- Deepen stomach in and up. (Inhale) start bending knees to bring heels as close to buttocks as possible. Keep them there and continue curling pelvis up to lift knees towards chest. (Exhale) reverse the movement with control.
- 5-8 repetitions.
- Take off rings, bracelets and watches. Keep shoulders as far away from ears as possible (don’t let neck sink on shoulders). Navel should be constantly pulling in towards lower-back.
- A very powerful exercise but try to avoid momentum as much as possible and own each position before moving to the next.