We all start off the year with grand intentions of a healthier and better time-managed self, with our eye on our toned summer body that has simply been awaiting this very moment to reveal itself!  But it is now January and somehow all of this “expected free time” from the post holiday madness has filled itself with work and with this ever dropping temperature, the comforting desire to embrace full hibernation mode is in full effect.  Time cozied up on the couch does not need to be an excuse to reach for  a bottomless bowl of popcorn, but can be an opportunity to stretch, tone and continue to show up for your body goals!  So catch up on your Netflix binge guilt free while mindfully taking a minute to tone up, breathe deep, and test what those abs are really made of.

1A. Quadruped kick backs

15 reps of 1A and 1B on one side, then switch to other

Starting on knees and elbows, you will actively flex your feet kicking straight up towards the ceiling and squeeze your glutes. Try to create resistance on the way down as well so you are active through both the lift and lower.  By setting up on your elbows instead of hands, you are stabilizing your spine and helping keep the movement out of your lower back. 

1B.  Quadruped kick and squeeze

After finishing 1A on the first side, you will continue to 1B on the same side.  This time kicking up with your knee adducted 30° from your body.  Once you kick up squeezing your butt, pull your lifted leg in towards your midline and return to your starting position.

2.  Knee to chest lever

10 reps

Lying on your back, reach for something stable overhead (possibly arm rest), elbows reaching to the ceiling will help keep the tension out of your neck.  Exhale as you pull your knees in towards your chest and inhale as you lower your heels away from you.  Make sure you are keeping your lower back flat as your legs extend.

3.  Bicycle crunch

20 reps

Starting in a hollow body, legs and upper body lifted, hands placed lightly on the back of your head.  Inhale as you sit up pulling one knee in towards your chest, twisting upper body towards the lifted knee opening the elbows up.  Return to your hollow, lower back flat, alternate sides.

Modification: When twisting to each side, instead of having hands behind your head, you can drop an elbow to prop yourself up as you sit up to also help keep this move out of your lower back.

Remember the goal is to strengthen the abs by contracting when the abs are stretched not crunched.

4.  Shoulder taps

20 reps

Kneeling on couch (or something elevated), you will have your hands on the ground in a modified plank.  Begin by pushing away from the floor as much as possible, lift up tapping opposite shoulders, alternating each rep.

5. Handstand pushup variation

10 reps

Beginning in the same position as your shoulder taps, walk your hands back closer to your knees and let your hips be high.  Slowly lower yourself down to the top of your head sliding forward slightly (think headstand, elbows in), and push yourself up and back towards your starting position.

6.  Glute bridge leg lower

10 reps

Lying on your back, place the souls of your feet close enough to your body you can touch your heel with your finger tips, lift one leg up towards the ceiling.  Thrust hips up, while squeezing your butt, lower the lifted leg till the two knees become even, lift back up to the ceiling and lower the hips down.  That’s 1 rep.  Make sure hips stay even throughout.

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