Ab 101

For many of us it may seem no matter what we do, our abs dont get any stronger! When this happens, we recommend working not harder, but smarter, to tighten up!

For instance, when you do the basic crunches on our Navel Power DVD, do not curl all the way up for now. Place one hand behind your head, elbow to the side and face facing the ceiling. Place the other hand just below your navel. On the exhale tighten your abdominals and only come up as far as you feel the abdominals drawing in and together. Visualize your tailbone lying long and neutral on the floor. Try to concentrate on using only your abs as you raise your upper body. Also be sure your hip flexor muscles stay relaxed. Visualize that the bottom corners of the ribs are being drawn to the tips of the hipbones and vice versa.Doing a crunch in this mindful manner will help your body isolate the muscles you should be using in every ab exercise (and even for walking down the street!) and you will start to see results fast!

Important Ab tip: its important to try and keep your solar plexus (diaphragm) area relaxed. When you grip the solar plexus region, or the hip flexors, it takes the work away from the abdominal muscles. Right now, as you are reading this, try placing one hand just below your navel and one hand on your rib cage. Make a hissing sound through your mouth. You should feel the rib cage flatten as well as your lower abs
tighten. This will begin to give you a sense of what it feels like when the diaphragm is relaxed, the ribs flatten, and the lower abs take over the workload.

Plank Pose or Forearm Plank Pose are two of our favorite exercises for the abdominals because they work so efficiently and really pull the midsection tight as the core muscles work to brace the back. We include these exercises on many of our DVDs including Body Electric.

Be patient while you learn to use your abdominals in this new correct way. Sometimes we get to our goals much faster by starting slower!

One more ab strengthener suggestion: during the day, whether you\'re standing or sitting, that you try to be mindful of good posture by relaxing your ribs and pulling your navel in to lengthen your lower spine.