The very first exercise is by far my favorite – “Navy seal sit-ups.” If you’ve ever done bicycle sit-ups you’ll notice some similarities, but this is a much more effective exercise that you’ll feel working right away.
Step 1: start by lying flat on your back with your legs straight and feet together, slightly above the ground.
Step 2: next, you want to sit up and bring one elbow to the opposite knee.
Step 3: return back to the starting position with your feet slightly above the ground, before switching sides and bringing your other elbow to your other knee. Repeat for reps until your 20 seconds are up.
After the 20 seconds, take a 10 second break preparing to switch to the next exercise. It’s important to keep in mind that when performing this exercise, you want to bring your shoulder blades up off the ground and sit your upper body up, not just twists your upper body side to side as you bring your knee in.
Also remember that all these exercises can be adjusted for the level that you’re at right now. With navy seal sit-ups you can make it harder over time by holding weights in your hands while performing the exercise the same way.
You can also make it easier by regressing to bicycle sit-ups. With bicycle sit-ups you would have both knees bent and both feet on the ground. With each rep you would only bring one foot up off the ground and return to the starting position before doing the next rep.
This makes it a much more manageable exercise for beginners until ready to progress to navy seal sit-ups.
Step 1: bend your knees and raise your feet off the ground until your kneecaps are pointed straight up towards the ceiling.
Step 2: put your hands behind your head as if you’re about to do crunches.
The goal is to rock back and forth like a seesaw and rotate your body each time that you rock.
Step 3: Lift your shoulder blades off the ground for what looks like a crunch.
Step 4: as you bring your shoulder blades back down, bring your knees into your chest, your hips off the ground and rotate your body by a few degrees each time that you rock.
I know this exercise might look ridiculous, but trust me – it’s a lot harder than it looks. In fact, if this turns out to be too difficult for you, then you can bend your knees, plant your feet on the ground and reach for your heels side to side.
Just remember to try to keep your abs tight and your shoulder blades off the ground while doing this.
If the regular dying beetle is too easy you can take a weight (dumbbell or a gallon of water) and hold it either against your chest or behind your head while performing the exercise.
Step 1: start by lying flat on ground with your legs straight out and your arms straight above your head.
Step 2: lift your shoulder blades and legs off the ground until it looks like you just completed a V sit-up, except instead of lowering back down you would just try to hold that position with your hands pointed towards your toes for the 20 seconds.
If that gets too hard, you can switch over to an isometric crunch. Here you would put both hands behind your head, raise your shoulder blades off the ground and hold it.
If you want to make this exercise more advanced, hold a weight in your hands while in the v-hold position. However you do it, after taking a 10 second break, switch over to the next exercise.
Step 1: Start this one by getting into a butterfly position.
Step 2: lay flat on your back with both arms straight and hands pointed straight up towards the ceiling.
Step 3: bring your shoulder blades off the ground and continue reaching up straight towards the ceiling.
Be careful here as a lot of people tend to point at a 60-degree angle towards their legs once they come up off the ground which makes the exercise a lot easier. Instead, you want to aim for a 90-degree angle from the floor.
If you need a regression for this exercise, you can bend your knees, place both feet on the ground, place your hands on your thighs, and slide your hands over your kneecaps with each rep.
To make this exercise more difficult, you can either hold a weight in your hands or you can raise your legs and keep your feet above the ground the whole time.
After doing this one for 20 seconds you should definitely be starting to feel your abs burn.
Instead of taking a 10 second break you’re going to flip over and perform a cobra stretch by placing your hands on the ground, straightening your elbows, and looking up at the ceiling while keeping your hips on the ground.
Hold that for 20 seconds and then go straight to the next exercise.
For this one if you have something sturdy to grab onto above your head you can do it that way or you can also put your hands under your butt in a triangle position instead.
Step 1: raise your legs up until your heels are pointed straight towards the ceiling.
Step 2: drive your legs straight up towards the ceiling by raising your hips off the ground. Your feet should not go behind your head.
A more advanced way to perform this exercise would be by placing a light weight in between your feet.
To make it easier, skip the leg raises and just do pulse ups.
Now we’re going to hit the obliques with oblique v sit-ups. Here you’ll want to spend 20 seconds on each side.
Step 1: lay on one side with your hips tilted more towards your butt rather than straight on your hip bone.
Step 2: put the arm closest to the floor straight out in front of you and place your opposite hand behind your head.
Step 3: lift your upper and lower body up off the ground and aim to bring your elbow and knees together. Then go back to the starting position and repeat for reps.
If this one is too difficult you can just lay flat on your back turn your knees over to one side and stack them on top of each other, and then perform crunches from there.
An advanced version would be to get into a side plank position, drop your hips towards the ground and then squeeze your abs to bring them back up for a side crunch.
Step 1: start sitting up, straighten your legs out, raise your feet off the floor and hold your arms straight in front of you.
Step 2: bring your knees into your chest.
Step 3: Repeat for reps by bringing your legs back to the starting position, lowering your upper body as well, and then bring both your upper and lower body back up by sitting up and bringing those knees in towards the chest again.
To make this exercise easier, simply plant your hands behind your back for support.
To make it harder add a weight in between your feet.
After the 20 seconds are up, don’t take a break and instead flip over onto your stomach for another 20-second cobra stretch.
#8 Alternating knee-to-elbow mountain climbers
Step 1: Once done with your cobra stretch, bring your body up into a push-up position and bring one knee in up towards your opposite elbow and then switch sides back and forth.
Step 2: Make sure to squeeze tight when bringing the knee in, pretend you’re trying to touch your armpit.
To make this one more difficult, bring your knee in to the opposite arm, squeeze your abs and hold it for 3 seconds before bringing it back. Only two more to go!
Step 1: lay flat on your back with your legs straight, holding your feet slightly above the ground and your arms straight up above your head.
If this happens to be too difficult then you can regress to regular mountain climbers.
Step 2: bring one arm and your shoulder blade up off the ground at the same time that you raise the opposite leg, and aiming to touch that foot.
Step 3: switch back and forth for 20 seconds.
You can hold some light weights in your hands to make this exercise more difficult.
If you need a regression, then you can keep one foot on the floor the whole time alternating, rather than hovering them both above the ground.
#10 Reverse crunch with a pulse up
Step 1: once again you’re going to start lying on your back with your hands under your butt and your feet hovering a few inches above the ground.
Step 2: bend your knees and bring your feet into your chest until your hips start coming up off the ground.
Step 3: you’re going to perform a pulse up, but I want you to do it when your knees are bent. Raise your hips and knees up towards the ceiling, again aiming to go straight up rather than behind your head.
Step 4: bring your hips back to the ground and extend your legs back to the starting position, and repeat for reps.
To make this exercise more challenging simply place a light weight between your feet. And to make it easier, instead of having your legs straight out as the starting position keep your knees bent.
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