Plank hold 1:00
All Fours: R leg lift x10, Tap x10, add L arm & lift both x10, tap x10, out to squeeze IN x10 repeat L leg and R arm
Lay on back: breath work. Press belly OUT, hold big belly and work on breathing in and out using as much lung capacity as you can while pushing belly out. Squeeze belly IN & UP and hold, breathing again as fully as you can while holding the compression in the abdominals 2x10/each way
Hollow Hold 2x1:00
Leg Lifts (keeping spine neutral) 2x10
Stamp feet to the ceiling 2x10
Side Plank Hold 1:00
Side plank: hip lifts x10, twist x10
When doing all fours exercise, small movements are key. Foot is flexed and the arm that is lifted, palm rotates in, fingers squeeze together. The lift will be toes to the floor or hand to the floor and then lifting up to hip or shoulder height. Taps are one inch lifts that focus and intensify the effort. For the out, squeeze in effort moving your arm and leg out one inch, maybe two and then squeezing inner thigh and bicep/chest.
Breath work is the best work because it will give you a full understanding of the ability of the abdominals. You have the choice to train these muscles, pushing out or pulling in. Pushing out is discouraged, but for the sake of the exercise it will stretch the muscles from the inside and allow them to rest. This is a great practice to have when you foam roll, go to a yoga class or even before bed. For the sake of training, we are encouraging the contraction and pulling IN. You should see your belly contract at the same time, if upper and lower abs are contracting at different times, I would highly encourage PT work.
Beginners: try to do the set one time through, even if you cannot do a full one minute hold or all fifteen of a set. Do what you can and then do the next exercise. When it comes to stamping feet to the ceiling, you need the focus to be on the pelvic floor and feeling the activation instead of just having movement. If you don’t move and you feel the lower abdominals working, you are doing it correctly. This exercise takes a lot of patience and time, one day legs will lift without the low back tucking.
Advanced: I would go through the set one time, read the beginner instructions and do that three times through. I have never seen someone impress me on the first try with this set. It is meant to be intense and to improve your core strength, and your awareness. Try to slow down the set and feel the work. Instead of adding reps, keep the set as it is and incorporate this into another workout. I love to do it post run.
To stretch out: come onto your knees, hips width apart (two fists between the knees). Curl your toes under only if that bothers your knees, otherwise keep toes pressing into the mat or floor. Place your hands at your low back/hips and gently press your hips forward, while you engage the glutes. This will stretch the lower part of the belly. Add to this by squeezing shoulder blades together and pressing the chest forward. Last part of this would be glancing up to stretch front of the neck, be gentle here to not just drop the head back but to make sure you feel the back of the neck turn on in order to properly stretch. Rule: contracting the opposing muscle group will ensure that you are stretching the muscle properly and efficiently. If the opposing muscle is not engaged, you risk only stretching the ends of the muscle and not the belly (bulk) of the muscle.
Enjoy this belly burner. Remember that your core goes from the top of your spine (think top of your head) to your pubic bone. Maintain posture and breathe.