I just heard from Runner26 that February is National Ab Month. Yippee! The idea is to do some ab work every day for the month of February (the shortest month!) with the purpose of “strengthening the core for that spring marathon, looking good for vacation, seeing just how many crunches could be done in 28 days, etc.” Since we could all use a little spice in our abs routines, I thought I’d do a little ABsolut(ly) Fit storytelling (sorry, couldn’t resist a super corny pun).
Up until I started doing Rachel Cosgrove’s Female Body Breakthrough, I pretty much just did basic crunches and the different forms of crunches on 8 Minute Abs. I first discovered 8 Minute Abs back in college. First, to give you an idea of just how cool my friends and I were, here’s a typical picture where my friend Amy and I decided to try to both fit in one pair of XXL Keebler Elf pajama pants we got free at a dining hall giveaway.
Um, yeah 🙂 So anyway, my roommates and I would often go out drinking for the night, then come home all giggly and tipsy, and then put 8 Minute Abs on. We’d do it multiple times in a row (since everything is fun when you’re drunk, and you feel no pain!), then go to bed. Looking back, it occurs to me that freshman year may have been where the initial concept of “Absolut(ly) Fit” was born. Though trust me, what we were drinking was nothing near as sophisticated as Absolut… more likely it was an $8 handle of Georgi vodka mixed with some powdered Tang, a combination known as “Vo-tang.”
The next morning, while most students were struggling to get out of bed due to hangovers, we’d be struggling because our abs were too sore to allow us sit up in bed. Like turtles, we’d be stuck lying on our backs and unable to move without a helping hand (or by using our arms to push off and roll ourselves over). While I didn’t exactly get killer abs, I will note that I did not gain weight freshman year – a true feat given the amount of alcohol calories I was consuming. I picked up 8 Minute Abs again about a year or so ago, loving it because it didn’t require any commitment and could be done in the same time as one snooze cycle of my alarm clock. However, I never did get the flat abs it promised.
Now, after trying Rachel Cosgrove’s workout with abs mixed in, I feel like my abs are finally getting really strong – probably because I’m mixing it up instead of doing variations on the boring basic crunch. Of course, you all know how much I love planking – I’m now up to 120 seconds each set for three sets. Woo!
But those are really the only two abs-isolating exercises I do. I think a lot of my core strength is coming from my compound exercises (like my awesome T-pushups) that work both abs and other body parts. I also think it’s helping immensely that I’m not ever sitting on a weight bench to do any reps, even for my arms – they’re all done standing so that I’m working my core to stabilize my body while lifting (massive, hardcore, impressive) weights. For example, when I’m doing a “dumbbell squat with offset load,” I’m holding a 40 pound weight in one hand and my core has to work like crazy to make sure I don’t tip over in the process of doing a squat (it’s yet to happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I get to tell that embarrassing story at some point when I up my weights too much too fast).
What’s your ab routine, if you have one? Will you be participating in National Ab Month?