Written by Jack Boardman
Training Equipment: Everything You Need
How many family dinners have you sat through where someone’s loosened their belt bemoaning how much they’ve eaten between Christmas and New Year’s Day? How about fitness fiends going on about how all their second helping have ruined the six-pack they’d been working on prior to the holiday season?
Rest is a highly valid part of health and fitness, so no-one should regret time spent away from their fitness routine to spend time with family and friends at Christmas.
We’re not there yet, though, and if you’re looking for Christmas gift ideas, maybe those New Year resolutions about toning up and getting into a new exercise routine could be used as inspiration.
When it comes to abs workouts, variety is your answer, dedication gets you results. Best of all, abs are something that don’t require machinery and a gym membership – or even a lot of room – they can be done at home and achieve serious results with just a few handy stocking fillers.
Along with a focus on what you put in your body, a regular abs workout – call it three times a week – can have quick and effective results for strength, posture, toning and shredding any Christmas belly.
An ab roller can be used anywhere, from your bedroom floor to the cushioned exercise mats at your gym. It is a sure fire way to work the abs and improve core strength and definition. It combines qualities of core exercises such as planking while stretching and channelling the arms. A good idea is to work on technique first, practicing to roll out in different directions from your knees, channelling your shoulders, core, arms and back. From there build the number of reps and use at the start and end of a workout.
A yoga ball is a superb addition to your everyday gym and home workouts. For sit-ups, planking or yoga, this handy bit of equipment for developing overall strength and muscular endurance that can also be used as part of circuit training and for aerobics. Need a couple of ideas where to start with it? Try 3 sets of 20 situps, with a focus on balance. For something different, lie on your back with your arm stretched out over your head. With your legs outstretched, squeeze the ball between your feet. Slowly bring your feet up so your legs are at a right angle to your flat back and pass the ball to your hands. Lower it back over your head and bring to the middle again to your waiting feet.
A quality medicine ball can provide even more elements to your abs workout. Whether used for throwing or lifting, it is a great asset in toning and building strength. When used as part of a circuit with the other equipment on our list, why not use the medicine ball in a twisting motion , which affects the spine and torso. Sit on the floor with both legs flat out in front of you. Hold the ball in both palms to your right, lift in an arch over to the left of your legs. Try 3 sets of 15 reps. When you start to get comfortable with this, lift your feet so that your legs are straight and your heels are an inch off the ground.
A foam roller may be used for recovery and rehabilitation, but it is also used in pilates, yoga, fitness and for toning exercises. It may be used to massage the muscle to help with stabilisation and core strength before and after a workout.