Ab Obsession strikes without warning.
One day you’re going about your morning, happily getting dressed when you reach for your tried-and-true, favorite pair of pants and… YIKES!
The zipper breaks.
A button pops.
A seam rips.
The world stops spinning. Time slows to a crawl.
“What the heckin??” You exclaim. “I’ll sue the cleaners for shrinking my pants!”
But it’s not the fault of the cleaners. Or your significant other. Or anyone, actually.
It’s likely the work of the dreaded menopot, a term used by Dr. Pamela Peeke. It refers to the excess weight we women often gain around our middles usually starting in our 40s.
A hormonal shift is to blame – a drop in estrogen – specifically. And suddenly all you want is to “get rid of this belly.”
I hear ya.
I talk more about the details of why this happens in my live streaming workshop, How to Firm Up After 50. So I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of why that happens here.
But whether you choose crunches, planks or a combination, how do you know you’re doing the most you can to get rid of this plague upon your waistline?
Are you spinning your wheels or making real progress?
Here are a few of my best tips to ensure you’re headed in the right direction…
For specific routines and ab exercises geared to women over 50, be sure to sign up for my AB-Solute B.L.A.S.T. Challenge starting Monday, October 21 – 25.
CLICK HERE for details and to sign up!
1. Think quality vs. quantity
Forget about achieving a record-breaking number of repetitions. A hundred crunches is an exercise only in futility if you’re using mostly momentum or relying more on other muscles like your hip flexors to get the job done. Use proper form and control the movement in both directions (up and down, stretch and contract, a.k.a. eccentric and concentric) you may not be able to do a ton of them – but they’ll all count.
2. Engage your abs before each rep
Be mindful of contracting your abdominals by pulling them — “engaging” — in versus pushing them out as you do your moves. Contract them as if your grandchild was about to try and tickle you. Tighten and then do the exercise.
Breathe! Never hold your breath when doing ab exercises, or any exercise for that matter. It not only raises your blood pressure (called the Valsalva Maneuver) but prevents you from completely engaging your abdominals when doing a crunch. Think “exhale on exertion,” or simply count out loud with each rep, which makes you exhale as you do.
4. Sneak ’em in during your day
You can do isometric ab exercises (these do not involve a stretch and relax component but you remain in the same position — like a plank) whether you’re stuck in traffic, sitting at your desk or otherwise being sedentary. For example, while sitting at your desk, focus on pulling in your belly button, relax, and repeat. It keeps your mind on your abs in between structured workout times.
5. Do as many as you can
Called “going to fatigue,” do as many reps as you can in good form rather than simply stopping at a particular number. The operative phrase there is “in good form.” If you are unable to continue doing the exercise in good form you’re more likely to use muscles other than the ones you’re targeting. Stop, take a 45 second break, and do another set.
For a collection of exercises created for women over 50, sign up and participate in my new challenge: the AB-Solute B.L.A.S.T. OFF challenge, starting Monday, October 21 to 25. See you then!
For more great tips check out these related posts:
Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.