Travel Workout #1: Oceanside Abs


Vacationing at a beach this summer? Here’s a mini ab workout you can do right on your towel! If your neck is feeling salty, you can do any of these with your head down, or you can interlace your fingers behind your head, allowing your head to rest in your hands.

1) Upper body curl

To warm up, lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Interlace your fingers behind your head. Nodding your chin into your chest, exhale as you lift your upper back off the mat, just coming up to the tips of your shoulder blades. Inhale as you lower. Try to maintain a neutral pelvis as you do these, meaning you’re maintaining the curve under your lower back. Do 10, then repeat with your legs in tabletop.

2) Obliques

Knock your knees over to the left and take your left hand behind your head. Reach your right arm forward as you curl up, trying to square your shoulders in front of you. The deeper the twist in your waist, the more you’ll feel your obliques. Exhale as you lift, inhale as you lower. Do 10, then switch sides. If you’re feeling like a champ (or if someone cute is eyeing you from down the beach), repeat both sides.

3) Spine twist supine

Lay on your back with your legs in tabletop and your arms out in a T. Keep your knees and feet glued together. On an inhale, twist from your waist, tipping your legs over to the right. Exhale as you draw your navel into your spine, reach through your left arm, and pull the legs back to center. Repeat on the left. Do 10 sets.

Bonus!: For a more advanced version, do the same exercise but keep your legs straight. You likely won’t be able to tip as far to the side, but that’s ok. Be very careful not to get into the lower back here. If you feel your low back muscles doing the work of bringing the legs in, reduce your range of motion or repeat the bent-knee version.

4) Criss-cross

Start with your legs in tabletop and your fingers interlaced behind your head. Do an upper body curl and pull your right knee in towards your chest, extending the left leg parallel to the ground. As your right knee comes in, twist in the waist so your left elbow reaches towards your right knee. Take a small, quick exhale as the knee comes in, then a small inhale as your legs switch. Do 10 sets.

5) Double leg stretch

Start in an upper body curl with your legs in tabletop. Reach your hands towards the outsides of your ankles. On your inhale, extend your legs out in front of you and your arms overhead. On your exhale, pull everything back in. The challenge of this exercise lies in the range of motion of your limbs: the more you lower your legs, the harder your low abs will work (but careful not to go too low that your back takes over). The further back you reach your arms, the harder your upper abdominals will work. Push yourself, you’re almost done! Try for 10. Test out these exercises and let us know what you think. Next week, we’ll give you the next piece of your travel workout — get ready for some Michelle Obama arms!

Author: Ali Weeks