Some days, it’s just impossible to get out of bed. Even though you had every intention of going to the gym before work, let’s face it: the comfort of your nest of blankets and pillows is MUCH more alluring. So you snooze the alarm. And then again. And after five or six snoozes, you submit to the reality that there’s no way you’re making it to the gym. And with this realization, you’re suddenly wide awake and stricken with guilt. Thoughts akin to “I suck” float around in your head while you try to peel your sorry caboose out of bed.
But what if you could still get a workout in before work without even leaving your bed? You might be thinking,”Ah shucks, that’s too good to be true.” Well, folks, I — along with a real expert, Dana Auriemma, owner of Freehouse Fitness Studio and local ab guru — am here to tell you that it’s not too good to be true. Below, Dana demonstrates six abs exercises you can do in bed that are both effective and, in some cases, more challenging to do in your plushy bed than on your not-so plushy yoga mat. In other words, we have proof that you can, in fact, have it all.
1. Roll Downs
“Straighten your legs and squeeze them together, rounding your spine. Rock back on your pelvis and roll down slowly, trying to articulate through your spine to lower one inch at a time to the bed. Roll up by reaching your arms towards your toes while you curl your head and shoulders forward. Then use your abs to flex your rib cage forward, rounding your back as you roll up towards your feet.” Reps: 10
How the bed helps: “If you have a tight back or hips, having your hips sink slightly lower than the rest of your body allows you to do this exercise with more control and better form.”
2. Teaser Twist
“Start with tabletop legs, resting on your pelvis. Rock back slightly to find a balance point and pull your abs in strongly to keep your spine flexed. Using your internal obliques, twist your ribcage to one side of your legs and pulse the rotation three times. Then repeat in the other direction.” Reps: 5 to 8 each side
How the bed helps: “Your pelvis is more supported by the soft surface and, therefore, your hip flexors don’t have to work so hard to keep your legs up, allowing you to put all of the focus on your abs.”
3. Tabletop Twist
“Lay on your back with your legs in tabletop. Squeezing your inner thighs together and, keeping your knees stacked over your hips, rotate your pelvis to one side of your body using your internal obliques and keeping your shoulders and ribs stable. Return to center using your abs and twist to the other side. Focus on keeping your ribs and abs pulled in and down, toward the bed.” Reps: 5 to 8 each side
How the bed helps: “The bed is more comfortable for your hips and allows greater range of motion with control for a better challenge.”
4. Pelvic Tilt
“Lay on your back with your feet directly over your hips, bending your knees if your hamstrings are tight. (Note: it’s more important that your feet are over your hips to not strain your hip flexors, rather than having your legs straight). Flex your abs and rock your pelvis slightly towards your ribs, then return to neutral. Don’t try to lift your pelvis/tailbone or swing your legs aggressively. You won’t feel your pelvis lift off of the surface of the bed; it’s more of a small ‘crunch’ movement between your ribs and pelvis.” Reps: 20
How the bed helps: “The soft surface lets you round your back into the bed, and this bend of the spine is more effective work for your abs.”
“Start resting on your pelvis with tabletop legs. Round your low back down to the bed as you tilt your pelvis down to a horizontal position and stretch out your legs. Keep your upper back flexed forward while sinking your low back down, using your abs. Keeping your low back rounded and spine flexed is extremely important to avoid straining your hip flexors and back. Pull your abs in deeper as you come back up, bending your knees and keeping your spine slightly rounded.” Reps: 5-8
How the bed helps: “This exercise is very advanced and easily done wrong, with safety issues, but having your hips sink into the bed makes it a lot easier to rock back on the pelvis correctly and keep the spine rounded, so you can do this challenging exercise and feel the burn!”
6. Plank (We figured you didn’t need a picture of this one …)
“A standard plank is also great on the bed, as your forearms can be more comfortable on the soft surface, while your abs work harder to stabilize against the unstable mattress. For a challenge, lift each leg up one inch off the bed and hold for five seconds. Keep your head up in line with your spine, focus on pulling in your abdominals, starting low at your pelvic floor alllll the way up to your ribcage. Activate your glute/hamstring connection (where your glute and hamstring muscles meet at the back of each hip joint) to help keep your pelvis neutral. If your butt sticks up, it can cause your lower back to arch and compress, and significantly limits your ab work.” Reps: 5-8 lifts on each side.
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