Ab exercises

Everyone can always hope and dream of having the perfect set of abs, truth is they are a lot of work and you have to be 100% committed to getting them. Abs are not however made in the gym they are built in the kitchen. a decent diet plus exercises will get you there eventually. We all have abs they are often just hiding under your body fat so the only way to get them to appear is to lower your calorie and fat intake and burn fat through exercise. Not having abs doesn’t mean you can’t have a strong core. Especially in snowboarding you always want the strongest core possible as it will help you with your posture and technique, its helped me to be able to throw bigger and better tricks over the years.

Here are 5 of my favourite ab exercises that I try and do after every other workout:

Russian twist

Start by sitting on your mat with your legs in front of you. Lean your upper body back and lift your feet off the floor slightly so you are in a balanced V-like shape, your back should be about 45 degrees off the floor and your legs will balance you out. Twist your upper body to one side and the other slowly and keeping your balance, I often use my hands by almost touching the floor on either side to make sure I’m going far enough around. Your bum should be more or less flat on the floor and your legs shouldn’t move too much from the starting position. Try to imagine your shoulder that is opposite to the side you are turning is pointing up to the sky. Return to your middle stable position and repeat on the other side.

Regression- To make this exercise easier try keeping your feet on the floor this gives you more stability, do the movement like this until you feel comfortable and stable and then you can start lifting them up.

Progression – The lower your back is to the floor the harder the exercise gets so try and lean back a bit further. You can also try holding a weight in your hands (e.g. a medicine ball, a dumbbell, a plate etc.) Touch the weight to the floor on either side of you every repetition.

Plank side to side

Hold your basic plank position on your forearms keeping your bum down try not to overly pike ti into the sky. Slowly twist your core and dip your hips towards the floor on each side. Keep your core tight and engaged throughout the exercise your body should remain fairly straight throughout the exercise.

Regression- to make this exercise easier try holding the plank on its own for as long as possible this will build your core on its own and will help you to figure out your positioning. You can also hold the plank on your hands rather than your forearms if needed.

Progression- To make this harder you can add in an up-down movement when you return to the starting position. Begin the same as before by doing a hip dip on each side then return to a straight plank, from your forearms push up one hand at a time into a hand plank, step back down onto your forearms and repeat!

Single leg v-sits

Lie down with your legs straight out and arms above your head. Lift your upper body off the floor as you would if you were to do a sit-up and simultaneously lift one legaim to touch your foot with your hands then lower down both body and leg to your laying position and repeat with the other leg. Keep the movement slow enough so you are in control and you can feel yourself tightening your core on each repitition.

Regression- To make this exercise easier instead of keeping your leg straight out when you raise it up try to bend it as it comes into your chest so its more of a march. Then straighten it back out onto the floor and repeat on the other leg.

Progression- To make the exercise harder try holding a weight in your hands so each time you sit up it makes it harder. start with a light weight and work your way up.

Scissor kicks

Start by laying on your back, place your hands by your sides. alternate lifting your legs off the floor to approximately 35-45 degrees to preform the ‘scissoring’ motion. As you raise one leg up, lower the other keep repeating this. Ensure your core is engaged throughout and stay in control of the motion. Your back should be flat to the floor and not arching up during the movement.

Regression- To make the exercise easier, try keeping your legs lower to the mat as it keeps the pressure off your lower back. If you struggle to keep your back flat to the floor keep your feet just hovering above the matt. Slowly increase the distance between your legs and the floor as you get stronger.

Progression- To make this exercise harder try adding ankle weights. you can slowly build your way up to the larger movements as you get stronger. just ensure you back stays in contact with the floor and doesnt arch. Slowing the motion down to about 2-3 seconds per kick also makes it harder.

Plank jack Brazilian crunch

Begin in a plank on your hands. Your hands should be shoulder width apart and legs out behind you keeping your body in a straight line. Whilst keeping your hands flat on the floor jump your legs outwards as if you were to do a jumping jack . Jump back into a straight plank and bring each knee individually up towards your chest and squeeze the core. Repeat.

Regression – You can always perform the 2 movements seperately until you are conforable doing each movement before adding them together. If you struggle specifically doing the plank jack try doing toe taps on each side instead. Alternating one foot at a time just touch the floor ether side of you and the work your way up to a plank jack. If its the Brazilian crunch you struggle with slow the movement down so you can focus on the motion your knee only needs to come into where you can feel the tension.

Progression – To add some more difficulty to this exercise you can wear a weighted vest or ankle weights.

I hope that this has been super helpful and has given you some ideas to add into your next workout! As alway feel free to comment any questions or ideas!

Stay Strong!

Cerys XOX

Squatting Tips and Techniques

Squatting is one of my favourite exercises it makes your legs and bum burn like hell and can be adapted in so many ways to keep thing interesting in your workouts! Its one of the best leg building exercises for your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and glutes. The only problem with them is if your technique isn’t right it can lead to injuries and problems, also you won’t be hitting those areas that you really want to be hitting!

To do a basic no weighted squat, I have some basic techniques and tips that you can use to make sure you’re hitting the areas you want to be hitting in the most effective way possible.

Start with your feet shoulder width apart your toes should be facing forwards. Keep your hands in front of you. My natural position is imagining I’m holding a ball or a weight to my chest it makes me feel most stable but lots of people prefer different things arms out straight will give you the most stability. The biggest issue you find when you ask someone to squat is that their ankles roll inwards and the weight is all in the toes and the insides of the feet. Not only a potential injury waiting to happen. It doesn’t even target the muscles you are aiming for. Plus I can assure you, it doesnt look good and you look like you dont know what your doing. What you want to do instead is try and put your weight into your heels, I do this by lifting my big toe up its like a corrective measure so each time before i squat i just pick up that toe and then i know im in the right position. If it makes it easier put something small and solid under your toes (like a weight plate) and feel how different it is!

Keep your back flat and your chest upright you don’t want to be bending forwards else it could cause back problems and put you off balance, pick a point in front of you and picture pushing your chest towards that point that should ideally correct that problem. Make sure you’re always looking forwards, looking down at the floor often pushes your weight forwards over your toes. Your head is much heavier than you think! As you squat down imagine yourself sitting back into a chair. Push your hips and bum out backwards and lower yourself. Inhale on the way down. Make sure that your knees don’t pass in front of your toes when you are at your lowest point they should always be just behind them but at the same angle going outwards. You want to come down low enough so your bum passes below parallel with your hips. The lower you go the better! if you struggle with how low to go place something underneath of you where your bum would reach and try and touch that object every time you go down. Pause for a second before in that position.

As you stand back up out exhale and drive through the legs. Another major problem people find is when at their highest point of a squat or almost any leg exercise is that they straighten their legs too much. This is also huge injury risk and can lead to some pretty horrible things that can me found of youtube. Ideally you want to have a natural bend at the knees not too much you want to make sure you have finished the rep. Imagine pushing your hips forward and then tense your glutes. This helps you to target work those muscles more. Your head should still be up facing forwards and weight hsould be in the heels and balls of the feet.

Then repeat!

There are so many different variations of squats you can use in your workouts which I will for sure cover in a future post! I hope that this is beneficial to some of you if you have any questions please feel free to send them to me!

Stay Strong!

Cerys XOX

5 things that living in lockdown has taught me

I just want to start my first blog on here by saying hey! I hope that you’re having an awesome day and I’m really happy that you are here reading this. I hope that your time in lockdown has been alright, it’s pretty crazy when you think about it. The entire world has just completely stopped for just a little while. Obviously, some places are beginning to go back to normal which is amazing and I can’t wait till the U.K. can go back to “normal”. I just don’t think it will be the “normal” we are used to things will be different when we come out but I hope it’s for the better. If anything I hope that everyone will come out of this as a little bit of a better person than they went in.

I wanted this first post to relevant to the current situation, being stuck at home, because I think everyone can relate to me when I say I’m sick of it at this point and I just want to go back to before. However, it has made me think a lot about myselfs and has helped me to develop as a person both physically and mentally by just spending some real time with myself and really getting into my own head.

Heres 5 things that being in lockdown has taught me

  1. It’s always been a daily thing in my family that we all sit around the dinner table and eat our evening meal together. As we have all gotten older it’s not as often that we are all there every single day which sucks. Being in lockdown, however, has made me realise when things do go back to ‘normal’ how much I will miss that little bit of time. From the many random topics, we come up without of nowhere, the tears of laughter that we can share to playing quizzes every evening on the Alexa. As much as my family have driven me insane over the last 2 months they are pretty awesome and I’m very very lucky to have them all.
  2. The internet is an awesome place. I have met a lot of people online and I guess it’s a social normal nowadays. Now I’m not encouraging anyone to just go and talk to strangers online because not all of them are genuinely nice and decent people. However, some of them are and within a few FaceTimes and a few days of messaging they can become such a big part of your day just by being there for each other. A random Instagram DM or Facebook message saying ‘hi’ can turn into a pretty cool friendship if you are willing. Even though you have never actually met before you’re just there for them and vice versa. You can just sit and listen to how their day has been and how they are coping and they will do the same for you. I love the fact that the internet has helped everyone to become so supportive of each other.
  3. This one is a little bit deep. As much as I put it out there that I’m this super confident and happy person just like every other person on the planet I have my good and my bad days. One day I’ll feel amazing and be really confident and the next maybe not so much. Learning to cope with both kinds of days is super important for your mentality and everyone does it differently. In my case, I just need to learn to love myself and be happy with the way I am regardless of what anyone thinks. That sounds super cliche typing it but it’s so true and I think everyone should be constantly trying to develop themselves as a person. I guess that’s half of the reason behind setting up this blog.
  4. Resistance bands are a total lifesaver when it comes to working out and I cannot imagine my life without them now!
  5. Puppies are the best. They are the most loyal friend for life you can ever have. With just a little head tilt and a nose boop they can flip your mood in a second. Picking up the endless dog poop, however, isn’t quite so fun.

As much as this time has been full of a lot of sadness, gloom and real hardships for everyone. In a way, it’s given us the opportunity us to realise what we all have and take steps forward in our lives that we may never have without this what feels like an endless amount of time to fill.

On that note all I have left to say is, take things one day at a time, it’s a crazy time we’re living in but we will get through this.

Stay strong,

Cerys

XOXO