(04/30/14) - Turns out, a lot of us have problems, like back pain, that make some of these moves a little hard to do. The sit-ups and my herniated disc are not getting along very well. Good news is, there is a substitute, for sit-ups and the other exercises in the challenge.
Jennifer Colombo, the fitness director at Genesys Athletic Club showed me a reverse crunch. If sit-ups are strain your back, try this: Lie on your back with your knees bent, hold on to something, like the bottom of your couch, roll your hips up, toward your chest, then lower them back down.
Another alternative to standard sit-ups are ball sit-ups, done on an exercise ball. It puts less strain on your back, and still works you out.
Jenn says, making modifications does not make you a wimp, especially when it comes to leg raises, "Not at all, all it is is that you don't have the strength to actually hold your back down on the mat, it's giving you that nice modification to build up to that."
Poor form can hurt you, but it will not really help you much either. With leg raises, if you are not able to keep your back flat, you are defeating the purpose, Jenn says, "So it's not actually working the core, like the Ab Challenge is supposed to. I would recommend bending the legs, once you hit that, you can feel it when you are doing that right. Your abs start to burn. Then start increasing the length of your legs."
Plank pose is the one a lot of people never think will be a big deal. It is not as easy as it looks, but it is very easy to modify. You can bend your knees, if supporting all of your body weight is too tough. You can also lower your elbows, rather than holding your arms straight.
Jenn says the sublime looking plank pose works the whole ab enchilada, "You are bringing the whole belly in and trying to hold yourself tight. I always say, 'act like someone is gonna try to push you over.' If you're in a true plank, they should not be able to move you."
The workout graphic is also posted on both ABC 12's Facebook page and my Leslie Toldo Facebook page. Stop by and chat with the other challenge takers- and join us. It is not too late to start.