100 A Day to B Strong Fitness Challenge: Day 3

#100repsadaytobstrong Day 3 baby! And it’s a lovely, gentle workout that’s easy like Sunday mornin' ;-)

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This workout feels amaaaazinggg if you have tight hips and/or tension in your lower back. Why? Because these exercises boost blood flow to that area of your body while bringing length to areas that commonly hold a lot of tension. The stretching + the heat from the blood flow doesn’t just feel good, it works WONDERS for your body in reducing inflammation & tension that causes pain.

 

  • Knee Tap Crunches: work your abdominals. Your focus here is to peel your spine up vertebrae by vertebrae until you can tap your knees with your fingertips. Avoid using momentum by throwing your head/arms forward!! Engage your lats, [if you’re not sure what that means, check out the Superman exercise from Day 2], & focus on using your abs!

Do you struggle with neck pain while doing core work? Read up below for tips on how to perfect your form so that abdominal exercises aren't a "pain in the neck"!

  • Side Laying Leg Circles: work your obliques & abductors, [outer thighs], while lengthening your hamstrings & adductors, [inner thighs]. For this exercise, be sure to always keep your working leg straight & to hinge your hips 👉🏼 torso is straight, legs are straight, but hinge at your hips so your body is in a wide V shape. Also, similar to the clamshells from Day 1, focus on using your abs & obliques to keep your hips stacked. No matter where your leg goes, your top hip shouldn’t budge!! In addition, only make your leg circles as big as you can without your knee bending or hips unstacking. The more flexible you are, the larger you’ll be able to make your circles.

WHY DO AB EXERCISES KILL MY NECK?!

  1. Check your posture! First off, pull your belly in & press your lower back toward the floor to prevent any arching in your lower back. But remember that your neck is also part of your spine! If it often aches while doing ab exercises, you may be sticking your chin out like a pigeon does when it walks [LOL] OR pulling your chin down to your chest. This hyperextends & fatigues the muscles that support your head. Instead, stabilize your neck & initiate crunching movements by lifting your shoulder blades off the ground. Your head is attached to your shoulders, so it’ll follow automatically ;-)
  2. Make sure you’re engaging your lats. This is CRUCIAL for every exercise EVER. To engage your lats, do the opposite of shrugging your shoulders: broaden them as you pull them down & away from your ears. If your lats disengage, your shoulders will collapse forward & lift toward your head, which creates tension in your neck, chest & shoulders. Pulling that tension down into your powerhouse is not only going to reduce tension in your neck, it’s going to properly load your abdominals so that you’re *actually* strengthening them with the exercise.
  3. Use your strength to control the movement at all times! Using momentum to crunch by throwing your head &/or arms forward is basically giving yourself whip lash LOL.. And letting gravity take over & just back-flopping onto the floor instead of lowering back with control is uncomfortable for obvious reasons. With these knee tap crunches, how much you crunch up is 100% dictated by your abdominal strength. Initially, you may only be able to lift your head & the top of your shoulders... but you’ll improve more quickly than you think - so long as you follow all the tips above ;-)