She's Built Like a Brick Powerhouse

abs-ilisciousI want hot abs. I do, I won't lie. I want that sexy belly with the feminine curve and two lines on either side. I want to let my belly see the sunlight before I turn 40. And I will not stop until I get it. Dammit.

Sheila has got me doing a lot of "core work", meaning stuff that strengthens the main core of your body, or your "powerhouse", as they call it in Pilates. Your core or powerhouse generally tends to be your midsection, the part of your body that stabilizes the rest. If you keep tight abs, you'll generally have good posture and it lends to better balance to keep your core stable.

One of exercises I do (in addition to crunches and some other torturous, yet satisfying moves) is what Sheila calls "prone abs". I've heard it called a "plank", too. These are the bane of my existence, yet I love them. How can that be, you say? Because they are challenging as all get-out, you shake, shimmy and sweat, even though you aren't going anywhere and the longer I can hold it, the more accomplished I feel. I get mad sometimes when I get fatigued and end up face first in the mat, but Sheila usually just makes me do another set. Heh.

I started out at 10 seconds, 1 set. I think I'm up to 45-60 seconds, 3 sets now. The first one I always rock out on, but by the third, my arms are made of jelly and I can't feel my ass. Good times! Now you try!

I found this ab workout over on Fitness Magazine's website. It shows this photo as an example of the plank. Sheila tells me the key to keeping good form to keep my abs pulled in and my butt tucked under. You kind of feel like a spaz at first, but it gets better and easier every time.

Give it a try sometime! Start off slow... a few seconds, 5 or 10 to start and just build up from there. Have a buddy or trainer check your form to make sure you're not swaying your back (like I do sometimes) and that you are truly in line, like a plank. I have noticed a change in my stomach, even though I still have more body fat to lose. I feel stronger, I carry myself a little bit taller and I like the idea of working my body, pushing it to do better. I've started practicing these at home, as a personal challenge.