HOUSTON, Texas - When you're focusing on getting into shape, you want to ditch that flabby feeling around your middle. Alison Lackey knows all too well what that feeling is like, and what it takes to reach her weight loss goals.
She's a 39-year-old mom of two, and she's lost 45 pounds. It took commitment, a positive attitude and knowing what works to see results and keep the weight off.
Lackey is a now personal trainer and owns her own fitness company, Real Results Fitness. She believes a big part of strength and good results starts with working the core, and so here are her top five exercises for us to try.
1. Plank: To get into a basic plank, start on all fours on the ground. Then, bring your elbows to the ground with your shoulders directly above your elbows. Next, extend your legs and feet behind you. While in this position, keep the hips down, tummy tight, and back straight. Hold this plank for 1 minute to 1 minute and thirty seconds, depending upon fitness level. Then, turn to one side with elbow down on ground directly below your shoulder. Feet together and extended on top of each other, with your outside arm on hip, lift hips and keep chest and shoulders in alignment. Hold side planks for 30-45 seconds on each side.
2. Walking Push-Ups: This is a more intermediate workout but very effective and worth a try. For beginners, get into a plank position with your hands on the ground under your shoulders. Travel to the right for 12 steps, stepping right hand, right foot, left hand, left foot. Then travel to the left, stepping left hand, left foot, right hand, right foot. For more advanced, after each full step, add a push-up.
3. In and Outs: This is a killer ab workout! Have a seat on the mat, lift bent knees, keeping arms behind you with fingertips forward. As you bend your elbows to lower your body, straighten and extend legs. Return to starting position and repeat. Perform 15 repetitions for two sets and 30 seconds rest in between sets.
4. Wall Sit with Reaching Oblique Crunch: You wouldn't think of this as a core workout, but it is, and it's also a full body workout. Sit in a squat position with back against the wall, feet hip width, knees pushed back. Grab one 5-pound dumbbell with one hand, and put the other hand on hip. Take the hand with the dumbbell, and reach overhand, keeping tight in the crunch position. Bring arm back down flexing with elbow down. Do two sets of 15 repetitions on each side, resting for 30 seconds in between. I can tell you, you'll need the rest because not only will your arms and abs get a workout, but so will your legs while in that wall sit!
5. Plank Reach-Outs: Grab a set of light dumbbells -- three to five pounds. Get into a plank position with elbows on the ground and dumbbells in each hand. While holding the plank position, reach the right arm out in front of you, then the left arm out in front of you. Then, row with the right arm and row with the left arm. Do this for one minute.
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