Margie Weiss has been in the fitness industry all of her life, having been a national gymnast as a child, and mother/trainer to three international athletes. Owner-coach of MG Gymnastics, her team produced international stars for 15 years. Former owner of 2 Gold's Gym franchises, Margie is also a certified personal trainer, specializing in youth sports conditioning. She has trained international athletes, including her children. Her son, Michael, is a 2-time US Olympic figure skater and 3-time US National Champion. Currently, she is GGX (Group exercise director & instructor) for 3 Gold's Gyms, where one of her programs boasts 500 classes per month; she supervises 175 instructors. Having published many articles in the fitness field, she enjoys seeing progress in each of her participants. But the things that makes her most proud of the lives she has affected are her 5 grandchildren, all of whom live very close. Seeing their smiles makes every day worth smiling about!
Fit Over 50 - Abdominal Exercises
Fitness instructor Margie Weiss demonstrates how to get fit over 50 including exercises for the abdominals or core.
This expert: 1,476,614 views
Margie Weiss: Hi! I am Margie Weiss, the name of this video is how to stay fit over 50 and this segment that we are doing is the abs, the core. There are lot of different muscles in the core. Most of people know what a crunch is, because they have been doing it all their life, but they probably have been doing it wrong all their life. The idea behind working your core especially your abs in the front and abs that are on the back as well, is to make sure that the belly button and the lower abs contract downwards as you work. If the muscle can go down or can go up and if it goes up you are going to build a dome in your lower abs and we don't want to add volume to our abs, we want to get them toned and we want them as contracted and small as possible.
So anytime you lift into a crunch whether it's arms or legs first you want to breath out, press your belly button to your backbone and hollow your lower abs, try to push your lower back into the floor. In order to do that squeeze your glutes because they are involved too, that way from here to here is all involved in every crunch workout. It's not an exercise for your neck. So doing this up and down is not going to get your abs any stronger. If you do ab work while you are lifting your chest, basic crunch, she would probably have at first hands behind the head because that way you are supporting your head. You don't have to if you are strong enough. But if she was doing that, if you put your fist right under the chin and she lifts her nose is coming straight up and space between her chin and her chest is still there. What she doesn't want to do when she comes up is crunch this way because now she has got her neck extended, but she hasn't done anything more for her core.
So as she comes up her chin is going straight up, kind of feels like her chin is going to the ceiling and what happens here as you will notice when she goes down and comes back up again it's going down and under, as your chest lifts. So her belly button is going to the floor you are going to breath out on the rise, so that you get rid of the volume of your lungs and then breath in when you get to the bottom. Every time you come up, squeeze the glutes as well, so that your lower back is on the ground.
Now you don't have to have your hands behind your head. If you are little bit more advanced, you can put your arms right down next to your thighs and if you want, you can even put a weight in both hands because that way you can generally come up a little bit higher. So you can do that crunch and because you have a counter weight there you can get up a little higher but again don't make it a neck exercise it's rib to hip. The rib and the hip bone come together. In order to come together belly button has to get out of the way. So it's got to go down as the body comes up and as the rib and the hip come together. So that's a basic crunch and that's the one that most people know how to do, but it's not the one that most people are weakest in. Most people especially women are weak in the lower abs and since the lower abs keep you intestines and then everything else that's in your stomach in place you want to have them strong enough that they draw upwards and inwards. So the way to do that is to work the lower body. If you get into an L position your lower back is on the ground and you can feel it. Object on these exercises is don't lower your legs any lower than your lower back can handle. So if it is starting to come up the ground don't go any lower because you are not gaining strength, you maybe injuring yourself. Easiest option, one leg at a time, legs are going to be bent, so I am just going to tap one leg down and tap the other. Easiest option. Once you have mastered that and you can feel your lower back on the ground, you can do two legs at a time and you can go down a little bit, you can go down a lot. You decide by the determining factor being your lower back, staying on the ground. Once you have gone past that and it's comfortable and safe you can do it with straight legs. And again you can do one leg at a time so you just drop one leg down, come back up and the other leg or you can do both legs concentrating on where your lower back is. Breathing out on the rise and breathing in as you drop. If that lower back comes off the ground, don't go so low, where many people can get down with their leg straight, but they can't get back up with their leg straight. So you can go down straight and you can bend them on the rise. So you get down to here and you relieve the pressure a little bit by bending the legs to get back to the top. So you have a kind of circular motion that can be done with one leg or two legs. So that's the lower main ab group. Again the determining factor is where your lower back is on the ground, you want to press it into the ground. From here we will move to the obliques. So all she is going to do is turn on her side. You are going to have bent legs, the top leg is about four inches off the other. Your head is going to be on the ground and you are going to look right up at the ceiling above your body.
So you are going to take your hands just like this and look right up at the ceiling, because now you twisted your body slightly. So you are going to get the muscles to move diagonally across the body. By having your knees slightly apart but your feet together it allows you to twist a little bit more. And again you have got some upper and you got some lower. So the more she can face the ceiling and more -- some people are more flexible than others, but you want to try to see if you can both elbows to the ground when you are lying down, and the nose again is coming straight up in the air and she is just lifting and you will notice she is not going very high compared to a regular crunch where you can go higher. The muscle here again the rib to the hip bone and you are squeezing your glutes, that's your rear end nice and tightly, so that you are stabilizing your lower body as you lift the upper body and you are getting the diagonal across here.
If we want to work the lower aspect only, she relaxes her head and you got choices. Easiest choice just lift one leg up in the air about an inch or so, drop it back down. And then if you are a little bit better and you want to add something to it try to lift both legs off the ground. They don't have to come high, they can stay lower, they can come much higher you decide. You breath out on the rise and you breath in on the drop. Once we have done the obliques and the main muscles if we sit up we can add a lot of back work in, at the same time as we are doing front work.