* Leg Raises * Standard/Advanced * Sets/Reps **
- For beginners, I would recommend 3 sets of 10 or 2 sets of 15 for the standard leg raises, to start out.
- For the more advanced workout of leg raises with the weight, I would do 4 sets of 12 with the weight, without the weight, 15 reps.
- In my opinion, when working out your abdominals/obliques, you can work them till failure and a set regiment isn't really needed unless you are logging in a exercise journal or work out plan. The simplicity of the standard leg raises is what makes the exercise so easy to do without a gym, as well as the advanced version!
* Planks * Standard/Advanced * Sets/Reps/Time *
- For beginners, I would recommend holding the standard plank for about 15-30 seconds for each of 2-3 sets.
- For the advanced version of this exercise you are going to be in push-up position, instead of on your elbows, bringing your knee in and touching the opposite elbow. For this, I recommend, 4 sets, 6 each leg.
- In my opinion, planks are a great way to develop your mid-section and stabilize your core. Sooner or later you beginners will be breezing through the standard plank and delving into the advanced version I know it! Never quit...pain is progress!
* Jackknife * Standard/Advanced * Sets/Reps **
- For the beginners, the standard standing jackknife will only benefit as much as you allow it to. What I mean is, don't half-ass it! I think 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps is good starting point for these.
- For the advanced, the folding-chair jackknifes are a little more strenuous but generate a great burn. With these, since you are incorporating two movements into 1 rep, I personally would go less sets higher reps for a better burn...for example; 3 sets of 15, 2 sets of 20.
- The standing jackknife is a great workout for those of you with back problems or unconformity laying on the ground to work your abs! All it requires is for you to stand with your hands over your head! Check these crazy 80's women in this "Walk Like An Egyptian" video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OMxC7te5Ks) you'll see what I mean! Remember, when you are crunching in, imagine that you are about to get punched in the stomach and you are trying to brace yourself for the impact. That is the key- inhale on the release, exhale on the crunch.
* Side Planks * Standard/Advanced * Sets/Reps **
- For the beginner I would use the same recommendation as I gave on the regular plank for a beginner for the side plank too; 15-30 seconds for about 2-3 sets.
- For the advanced exercise of the side planks, you are assuming the same position as you would for a standard side plank but this time you want both sides of your feet to be touching the ground, with the one leg you are bringing into your chest in front. I would start with 3 sets of 8 to each leg first, just to be safe, then you can up it.
- In my opinion side planks are one of the best exercises for you to work your core and your obliques. Best part is, you are working them at the same damn time (win/win). Don't forget when you are holding these side planks you want the over-exaggerate and really put all your weight on the oblique holding you up!
* Bicycle Crunches * Standard/Advanced * Reps/Sets **
- For the beginner, the standard bicycle crunch requires a semi-fast pace so the sets and reps can sometimes vary. I would recommend 3 sets of 12. The key here is to use your legs as if you were riding a bike but with your hands behind your head in the crunch position bring your elbow to the opposite leg.
- For the advanced part of the bicycle crunches (since both these movements are intertwined into one workout) I would recommend doing 2 sets of 20 (10 flutters/10 scissor kicks) but you always want to pair both movements with the same amount of reps- 10 and 10, 8 and 8, 12 and 12- so the total reps for the exercise will always be the doubled amount how many you do for each movement.
- In my opinion, these exercises are great for the END of a ab workout. That's when I like to incorporate them. Like I said in the video, when I was training for football in college, my trainer concluded every workout with 200 bicycle crunches and we always had only 2 minutes to do it. If you add time to them, it makes you do them faster and honestly, (for me at least) always provides a more strenuous motion and exercise. The same applies for the flutter kicks and the scissor kicks!