New Year’s resolutions can be a tricky one. We have the greatest intentions on accomplishing what we have set out to do for ourselves, but sometimes our resolutions end before they even had a chance to begin. Don’t get stuck in this situation. New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t be a way in which we are set-up to fail. I have learned a few things along the way that I think are helpful for anyone setting out to make a New Year’s Resolution this year.

Be specific with your goals. Having a New Year’s Resolution of “I want to be healthier,” “I want to be stronger,” “I want to reach out to my friends and family more” are too vague to measure. For instance when it comes to your health, which should be a priority, focus on something specific and don’t try and do everything at once. If you accomplish one thing, then add another goal. There is no need to wait until the New Year to have another Resolution.

Something I hear time and time again from my clients is that they want better abs. Okay sure we get it. But ask yourself, what does having better abs truly mean to you? Does it mean you would like them to be stronger, more defined, smaller waist, bigger waist, etc.? From there you can set yourself up with specific goals that lead to the overall general goal — better abs. To keep your abs on track to being better this year, try this combo that is sure to leave them sore for the next few days to come!

These moves are sure to keep you on track and takes no time at all!  They target specifically the oblique muscles but also work the arms, shoulders and legs to give you a more bang for effort!

-You will start on a mat, in a tall arm side plank position.
-Make sure your hand is directly below your shoulder, and if you can stack your top foot on top of your bottom foot.  If you can’t then just place them one in front of the other (heel to toe).
-Start off the series by holding this position for 30 seconds.
-Make sure your hips are lifted, your legs are contracted and there is a soft bend in your elbow.
-The nonworking arm can reach up to the ceiling or rest on your hip.  If this is where you are comfortable staying at then just hold this for as long as you can before moving to the other side.

As soon as you gain strength and feel like it isn’t challenging anymore, then hold for longer.  If you are ready for more of a challenge, use the following exercises to build yourself up to more advanced moves, giving you a challenging sequence when all said and done.

Knowing you can do the whole sequence by building up to it each time you test it out is a sure way to tell you are creating ‘better abs’ that you are seeking for your New Year’s Resolution.

More Advanced Variations: Feel free to try these out on their own or add one to another to create a killer oblique sequence. Remember to test out the other side immediately after finishing the first side.

-Raise your top leg and keep in floating in the air: hold for 30 plus seconds then bring your leg back down.
-Try and dip your bottom hip towards the ground, while staying super strong in your whole body. Return to starting position and repeat 15 more times.
-Take your top arm and reach under your opposite armpit, allowing your top shoulder to turn towards the bottom shoulder. Spin back open by reaching your top arm to the sky. Repeat 15 times.
-Place your hand of your top hand behind your head. Bend the top leg to try and touch your knee to your elbow, while crunching your side. This move works both sides at once. Crunch for 15 times.
-Playing off of the last exercise, repeat the same motion but use your bottom leg knee to bring up to crunch to your top elbow
-With your top leg, swing it forward to bring it in alignment with your hips.  With your top hand, also reach to touch your toes.  Return to starting position and repeat 15 more times.  This one is super challenging for your balance as well.

The best thing about all of these exercises is that it doesn’t take too much time for your obliques to feel like they are on fire. This is a good thing. Work through the burn — don’t stop at the burn. The burn is where you will find your results. The longer it takes for you to achieve the burn, the stronger your abs are and the more work you need to do. Don’t be scared by this though, this just might mean that you could very well do the same amount of reps, just squeeze a little harder. No need to add more time to this, just make the work more effective!

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