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by UNC Campus Recreation

Creating My Own “Absolution” at Home!

During the school year, Group Fitness classes account for almost all of the exercise that I do. I love Group Fitness classes not only because they are awesome workouts, but also because I don’t have to spend time choosing and planning my exercises; I just show up and follow what the instructor is doing! However, since I am away from campus for the summer, I can’t pop over to one of my favorite classes to get in a workout. Instead, I have decided to take some of the moves I remember from different Group Fitness classes and put together my own workout!

The first class I have decided to try to replicate on my own is absolution. If you’ve never attended an absolution class, I will sum up the class for you in a few words: 20 non-stop minutes of your abs on fire! While difficult and painful for your abs, absolution is without a doubt a great core workout. Having a strong core is crucial to your workout routine no matter what kind of exercise you do. Your core is your powerhouse: you’re engaging it almost any time you’re moving, whether you’re walking, lifting weights, playing a sport or doing chores around your house. Thus since core exercises like the ones you find in absolution are super beneficial for a strong core, I chose some of my favorite core exercises from absolution and other Group Fitness classes I have attended to put together my own “absolution”!

I decided to break my routine up into sections to make sure that I targeted all of the areas of my core, including my upper and lower abdominals, my obliques, and my lower back. I start out the routine focusing on my abdominals by doing the following exercises:

Flutter kicks

-This move really gets your lower abs burning! To do flutter kicks, lie down with your head up off the ground. Lift your legs a few inches off of the ground and alternate kicking each leg up and down. You can also do a scissor move by alternating crossing each leg over the other.

Pulsing toe touch crunch

            -This move is just like a traditional toe touch crunch but with the added difficulty of pulsing at the top of the crunch. To do this move, lie down on your back and put your legs up straight in the air over your hips. Crunch up towards your toes, and pulse at the top of the motion for as long as you can!

Knee tuck crunches

            -Knee tuck crunches are one of the hardest core moves in my opinion! To complete this tough move, sit down with your hands resting on the ground behind you. Lean back while extending your legs out straight, hovering a few inches off of the ground, and then draw your knees and your chest in towards one another simultaneously. Alternate between these two positions and you will definitely feel the burn!

Next I target the obliques, with the following 3 exercises:

Russian twists

            -To do this move, sit on the floor and lean back so you are at about a 45° angle to the floor. Plant your feet on the floor (or lift them off the ground for added difficulty!) and rotate your torso as far as you can to the right, and then rotate as far as you can to the left and repeat.

Side hip raises

            -For some reason that I can’t put my finger on, I really don’t like this move. Yet I continue to do it because it is great for your obliques. To do a side hip raise, lie on your side and rest your forearm on the ground. For an easier version, do this move off of your knees and for a harder version extend your legs and stack your feet on top of one another. Lower your hip down to the ground and then lift it back up. Don’t forget to do this move on the other side of your body too!

 side plank

Crossover toe touch

            -The crossover toe touch is very similar to a regular toe touch, but instead of reaching up towards the center of your legs, you are reaching towards the outside of your legs. To do this move, lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air above your hips. Bring your right arm up towards the outside of your left foot and then do the same with your left arm and right foot.

After focusing on my abdominals and obliques, I do 2 exercises that target the lower back. A strong core not only includes strong abdominals and obliques but a strong lower back as well!

Back bows or superman

            -To look like superman and work your lower back at the same time, lie down on your stomach and lift your arms, chest, and legs off of the ground simultaneously. For an added arm and chest workout, pull your arms in towards your chest (like you’re doing a chest press) as they hover off of the ground.

Swimmers

            -Similar to the superman, lie on your back and lift one leg a few inches off the ground while simultaneously lifting the opposite arm. Hover your arm and leg for a few seconds, and then switch to lift the opposite arm and leg.

A final move that I like to include in my “absolution” is bird dog pulls. Bird dog pulls don’t really fall into just one abdominal, oblique, or lower back category. In fact, this move targets your abs, lower back, and glutes all at once! To do this dynamic move, plant your hands and knees on the ground. Then lift your left leg and right arm simultaneously and hold for a second or two. Pull both your leg and arm in towards your body, and repeat with your right leg and left arm.

Doing each of these exercises for about 45 seconds with a 15 second rest between exercises, plus a minute or two of stretching afterwards, adds up to be about a 10 minute workout. If you’re an absolution attendee like me who doesn’t have access to this wonderful class over the summer or if you’re looking to strengthen your core or even if you have 10 free minutes (which practically everyone should!), then I hope you will give these core exercises a try and maybe even add them to your workout routine!