That Fun Fitness After 50 Ab Workout

My ab workout the last couple of years has mostly been whatever side benefits those muscles got from gardening, dancing, swimming, or maintaining posture. I don’t think running or biking do much to specifically engage those muscles. I know I do some intense waist exercises while dancing, but that is only 1 – 2 times a month. My gardening activities can be similar to some yoga poses, but are concentrated in the warmer months. Swimming requires engaging my core, however I am supported by the water, so my core is not working as hard as during a plank or crunch.

That Fun Fitness After 50 Ab WorkoutThree weeks before our most recent trip to the beach, I was belatedly inspired to pay more attention to my abs. My first reaction to myself was that I was too late, but then I figured, why not go ahead and start right away, even if it seemed to late for the beach? I would get some benefit short term and I would probably feel better.

My two youngest daughters had been asking if I would do their ab workout with them. It looked kind of scary to me. Still, at this juncture, I told them if they could accept my modifications to my routine, I would join them and they could coach me some. They were all smiles and enthusiasm.

First, I did their basic routine in the order they listed, at my own speed, while they encouraged me and critiqued my form in ways that it is hard to do yourself. Then, I re-ordered the exercises in a way that would hopefully lead to more success on all of them. I also started making notes on times and repetitions that were reasonably challenging, but no overwhelming.

Push-ups were included with the goal of both helping my swimming and preparing me to avoid injury from spring gardening. I went with the modified, knee-to-ground position so that I could do more than one. With the modified position I can do 2 sets of 8, which is still work, but less stressful and seems to give more potential for building strength.

The goal was to go through the routine 3 times a week. I also quickly concluded that it was better NOT to try to do the exercises right after swimming or other vigorous activity.

I have made a chart of my routine below. There will also be a link to one of the original videos that my girls got many of the exercises from, as well as a short video slideshow of how I manage the movements. Here is a printable pdf of the chart below: THAT FUN FITNESS AFTER 50 AB WORKOUT

Exercisedescriptionrepetitions/timein between
push upsmodified knees2 sets of 8stretch - child's pose (very simple "yoga")
lemon squeezersassuming a V position balanced on the buttocks, pull legs in and arms around them, release back to V position2 sets of 8stretch laying on back, extending toes and fingers
toe toucheslay on back with one leg up in the air, reach opposite arm multiple times, switch leg and arm16 times each legsitting up, point and flex feet
cherry pickershold body in V shape, but with legs bend and hands clasped together, then twist from side to side touching floor each time2 sets of 8, count one back and forth as 1breathe
superman poselaying on belly, raise arms and legs as high as you can and hold 30 secondslay on back and hug knees to chest
semiphore leg liftslaying on your back, raise one leg at a time while holding the other leg a couple inches off of the ground, hold for 3 seconds and switch legs2 sets of 8, each leg once counts as onestretch gently in sitting position with soles of feet touching each other frog style
leg out crunchessitting up with legs apart, reach for opposite toes alternately2 sets of 10, once to each leg counts as 1breathe
bear hugssame as lemon squeezers, but start with arms out sideways and go back to that between each crunch2 sets of 8breathe
boat holdhold V shape10 secondslay on back
front plankon elbows30 secondsRoleo arms
side plankson elbow of lower arm with bend directly under shoulder, legs slightly bent, when lifting only lower elbow and ankle/foot touching ground, upper arm extended up or over head30 seconds each side

Short video slideshow of me demonstrating the exercises:

The original, hard core video my girls got many of the exercises from: P90X – Ab Ripper X

I enjoyed the benefits of this workout while dancing at the beach resort. One of those songs with dance-instruction lyrics came on. The words said, “get down to the ground, how low can you go?” so I twisted down low, with knees bent, Then, I impulsively moved into a crab walk position for a few seconds, followed by twisting around to do a barely managed, full-front push-up. Fortunately, the lyrics gave further instructions and I could get up, pretending like it was all part of the plan. While doing all of this, I didn’t feel particularly graceful or flexible, but hey, I was having fun! And that is one of the reasons I keep doing my best to stay fit. It lets me have more fun in many activities that come up!