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The Secret to Rock-Hard Abs

 

 

If the words washboard and six-pack make you think of something other than laundry or beverages, then keep reading!  I've going to let you in on the secret behind creating rock-hard abs and the reason why having a strong stomach is so important for cheerleaders and dancers!

Having a strong stomach will help you in all aspects of cheerleading and dance.  It will help you to hyperextend your jumps, nail your standing back tuck every time, and stick even the hardest stunts, whether you're a top or a base.  As a dancer, it will strengthen your center, aiding you in overall body control in turns, leaps, and kicks.  A strong mid-section will also help you have better posture and prevent lower back injuries common to cheerleaders and dancers.

But crunches won't do it by themselves.  Lots of people have six-packs, but they're hidden under a deceptive layer of fat.  A healthy diet and regular exercise are the key factors to having a lean body.  You won't see results immediately, so you need to stay consistent and be patient.

If you have a good standing back tuck, one of the best ways to strengthen your stomach is by conditioning with standing tucks.  Do twenty after practice.  Run two miles and then do twenty with your running shoes on.  Not only will it work your abdominal muscles, but it will strengthen your standing tumbling endurance as well. 

But if you haven't mastered your standing back tuck yet, and you're looking for an effective abdominal workout, try the "pyramid."  It includes five types of crunches that you perform in five sets that will increase and then decrease in number.

 

 

 

 

1. standard forward crunches
2. twisting crunches to the right
3. twisting crunches to the left
4. lower abdominal lifts;  Raise your legs until you form an "L" with your body, making your legs perpendicular to the floor. With your feet flexed, raise your hips straight up off the ground like you're pressing your heels to the ceiling.
5. lower abdominal lift and crunch:  Continue the lower abdominal lifts and add a forward crunch.

 

The first set consists of five repetitions of each type of crunch, twenty five crunches total.  The next set you do ten of each, then fifteen of each, then ten, then five.  The total number of crunches you'll do is 225, but it never feels like it, because the highest number you actually count to is fifteen.  Do this pyramid every other day.  Your abdominal muscles need time to rest just like every other muscle group.

Take your time and watch your form.  Crunches are more effective done slowly.  If you're having trouble getting started or sticking with it, get a partner to motivate you, listen to music, or do your crunches in front of the television.  Good luck!