Seated Jackknife: Sit on the edge of a bench with your legs extended in front of you, knees slightly bent. Hold the back of the bench for support and simultaneously raise your legs toward your chest as you bring closer to your knees. Repeat for 3 sets of 12 reps.
V-Up: This is a variation on the seated jackknife. Rather than sitting on a bench, you lie on your back on the floor with your legs out straight. Extend your arms straight in front of you with your fingers pointed toward the ceiling. Engage your abdominal muscles as you lift your legs up off the floor, keeping them straight, and reach your fingers toward your toes. Hold this position for the count of 5 before returning to the floor.
Pulse Up: Remain on the floor, lying on your back. Place your arms flat on the floor alongside your hips. Engage your abdominal muscles and glutes as you lift your hips up off the floor. Lower and continue to repeat.
Kneeling Plank: This is an easier variation on the traditional plank exercise, but still quite effective. Start by getting into a pushup position with your elbows bent and your weight on your forearms rather than your hands. You can make fists with your hands. Bend your knees and keep your torso elevated, but straight so that your shoulders, back, hips and knees form a straight line. Contract your abdominal muscles and hold this position for 30 seconds before returning to a resting position.
If you spend just 15 to 20 minutes every other day performing these exercises, within 4 – 6 weeks, you will see a noticeable difference in the strength and tone of your abdominal muscles. You’ll be well on your way to feeling confident about wearing a bathing suit for spring break.