The easy way to get those tummy muscles activated
Pat Henry has a four-week plan and a new gadget that can help you get a solid core
The ab roller is the latest exercise sweeping the USA. Strictly speaking, though, it is not new, and was originally used all the way back in the 1950s by the great health practitioner and pioneer of many trends, Jack LaLanne.
Indeed, the ab roller was a favourite exercise of Marilyn Monroe and many other top Hollywood stars of that time.
The new version, available in my own gym, has a more balanced rolling wheel with a smoother action and a whole new variation of movements with every exercise.
It works the abs, with the tummy muscles being activated right from the very beginning, so it's really a great ab and core workout.
The exercises look very simple and can be performed by people of all ages but you do need to be careful at every stage of the exercise, specifically when it comes to putting too much pressure on the knees and the lower back.
If you use the roller on the hard surface without knee support, such as a cushion or a towel under your knees, you may get some knee pain, so during our forward exercises, be aware and take all precautions to avoid over-straining any part of the body. Total workout time will be 40 minutes when the four week sequence is complete - if you have a reasonable fitness level.
If you do happen to have knee problems, many of the exercises can be performed in a standing position.
But most people using a cushion removes any of those knee issues.
To purchase an ab roller, most fitness stores or Argos will have them in stock. Don't always go for the cheapest, pay a little more for a roller with a steady feel and good movement. It makes the workout much easier and far more effective. It also avoids causing injury.
For more info, telephone: 01 661 6195; email: info@ henryfitnesscentre; com; or see www.henryfitnesscentre.com
1) Basic Ab Roll Out
From the knees and with straight arms holding each side of the roller on the floor, roll away keeping the body straight. Stop at the point where you know you will be able to return to the start position and repeat. Do 10 reps, one set.
2) Oblique roll out
Same position as before, this time roll away to one side, make sure you are not bending from the hip. Roll to the point where you can control and then roll back up again. Repeat to the other side, repeat 10 reps each side.
Holding the roller straight under your shoulders, imagine you are trying to bend the handles away, this will help you balance. With one knee on the mat, kick the other leg straight out and hold. Keeping your balance for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.
4) Donkey Kicks
Holding the roller straight under your shoulders, this time kick your leg straight out, then bring it back in to your body and repeat for 10 reps. Then do the second leg.