Leg Raises

This is a great exercise for the lower abs. Leg raises can be done hanging from a bar, hanging from the rings, supporting yourself on a vertical bench, or, as in my video, supporting yourself on the rings.

The idea is to keep your legs as straight as you can and lift them up in front of you as far as possible, hold, and then lower them back toward the floor. When in the lowered position, your feet should be hovering above the ground but not touching the ground.

Keep your movement slow and controlled. The effort of hanging or supporting your body is not really part of the exercise, and moving too fast will cause your body to swing which we don’t want, since the focus here is on the lower abs.

Doing this exercise with bent knees will enable you do to more reps, with a longer range of motion. The bent knee version is good if you can’t to full leg raises, or if you’re exhausted from full leg raises but still want to keep going.

No Excuses

One of the hardest parts of trying to stay fit and healthy is winning the mental battle between the part of your brain that wants to be in shape, and the part of your brain that wants to rest.

Travelling is a great excuse not to train. This week I travelled to San Francisco for a few days and the excuses I came up with were:

  • I’ve travelled so far its okay to take a break
  • I’m in the wrong time zone so I’m tired
  • Its a short trip so missing a few days is okay
  • I don’t have access to my normal equipment / routine / food

I came up with these excuses to trick myself into taking it easy, but I also knew that I’d be annoyed with myself if I didn’t train. You have to find ways around the mental obstacles, you may not get the same workout as at home, but you can certainly do your best.

In my case, the timezone change was a disadvantage in the evenings, but an advantage in the mornings. I could get my workouts done in the early hours of the morning. I didn’t want to run around streets I don’t know at 4am, so I used the hotel gym. Normally I prefer the outside world to the human hamster wheel that is the treadmill but in this case, its okay to make an exception and use the hotel gym treadmill. A typical hotel gym with typical hotel gym equipment is not the type of place I like training in, but all I needed to do was move some equipment, make some space, and now I have the room needed for some bodyweight training.

This mirror will do for some bodyweight training
This mirror will do for some bodyweight training

Its also good to not deprive yourself. I’m in America and I want a big American breakfast, so I went for it, more than once. Its not the healthiest but life is for living as well as exercising. My workouts were not as intense as they would normally have been, so maybe a few excuses did creep in, but I can go home happy in the knowledge that I’m still on track and ready to return to normal with only the smallest of interruptions.

Indulgent Breakfast - yes please!
Indulgent Breakfast – yes please!

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