Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holiday Secrets to Gym-less Exercises: Guide to Great Abs!

Holiday Secrets to Gym-less Exercises:
Guide to Great Abs!

by Dr. Nina La, D.C., L.Ac.
Adjunct Professor, Kaplan University School of Health Sciences
Allied staff, Tri-City Regional Medical Center, Integrated Wellness Centers
So I am feeling very generous recently, and now I am about to reveal to our readers my very own holiday secrets to 3 gym-less exercises to great abs that I teach my patients =). This will be my Christmas present to you, and hopefully  you will share it with your loved ones... it's the gift that keeps on giving! =)
Keep in mind that these are mostly isometric exercises ("same-length" exercises) that require you to contract the appropriate muscles, but without physically moving them through a distance (or at least moving them at a very discreet distance).
Secret Exercise #1: "The Shimmy" (aka "The Butt Squeeze"!)
Remember how your jaw dropped when you saw those amazing belly dancers shake their tootsies? That is called a shimmy, and trust me, it requires a lot of skill! But... (drum roll)... here's the secret: you can do it, too! Start by squeezing your gluteal muscles one side at a time, at first slowly, then, when you get used to it, you may squeeze them faster and faster. Eventually, you will surprise yourself... what you're doing is actually a shimmy! This exercise tones your hamstrings and tighten your gluts. You can shimmy your way while waiting at a bus stop or sitting in a restaurant! Nobody will know, but your toned gluts sure will thank you! =)

Secret Exercise #2: "Kegeling"
Talk about an exercise that nobody knows you're doing it! It's pretty simple to do and has great benefits! Remember that feeling that you want to go to the bathroom so badly, but there's a huge line waiting? What do you do? You squeeze and lift up your pelvic muscles, thus forcefully contracting the voluntary urethral opening. Yes, that is called a Kegel! Having a strong pelvic floor prevents incontinence down the line, and also tones your lower abs! So next time, when your friends comment on how nice  your lower abs looks, give them a sly look and show them how to Kegel! =)

Secret Exercise #3: The "Pelvic Tilt"
This is a modified pelvic tilt exercise that chiropractic physicians and physical therapists love to show their patients. All you have to do is imagine there's a finger poking right in the middle of your low back, and you want to poke back using only your low back. So contract your abs and push your low back backward to push that imaginary finger away. In fact, I usually encourage this exercise by actually tapping my finger on the patient's low back so they know exactly where to push! This is a great mobilization technique to tone your core muscles that will eventually lessen the stress on your low back. So what do you end up with? Great abs and a functioning and painless low back! =)

The Grand Slam: Put all 3 exercises together! You will be amazed that yes, you can do all those exercises at once, and yes, all those muscles can work at the same time! No, you won't look too silly doing it! =) If you start feeling sore in your abs, gluts or hamstrings while performing these exercises, you will know that it's working! So next time, when you happen to cross by someone on the street who gives you a sly smile--who knows, maybe that person has read this post and is performing Dr. La's grand slam exercises as we speak! (hee hee)

Lastly, I leave you with Oogway's wise words (from Kungfu Panda): "Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift, (and) that is why it is called the 'present.'" Feel the inspiration! Be the inspiration! And most importantly, don't forget to smile! =)

Dr. Nina La is an acupuncturist on staff at Tri-City Regional Medical Center (Hospital). She is also a chiropractic physician and herbalist. She currently practices at Seal Beach and Hawaiian Gardens in Southern California. You can contact her at, or visit her website at


Unknown said...

Awesome, Dr. La!@ Thanks for sharing. (Oh, and I am still smiling from your last blog... :) )

Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness said...

Thanks, Jenni! Keep smiling! =)
Dr. La

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