• Francesca Matteoda

Flattening the curve (2)

Well, we’re in week 5 of lockdown here in Madrid and my alcohol consumption hasn’t dropped, so I need to do more abs to prevent the appearance of a Michelin tyre! And I know that a lot of my subscribers are in a similar position (no names mentioned, ha ha), so here are some “killer crunches” to work those core muscles. I’ve recorded two exercises that you can do.

The first set takes you from downward-facing dog (Adho mukha svanasana) through to plank pose (Phalakasana) (stretching your leg up towards the ceiling before making the transition). Then you bring your knee to touch your elbow. To do this, you shift your weight forward, aligning your shoulders with your wrists, then slide the knee down along your forearm towards the wrist, without touching the mat at any time and inhale back to plank pose. Exhale to downdog. Inhale and stretch your other leg up, exhale to plank bringing your knee to touch the elbow, exhale as you slide down to the wrist and back to plank. Repeat as many times as you can manage, but I would suggest starting with 2 or 3 rounds, and working your way up gradually. Rest in child’s pose (balasana).

You’ll see me flagging a bit towards the end. That’s because I’m not in top shape anymore, as for several reasons my yoga practice had been on the back burner for a couple of years until quite recently, but also because I had to repeat the exercise several times before my “cameraman” managed to get the filming right :-) I was exhausted and had very sore muscles the next day!! And to think, these used to me a piece of cake for me!!


These are intense exercises, so please don’t overdo it. Be patient and compassionate with yourself at all times.


WARNING: To protect your lower back, always engage your core muscles, pulling your navel up towards the spine, but if you have lower back pain, please don’t do these exercises. When shifting your weight forward in order to bring the knee to the elbow, make sure your shoulders are directly over your wrists to avoid any shoulder or wrist injuries.


The second set of exercises is slightly easier. From plank, you’ll bring your knee forward to touch the outside of your elbow while exhaling, and return to plank while inhaling. You repeat this on alternate sides for as long as you can. You might like to start with just 2 or 3 repetitions on each side, and slowly work your way up. Always keep your core muscles engaged and make sure you straighten your whole body so that your head, neck, back and legs form a straight line every time you are in plank pose. These are particularly good for working the oblique abdominal muscles (the ones on the sides of your waist), as well as improving shoulder and leg strength. 


N.B: I am still a beginner when it comes to video editing, so please be patient with me! The VoiceOver isn't quite synched but I think you'll be able to follow anyway ;-)



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