The ChaLEAN Extreme: Ab Burner is one of two ab routines on the basic ChaLEAN Extreme workout program. I have previously reviewed the other routine which is called Extreme Abs. There is also a third ab workout within the ChaLEAN Extreme program, but it is only available in the Deluxe version. Alternatively, if you already have the base workout program, you can order just the Upgrade DVD, which also has the third ab routine, plus two more cardio routines. Going on the principle from Tony Horton of P90X, “Variety is the spice of life”, so I have personally ordered the upgrade dvd, and will review all of those workouts later.
So on to the Review!
The Ab Burner ab routine is approximately 10 minutes and 32 seconds. You begin the workout by doing a brief warm up on the abs with a moving cat stretch. The moving cat stretch rounds your back upwards, and then lower your abs towards the floor, in a nice slow movement. This takes approximately 30 seconds, and leaves you with a solid 10 minutes of ab work.
You move from the moving cat stretch to your back, knees bent and drawn in to your waist, hands behind your head. From here, you start to perform a series of crunches, starting with a standard crunch. This portion of the workout lasts just over a minute. The standard crunches are at a slow 2 count up, and a 2 count down. Really contract your abs here on the crunch to maximize your workout. Of course, there are modifications available here, and you can see them demonstrated on the ChaLEAN Extreme dvd. You then drop from the 2 count up and down to a single count standard crunch. Remember, contract those abs, when your abs are burning, your working that six pack!
Next, Chalene Johnson has you move to a reverse crunch. You are still on your back, but raise your legs to a 90 degree angle, like you are sitting in a chair, and hands behind your head. Then to perform the reverse crunch, roll your lower back and your knees up to your chest. If you really want to feel the burn, raise your head and shoulders upwards, towards your knees and perform the crunch. I encourage you to try this. It’s easy to do a few, then go back to the regular reverse crunch. Make yourself work. Tell yourself, “It’ll be over soon!” Half the battle of getting in good shape is fighting the battle in your mind. Strengthen your mind, while you strengthen your body.
The next move is called side taps, lasting approximately 1 minute. Return to the position of the reverse crunch. Lying on your back, knees bent at a 90 degree angle, like you are sitting in a chair. With your hands behind your head, bend your abs (sideways) working the obliques. The obliques are the muscles on your side, in the same general area as those stubborn “love handles”. So you are crunching your sides, bringing your elbow towards your legs, and pulling your legs to your elbows. Don’t worry, this is an easy move, and will make complete sense when you see it.
Still lying on your back, you will perform a criss cross bicycle move. Alternating one leg, knee to the chest. You will combine this move with your hands behind your head, and touching your opposite elbow to your opposite knee. This move is only about 35 seconds. You can do it!
A very challenging move follows, called the Double Presser. You start by lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle, and your hands behind your head. Moving both legs at the same time, extend them forwards at an angle. The lower you can go the more advanced this move is. I try to get just above the floor, but it’s difficult for me. You can even get more insane, by adding your hands. Instead of keeping them behind your head, push your hands overhead as you press your legs forwards and out. Wow! Try it once. I can do a few, but then quickly return to legs only. This section is about 50 seconds.
The next move is called a Side Pike. It’s a move to work the obliques. And it’s one you just have to see! Don’t worry, it’s not difficult, only difficult to explain. Okay, maybe it’s both. 🙂 But we will survive this ab routine, hang in there.
At this point, Chalene starts to really get my attention. I love ab workouts, and I love weights, so when she gives you the chance to combine them, it really gets fun. At least for me. But don’t grab something heavy starting out, grab something light. I think I started with 15 lbs. This move is called the weighted crunch. Lying on your back, knees bent at a 90 degree angle, both feet flat on the ground. Hold your weight at chest level with both hands, and slowly raise to about a 45 degree angle. Pause, then press the weight up your knees to a straight arm position. Then bring the weight in a straight line back to your forehead (all while maintaining your 45 degree angle with your upper body), then slowly lower back to the floor. You will repeat this exercise for about 1 minute and 20 seconds.
While in this position, lying on your back, knees bent at a 90 degree angle, feet flat on the ground, raise up to that 45 degree angle again with your upper body and hold the weight at chest level. This move weighted obliques will last about 50 seconds, and you will simply move the weight from your left to your right, twisting your upper body to each side. Excellent exercise. You want this exercise, tighten and tone that muscle under the love handles, as your weight starts to drop, you will begin to see some nice obliques coming through.
We are on the home stretch. For the next 2 minutes, give or take, you will be on all fours again. This move called reach & tuck, has you extending one leg backwards, keeping it straight, and then also extending one arm forwards. You will then bring your knee to your chest, and your arm (elbow) to your knee. Opposites here. For example. When using your left leg, use your right arm. You’ll make this crunch motion for several reps then switch sides. Contract those abs! Make ’em work! You’re almost done, finish strong.
The final move is in the same position as above. One leg extended back, but this time, put your opposite hand behind your head. You will make a twisting crunch to your wrist/elbow that is positioned on the floor. About 30 seconds on each side.
Stretch your abs, you deserve a nice stretch, because you are all done!
Some people are under the impression that they can “spot” work their body for fat removal. They think if they do abs, such as those in ChaLEAN Extreme, that they will lose fat from their abs. This is not true. As you workout you are losing fat, from everywhere. But you are removing fat from your entire body at the same time. It’s like peeling a sheet of fat from your body from head to toe. Unfortunately, you lose your trouble area last. Why? Because more fat is stored in that area. So as the strips are pulled away, you will have more sheets or layers to remove in that stubborn area. I know, it’s a bummer. For me it was my abs. For women it can be the hips or thighs. If you have an “area” that likes to store fat, it will be the most stubborn, and the last to go. So prepare to lose fat as you exercise and eat right, stay after it, and those stubborn areas will go away in time. Be patient, some of you have been storing away fat for years, don’t expect to be fat free in 2 weeks or 4, etc. it takes time. Be patient, be persistent, Don’t Give Up! Last thing. You might be thinking, “Why work abs then? When I can’t see them.” Easy. Because you are building a strong “core”, a strong abdomen and back. A strong core will prevent injury, back pain, help you perform better during your workouts, if you have a physical job, you will perform better there too. If you play sports, guess what? Increased performance. You are also building your six pack! When you lose more and more fat, you will see more and more of that six pack. For me, nothing was more exciting than seeing my abs come in. 🙂