Six Exercises to Six Pack Abs with Juliana Daniell

NBA cheerleader for the Atlanta Hawks and Arnold Sports competitor, Juliana Daniell shares her six exercises to six pack abs. Juliana has one of the more athletic physiques in the IFBB Pro Bikini division and one of her best body parts are her abs. She breaks down how she keeps her abs in looking tight in six exercises you can perform anywhere.

six pack abs

Give Juliana’s Ab workout a try and let her know how you like it.

Six Exercises to Six Pack Abs with Juliana Daniell.

Do you have a hard floor?

Do you have two hand towels and have a few minutes?

Well, that’s all you’re going to need to complete this ab series and be on your way to a tighter, flatter stomach! I am constantly changing up my ab routine not only because I get bored, but also because my muscles seem to adapt to exercises quickly. I’ve noticed I tend to plateau shortly there after. So by switching it up constantly, targeting ALL the muscles in my mid-section and doing them four to five days a week I am able to keep my midsection in check and where I like it.

Most people think that to get that six pack of abs you just crunch your life away; well news flash, you have four groups of muscles that make up your midsection and you have to target all three groups not just one. And of course your diet is a HUGE factor in our stomach’s appearance, but that’s a whole separate blog for a different day! 😉

I personally like to target more of my transverse abdominals; the muscles that you can’t actually see but lay underneath the muscles that you can see when you have a six-pack. For me this helps with my posture, it helps my back to be stable and secure and most importantly it keeps my stomach pulled in nice and tight even when I don’t have a visible six pack.

Below is an ab series I like to do that targets your transverse abdominals but of course incorporates the other groups, internal and external obliques and rectus abdominis, as well. Remember the key to these exercises is not speed or how many you can do, but how controlled you can be and in touch you can become with all of the muscles that make up your midsection.

Exercise 1: Bridge with a heel pull using towels.
Lie on flat on the floor, arms at your sides; knees in a bent position and feet flat on the floor on top of your towels.

Raise your hips into a bridge position, control your breathing and keep your glutes squeezed nice and tight the entire time.

Alternate legs, and maintain your bridge the entire time, slide one leg out straight using your heel to move the towel and make the letter D with your right foot and a backwards D with your left foot. And then reverse the motion the next set, so instead of going straight down to start, move your foot out to the side to make the curve of the D first and finish the movement but pulling your heel straight up the middle.

Complete 15 repetitions on each leg.

Exercise 2: Plank with knee pull-ins using towels.
Get into a plank position with hands flat on the floor, shoulders are directly above your hands and toes on top of your towels. Side note: if a plank position hurts your wrists or shoulders you can always perform this on your elbows, but it’s just a little bit harder =) and for your wrists you could perform these holding on to two free weights if you have them to allow your hands to not be flat on the floor and wrist in a stressed position.

While in the plank position make sure your booty isn’t too low causing a huge dip in your back or that your booty isn’t popped up too high either. Just be right in the middle. You will then alternate feet and pull one leg into your chest by sliding the towel all the way till your knee is almost tucked underneath you, perform on the other side the same way. Make sure your core is tight at all times, your breathing is normal, and you keep that neutral line so that you are truly using all of your muscles and not just rectus abdominis. This exercise can be performed slowly or with a slight pep in your step if you wanted to make it a little more challenging.

Complete 30 pull-ins on each leg.

Exercise 3: Windshield wipers with straight legs.
Lie flat on your back; arms outstretched making yourself look like the letter T. Raise your feet keeping your legs straight and rock your legs from side to side creating a tick-tock motion. If you want to make this more challenging place something between your feet (a pillow, a book, a can of food anything it doesn’t matter just be sure if its hard that you don’t drop it on your face!!) that you have to squeeze throughout the set. If these are too hard for you to begin with, you can always do them with your knees bent, or go as far to each side as you can and work up to being able to make the full range of motion. Note that your feet should never touch the floor and your abs should be engaged and breathing normal the entire time.

Perform 15 reps per side for a total of 30.

Exercise 4: Straight Leg Crunches
Pretty straight forward exercise. Lay on the floor with legs straight. Perform a basic crunch but make sure you are not pulling on your neck or head and that you breath out at the top of each crunch really contracting those ab muscles. You can also switch it up and put one foot on top of the other and perform the crunch and switch feet half way through.

Complete 20 crunches or 10 per foot on top, for a total of 20.

Exercise 5: Pelvic tilts (one of my favs!!)
This is an exercise where you will get super in tune with the muscles that make up your inner core. Lay flat on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Your feet are not together but placed comfortably apart. I prefer to either have my hands on my hips or on the top of my lower stomach during this exercise and I usually rotate between the two areas throughout the entire set. This exercise is really going to ensure your pelvis is in the right place, rotated correctly and supported and really targets the transverse abominis muscles.

Once you are all set and in position you are going to essentially rotate your hips by trying to pull your spine flat against the floor. The key here is to not allow your abs, the ones you can see in the mirror, or your obliques, the ones on your sides, to do ANY of the work. It is a very small, subtle movement and you might think its not doing anything or a waste of time, but I promise, when done correctly, it proves amazing results. It’s hard, frustrating at times and super challenging, so just work on it and eventually you will be using the right muscle because your stomach won’t raise up or get tight and you will really be able to feel those inner muscles working. And if it helps you, go ahead and watch your stomach while you do it so that you can SEE if it’s actually raising, getting tight, or just remaining flat and unflexed like it’s suppose too. Practice and patience are the keys to success with this exercise!! =)

Hold each repetition for 5 Mississippi’s and repeat 4 times.

Exercise 6: Tummy suck-ins
These can be done in a sitting position and the movement its literally sucking your stomach in as hard as you can; trying to pull your belly button in as far as it can go and really flexing and tensing all the muscles in your core and make sure the lower stomach is doing some work as well.

Hold each suck-in for 5 Mississippi’s and repeat 4-5 times.

You can go through these six exercises 2 or 3 times depending on how you feel. If you need more do more, if you need less do less. Totally up to you and your body!

Hope you enjoy it and I look forward to see those tight flat tummies!! 😉

Follow Juliana on twitter and give her Facebook page a like.


six pack ab training

Behind The Hardbody: Juliana Daniell Makes Atlanta Hawks Team

One of our favorite Hardbody women, Juliana Daniell has been keeping herself busy. She qualified for the 2012 Olympia at the end of the 2011 season but has been active on the competition scene this year. Juliana recently competed in a different competition and like the pro bikini stage, she more than held her own. Juliana recently made the Atlanta Hawk’s NBA Cheerleading team, for the third year in a row.

I caught up with JD to get the skinny on the tryouts, if she thinks cheerleaders are athletes, what’s next for her competition wise and more. Check it out.

How many years have you tried out for the team?
This was my third year trying out and the third year I made it!! =)

What’s the official name of the squad?

Atlanta Hawks Cheerleaders; we used to be called the A-Town Dancers, but the owners wanted us to be called cheerleaders for some reason.

Are you considered dancers or cheerleaders?
Well, we are actually made up of both. We are all one team but divided in two sub groups, cheerleaders and dancers.The main difference is the dancers do more dance choreography and the cheer girls do more tumbling/gymnastics and stunts during the game. I am on the cheer side!

You’ve cheered/danced for other teams, right?
Yes, I have cheered for the Atlanta Braves (MLB); 2008 and 2009 seasons. And cheered/skated for the Atlanta Thrashers (NHL) 2010-2011 season.

Last year you were the captain, right?
Yes!! =) I was captain of the cheer side.

Juliana on the cover of FitnessRX for Women magazine.

How is that decided?

That is decide by our coach and bosses.

How many girls tried out this year?
There was about 225 girls that came to auditions.

Wow. How many make the team/squad?
A lucky 26 girls made the team which is the same number as we had last year. And we had 15 girls from last year’s team trying out again and we all made it back!!!!

What’s it referred to?

It’s referred to as a team. Well I guess it really could be both, but we are called a team but were like family!

Did you practice for it – if so what’s involved in practice?
We absolutely practice! We have practice two times a week; sometimes more depending on what we have to learn and how the games fall. We have to learn the different choreography for the dances as well as our sidelines that we perform during each game. We also have work outs (a combination of weights, cardio, and plyometrics) prior to our practices.

Do you have any restrictions while on the team?
It’s more like what is expected of us rather than what we can’t do. They wouldn’t tell us we couldn’t do something; we just wouldn’t be picked for the team to begin with. For example being an adult entertainer/dancer or a club dancer is not something the organization would want us to be doing. Not saying that those jobs are bad, it’s just not who they want representing the Atlanta Hawks or the Cheerleaders. And for the most part the members of the AHC (Atlanta Hawks Cheerleaders) have very respectable outside careers and we are strongly supported. But we are required to have another job or be a student to even be considered for the team.

Does the team have a fitness plan?
Absolutely! We have trainers that work us out every Tuesday and Thursday for an hour prior to our practice. Its a combination of free weights, plyometrics, and cardio. We also have the option to set up private workouts with the trainers as well. Some girls do this on their own and some are told they have too.

Can you get kicked off for not “making weight”?
For us it’s not really about a number, it’s more of if you look the part. The AHC’s have a certain look we have to uphold; being healthy, fit, and in shape. We are all different shapes and sizes, but individually we know when we look our best and when we don’t. If there is ever a girl who is lacking or falling off the fit train, she will be suspended and asked to see the trainers. This is because we have to wear very tiny, revealing uniforms at times and if we don’t look good wearing it or it doesn’t fit it reflects negatively on the entire team.

Do you have to weigh in?

Yes, we have weigh-ins and body fat tests once a month.

Obviously you are in great shape – do girls ask you for advice?
Yes they do and I love it!! They usually ask me for certain exercises to get their booties in shape! 😉 But a lot of times they want to know what I eat and how they should eat!

You were a competitive swimmer in high school and college, so obviously an athlete. Do you think cheerleaders are athletes?
110% YES we are athletes!!!! I have to work just as hard now as I did in college to be good at what I do. Doing a standing back tuck, back-handspring, running tumbling, stunting, isn’t something the average person can do and I’m pretty sure you would be considered an athlete if you could; and I can!

Do you follow the Olympic Swimming?

Ya know, the past couple Olympics I really didn’t follow it as closely as I had previously, but this year has been different. I actually watched some of the trials and kind of missed swimming and being in the pool. And I plan to watch some of the Olympics as well.

Who will you be rooting for or following how they do?
Well I was, and will always be, a sprinter. And in college I mainly did freestyle, butterfly and the relays. So I will probably tune into the 50 and 100 freestyle, the 100 fly and all of the relays. And I mean I will obviously be rooting for all the Americans, but no one in particular! 😉

Juliana with her rose after being selected.

When will we see you on stage again?
SARASOTA PRO SEPTEMBER 8TH!!!! I am super excited about this show and can’t wait to get back on stage. After the New York Pro I knew I had some work to do and I’ve been working hard since. And of course I have the Olympia at the end of September!

Where can people stalk err find out more about you?

Hahaha!! In Atlanta!! 😉 Or you can just go to my fan page (Ifbb Bikini Pro Juliana Daniell) on facebook! I am planning to get a twitter account but can’t decide on a name! LOL any suggestions?? I am also in the process of putting together a personal website and blog; I just need more hours in the day to get it all done!

Any roses lately?
Baaahahaha! That’s funny! 😉 And the only “rose” I have gotten recently was from my Hawks coach Donni after she called out my name as a member of the 2012-2013 Atlanta Hawks Cheer-leading team!!

Thanks for your time JD and congratulations.

Thanks Isaac

Disclaimer: Reader discretion advised, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.