—Photo by JellyBean Pictures

With Memorial Day behind us, summer is [unofficially] in full swing. (Woot!  Woot!) But before you stock up on sunblock and sand toys, check out these indispensable bits of advice from our talented panel of experts.

Kristi Molinaro, founder of Equinox’s 30/60/90 and mom to a one-year-old, knows a thing or two about what it takes to flatten those postpartum abs. Here’s her favorite quick, deep-core workout.Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and take a few deep breaths, feeling how your body rests on the floor. Notice that you are lying in neutral spine (shoulders and hips on floor, but low back lifted up). Now hug both knees into your chest pushing your low back into the floor and tucking your pelvis. This is what is called a posterior pelvic tilt. It’s a great low-back stretch.

Step 1 – The Deep Core Crunch

  • Bring legs into a 90 degree angle, table-top position with thighs perpendicular to the floor and shins parallel to the floor. Notice that you are in neutral spine again, with shoulders and hips weighted to the floor and a natural space in the low back.
  • Place both hands on the low stomach and try to pull your stomach away from your hands without pushing your low back into the floor essentially ‘scooping’ your abs. Try to keep that scoop as you push your legs a bit further away—without arching your low back off the floor or losing any flatness in the abs.
  • Keep that position and place your hands behind your head, keeping your elbows wide, and lift your head and the top of your shoulders off the floor. Make sure not to come up too high–you want the base of your shoulder blades to remain touching the floor.
  • Tuck your chin and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Maintaining the scoop and the neutral spine, lower your head and upper shoulders to the floor and come right back up and hold for another 5 seconds.
  • Repeat this 10 times, keeping your legs in an active 90 degree angle and the stomach flat the whole time.

Step 2 – The Oblique Activator

  • Start in the same position (legs in table top position, hands on stomach, head on floor).
  • Straighten right leg up to the ceiling, flexing right foot (keep left leg in tabletop).
  • Like a drawbridge, lower your right leg (straightened) about halfway to the floor, maintaining a flat stomach.
  • Keep the right straight leg halfway down and the left leg in a tabletop; take your hands behind your head and come half-way up and tuck your chin. Look down at your legs and make sure your left leg is still in the 90 degree angle (tabletop) and your right leg is as straight as you can get it and the foot is flexed.
  • Now take your right elbow and bring it towards your left knee and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Keep the legs where they are and come back to center hovering your head over the floor for 2 seconds. (Head does NOT rest on floor.)
  • Repeat up to 8 times, holding for 5 seconds every time the right elbow goes toward the left knee.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Step 3 – The Criss Cross

  • Starting once again in the same position (legs in tabletop, hands on stomach, head on floor).
  • Place hands behind your head, keeping elbows wide and tuck your chin.
  • Extend right leg out parallel to the floor, exhale through your right heel as you bring your right elbow toward your left knee and hold for 2 seconds.
  • Now switch sides and extend left leg, exhale through your left heel as you bring your left elbow toward your right knee and hold for 2 seconds.
  • Go back and forth, keeping your elbows wide and fully extending the straight leg.
  • Do as many as you can, with good form.

Step 4 – The Superman

  • Roll over on to your stomach, with arms extended out in front, shoulders relaxed.
  • Exhale as you lift your arms, head and legs off the floor at the same time without scrunching your neck (keep eyes on the floor in front of you).
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Bring arms, head and legs back to floor.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Step 5 – The Jumping Plank

  • Place your elbows directly under your shoulders, forearms on the floor and push your body away from the floor onto your toes and into a plank position.
  • Make sure your body is parallel to the floor, and your hips and shoulders are in the same plane.
  • Keep your head in neutral (don’t tuck or lift your chin), and your eyes on the floor in front of you.
  • Making sure not to drop the hips, jump or step your legs to hip-width and then jump or step the legs back together.
  • Repeat up to 20 times.

Get more fun tips from the StrollerTraffic experts in our Summer 2011 Survival Guide.