Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Core" Exercises

I get this question all the time, "Justin I need some "Ab" exercises. I want a 6-pack and do not know if I am doing the right exercises." First of all if you want a 6-pack you need to change your diet and eat very clean. That is a blog in itself but do not expect a "6'pack" if you are not eating clean food. Secondly let me give you some education on what most people call the "core". The core involves the muscles from the thigh all the way up to the rib cage and everything in between. It is not just the abs.
We engage the core in almost every exercise in the gym. Squatting, chin-ups, push-ups, jumping, and running are all "core exercises". Now some specific muscles that build stability in the core are down below. The more stability we have in our lower spine area the better function and movement we will produce throughout the rest of the body. If we lack stability in the lower spine many problems can arise from this issue. You need to perform planks and side planks almost everytime you go to the gym for a workout. These are great exercises for trunk stability. If you notice the pictures, Jacki is straight as a board. Start off with 2 sets of 20 seconds. When you can do that with perfect form, move to 30 seconds. Then go to 3 sets. Once you have mastered the plank and side plank there are many variations of this exercise to make it more difficult. First, MASTER THE BASIC movement!

The first video is what I call "trunk stabilization". It can be performed on a cable machine or with a thera-band. Remain braced and stiff throughout the abdominal wall. Pretend someone is about to punch you in the stomach and keep that feeling throughout the exercise. You are getting rotation in the throacic spine area (mid-spine) but that is the only movement. You do not need heavy weight with this exercise. Start off with a weight that you can control.

Along with a clean diet you need the right workout program. Check out my article called "The Best Training Program". This will give you a breakdown of how you can design your own program when going to the gym. With the right mix of science and intensity you will see the results from doing the correct things in the gym.


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