Monday, February 14, 2011
Imagine getting sexy abs, having more stamina, strength, power and balance. You can--with the right kind of ab training.
If you want toned, flat abs, stop doing a million crunches and start fine tuning your sense of balance. Core training is a phrase that has been tossed around for a while now, appearing in magazines and used by trainers to help their clients get their best body. Performing it properly is another story.
To get great looking abs you have to train them in more than one way. You also need to train your back. The trick to good core training is to challenge stability in multiple planes of movement using a variety of exercises.
Some of my favourite pieces of equipment that are relatively inexpensive or can often be found at your local gym are the stability ball, the Bosu, and something as simple as a piece of foam or towel. The reason these are all great is they challenge your balance which challenges your core.
Instead of using a solid bench you can use a stability ball. You need to activate your core muscles to stay on the ball. A great exercise is taking the simple bench press off the bench and onto the ball.
Start by sitting on it and rolling out until your shoulders and head are on it. Activate your abs by drawing your belly button in towards your spine. Keep your hips up. Hold a fairly light weight to start and have your arms in a right angle position. Press the weight up over your chest bringing the hands close together. Lower until you feel a slight stretch in your chest (about parallel to floor) then repeat. Try and always exhale as you push the weight up over your chest.
One of my most favourite pieces of balance equipment will not only work your core but work the entire body is the Bosu balance trainer. It looks like half a ball. I have a million favourites on the Bosu but some really good ones to work on your core is simply balancing on it.
Start by simply standing on it. Have your legs slightly bent, belly button pulled in and work on not falling off. If this is really easy, try standing on one leg.
Using a foam or towel is similar to the bosu. It creates instability. You can stand on it like the bosu or you can try exercises like a squat on it. As with all the exercises pull your belly button in and exhale on the hard part of the exercise.
Once you master exercises like standing and squatting, you can try adding some rotation. Start by simply standing tall, belly in, and both arms stretched out to the side. Take one hand and bring it around to meet the other, then switch sides. You can also try bending down to take one hand to the opposite toe.
By adding exercises more than just crunches you will not only give yourself great looking abs, you will give your body strength, power and balance.
Committed to your fitness success,