Although abs can be created in the kitchen, that’s only half of the reason why so many people continue to struggle with their ab workouts.What can you do for effective ab exercises? Let’s find out!
More planks and crunches anyone?– doesn’t guarantee your body will respond in the same way. Although genetics are always a factor in your appearance, the biggest problem isn’t your DNA. It’s what exercises you choose and how you activate your muscles during them.
Contrary to other exercises, where it can be difficult to know if an exercise is correct or not, core movements are easy to feel. It’s easy to believe that your core movements are working.
What you may not realize is that how you do the exercises can make a huge difference in how your results look.
These are the effective ab exercises. These rules will ensure that you avoid injuries such as lower back pain, and help bring out your best self.
Core Rule #1: CreateTension For Your Abs
Bracing your abs is usually thought to be the rectus Abdominis (also known as your 6-pack muscle), which runs along the front of your body. This is great for when you’re about to get punched in your gut. However, bracing usually involves some spinal flexion (think around your back) as well as decreased involvement of any other spinal supporting muscles.
To build the strongest core possible, you need to use all your muscles.
To protect your spine and prevent injury, you will need more than your six-pack if you are standing tall while lifting a heavy weight.
How To Build Ab Tension
This is how it works: Sit up straight and high wherever you are, and place your hands on your lower back. One hand should be on each side of your spine. The other hand should be flat to the muscles.
Feel your abs stretch and feel the difference under your fingers.
You’re probably only flexing your spine, not engaging your entire spine. You can flex again but this time, you should include every muscle around the waist. Here are the things you want to do:
- Your ribs will pull in your center.
- Forcing your shoulders back slightly will cause them to retract.
- Feel the contraction in your lower back and your hands, while feeling strong and powerful.
This is the feeling you want to recreate with your exercises. This is the hard part. Now comes the tricky part. Inhale and exhale, but don’t lose that tension. Bracing is also known as inhaling and exhaling.
This is tricky because you can’t brace very hard and it will limit your breathing. However, if you don’t have enough breathing, you won’t be able to do as well with longer-term exercise. You should avoid falling asleep in the gym unless you are looking to be the next YouTube star.
Making Bracing Easier
The Farmer’s Walk teaches you how tension can be maintained and braced while you breathe. Take two dumbbells or kettlebells and stand straight. Then, take the kettlebells for a walk as far as you can. This is it. Make sure to practice your breathing and bracing.
Core Rule #2: Activate Glutes During Core Exercises
Core exercises will give you a great way to burn calories. Flex your glutes! Although it might seem counterintuitive to use another muscle group, your glutes serve a specific function that directly impacts the action of your abs.
Hip extension is caused by your glutes. Your pelvis also experiences a “posterior tilt” which causes your pelvis to move in a different direction. This movement involves rolling your hips so your tailbone is closer to your knees. This posterior tilt requires a lot more activation of the abs.
How to activate your Glutes
Try to do a plank but squeeze your glutes hard. See what happens to your abs. For even more tension, suffering and benefits (and for more pain), press your forearms into your floor.
Core Tip #3 – Improve
Although it might feel good to hold a static stretch for just a few seconds, or even for more than a minute, it won’t increase your mobility. Before you ask, “Who cares about my mobility?” The answer is your abs.
Greater mobility means greater stability. More muscle activation is associated with better stability. A key component to better abs, strength, and fewer accidents is more muscle activation.
A short burst of tension maximization during core stability exercises is one method that works well. Core stability exercises can be anything from a side plank, plank, or half-kneeling hold.
Here is an example of this process in action.
This idea can be used as a warm up for a workout or between more challenging weight training exercises. This is an example:
Perform three “reps”, each with 10 holds of each of these:
- Standard plank
- Side plank (3 reps per side)
- Half kneeling hold, elastic pulling you to one side, each side
- Glute bridge, max contractions
Repeat this for two sets.
In-between set version
- Exercise A is any move that you do in your exercise program.
- Front plank, 3 x 10 seconds
Before you rest, complete this superset.
- Exercise B
- 8 reps per side for rotational planks
Before you rest, complete this superset.
Core Tip #4: Add Speed
To Basic Movements
Speed doesn’t just refer to how fast you can complete an entire set of exercises. This refers to the time it takes to perform a single rep while keeping tension in your muscles.
Speed is about speed. The goal is to move as fast as you can, and then to recover quickly enough to allow for another speed or greater speed. This is an intensity continuum. You want to push yourself to achieve maximum intensity for each set or rep.
Think about the difference between a seated military press (which is usually slower) and an Olympic weightlifter performing a jerk pressing. Although the movement is the same in terms of the involvement of your upper body, the jerk presses are faster and require more timing and technique.
How To Increase Speed
Do a simple exercise such as a bird dog. A “neuropulse” is a movement where your arm and legs move as fast as you can and then return to the starting position.
To increase your drive velocity through your hips and knees, you could try something similar using a stomping motion.
This is a great way to prepare for Olympic lifting, sprinting, deadlifts, squats and other exercises.
Core Tip #5 – Master
Your breathing patterns during a sprint, max-weight squat or sparring session, as well as a yoga class , should be different. Learning how to adapt your breathing to certain activities will not only improve your performance, but also give you a surprise core and abs benefit.
Finally, keep your hands on your stomach and take a quick, hard, deep breath through your nose. You can feel your abs and exhale with a sharp, short and hard breath, much like a martial artist attempting to throw a punch or jab.
Your abs likely experienced more of a twitch-type contraction. They saw a huge shapeshift and became rock hard for a moment before returning to their normal state. This is the key to speed development and athleticism.
These simple and quick tips will help you not only see a difference in your abs but also make it easier to run, lift weights and be more athletic.
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