Friday, January 22, 2016

When am I using my abs?

A lot of times, we as a society are looking for the newest "Ab Blaster Workout!" More common now days is the word "Core", but these authors mean the same thing. Different article for a different day.

But I digress.

Often times, we are trying to get the best ab workout. Then when we don't see results, we are mystified! 

The truth is that through out history, abs showed up 
when people had to move and work for a good portion of the day. They didn't sit around doing crunches and planks. They worked, their life is what led to having a lean and fit look. As a result, the abdominals showed up.

So what "manual labor" type exercises would lead to having a lean body? Chopping wood, Shoveling dirt, lifting hay bales, carrying heavy stuff with one arm. And of course cow tipping.

Although it's tempting to try and focus on abdominals, we use them the most to stabilize during movement. Therefore, it is wise to do a wide range of exercises that involve all of our body parts and require stabilization, agreed?

So exercises where weight is overhead or while we are offloaded (holding weight in one hand) will greatly improve our core strength. See how we can somewhat replicate these movements? 
Think about a single arm dumbbell front squat. It kind of looks like the "farmer" above; off-set load, held high. This requires abdominal stabilization.

Exercises such as standing overhead press, farmers walks, lunges, front squats and dumbbell step ups will constantly challenge your core strength. So it is these exercises that your training should be based around.
Lastly, this work was what people did 6-days per week. The lesson learned from that is to be consistent. A little bit done every day is more effective than a lot done once or twice a week. If that is all you have time for, then by all means use it to train. But don't make your abdominals the focus of your training. Instead use training to perfect the basic movements used in life. If you do this, your abs will show up.

Additionally, by throwing in some periods of running, there is a very good chance you'll see your abs without ever doing a crunch!

In short, if we know how to use our abs, then they are almost always turned on when we are standing, walking, running or weight training. And by using your abdominals to stabilize during daily tasks in addition to your weight training, they will get stronger and bigger. And pending your eating habits, some abdominals should show up. But that's for another article!

If you're not sure how to implement these exercises into an effective and efficient training program, and look into our Program Design services. We'll do a movement evaluation, body composition (body fat %), nutrition evaluation and lastly strength testing. Based on this information, we put together a training program that fits your schedule, your needs and your wants. It's pretty impressive if I do say so!

Here's to a fit and healthy 2016!

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