So the first week of Tweightloss is underway, and my team has asked me for some helpful hints and/or suggestions concerning getting their ‘abs’ into shape.
I’ve been wanting to post a blog about this subject for quite a while now, but honestly have been avoiding it due to the vast amount of information that is out there concerning your ‘abs’.
So let’s clear the air of some misnomers and misconceptions:
- The area of your body that has your ‘abs’ has now been referred to as your core. The term abs is an older term that we ‘old-schoolers’ have used. Your CORE refers to not only your abs but all the muscles involved in stabilizing your spine, pelvis and shoulder complex. Ironically it involves the same area as your abs.
- There is no such thing as spot reduction. Just because you want to trim your waistline, or desire to have that six-pack look, does not mean you can target that area of your body with core exercises and expect to see that excess flab disappear. We human beings do not get to chose which part of our fatty bodies loses our flubber first.
- Eating more healthy alone can help you lose weight. Exercising alone can help you lose weight. Just imagine if you combined the two??
- Sit ups only accomplish one thing… a sore neck. Sit ups do not give you a 6-pack!
- 1 lb of fat = 3500 calories
- Counting calories will buy you a ticket to the insane asylum
- When you eat matters almost more than what you eat
- And lastly DIETS DON’T WORK
So lets talk turkey.
Before you read on, read this article on your CORE. A great reference for the lay-person.
I have a special passion for your CORE these days, since I made it my goal for 2008 to better my own CORE. I was like everyone else. I was exercising, running, lifting weights like I always had done. But when ya looked at my waist line, it was a tad soft. In fact it was quite mushy. So last fall I recruited the help of a fellow colleague and friend to get my CORE back into shape. He helped me develop the building blocks that would seed my interest in a fitter me.. All the way to the CORE.
Here are some progression pics of me and my core over the past 2 yrs.
Here’s me in May 2005
August 2006 & August 2007
It’s my own personal belief, after spending the time to strengthen my own core, a weak core is not only counter productive to a healthier you, but ultimately is dangerous.
Ever had any back pain in your life? I’m willing to bet a weak core contributed to it. The majority of back pains come from core instability. Refer back to that first article if you think otherwise. The nuts and bolts of it being a strong and/or fit CORE is a safety net for your body. Not only does it make you look and feel good, but it will help you remain safe from injury in times of distress or possible harm.
Think of it this way. What happens when you slip on a patch of ice? Your first bodily reaction is to catch yourself, or save yourself from further injury. How do you think your body does that? By recruiting your CORE.
Your CORE is exactly what it implies.
CORE – The most important part of a thing; the essence; as, the core of a subject.
Your body’s CORE is equivalent to a building’s foundation. Nuff’ said about that.
So in order to exercise your CORE you need to recruit the muscles that make up your CORE. Your CORE functions by providing stability to one’s spine, pelvis and shoulder complex. So how should you activate them? By simply making those structures imbalanced!
Yep, it’s that simple. If you want to exercise your CORE, simply throw your body, ergo your CORE, off balance. Heh heh
Now most individuals relate their CORE to the infamous exercise ball, or swiss ball as I call it. (sorry, that’s from years of working in the exercise rehabilitation field)
The reason for this symbiotic relationship? That exercise ball constantly keeps throwing your body off balance! Wild concept huh?
So, here’s the bad news. There are WAY too many CORE exercise out there to list here in a single blog post. Seriously. If you don’t believe me, give it a try. Go Google the term, or Ask.com it, better yet do a YouTube search. I did.
In fact, that’s how I got half of my exercises that I have used, or still am using! I tell my wife this all the time, some of the best ideas are borrowed (stolen).
The great thing about any CORE exercises is they are transitional and adaptive. By simply changing your hand placement, your foot placement ,or even the swiss ball placement, you can intensify the exercise and increase the difficulty.
Here is the key to most CORE exercises. The farther away your limb(s) are from your body (your core) the more difficult the movement will be. And of course adding weight to your limb (hands or feet) will definitely increase the difficulty!
Here is a brief list of resources for a healthier CORE:
Check out these beginner exercises from the Mayo Clinic
Here is another plethora of exercises.
The key here is stability. I remember talking with a fellow fitness professional about your CORE, and how to develop and increase your strength. The big misconception out there is trying to exercise your CORE like it’s a singular separate muscle. Trying to perform an isotonic exercise with your CORE defeats the purpose of using your CORE. Your CORE is there to stabilize your body while your body is performing other movements. CORE = STABILITY.
Finally here are a compilation of videos I found on YouTube that may give you some more ideas for working your CORE. Please take in to consideration some of these exercises are very advanced, so please be sure to progress slowly and safely.
14 exercises with the swiss ball
More Stability Exercises with the swiss ball
Yet, more stability swiss ball exercises
Modified Plank with swiss ball exercises
HARD CORE exercises.. only for the advanced
Advanced CORE moves
Additional advanced CORE
Here are other videos which I couldn’t embed:
Some basic CORE exercises, including Planks
Side Plank Exercises
More with the swiss ball
Please take caution and consideration for your safety when attempting any new exercises. Start slow, keep it controlled and progress slowly.
If you have any additional material, links, sites, information on your CORE, please email them to me. I’d love to hear from you.
Best of luck!
As always take care of yourselves and yours. Carpe Diem