Clean eating and avoiding highly inflammatory foods is a big part of keep the muffin at bay of course. However, working the core and abs in a specific fashion is also highly important. Performing crunches until the cows come home will not do it folks. It is not about quantity – it is about being smart.
Up until recently I was saving ab, core and low back exercises for the end of my workouts. Except…I started noticing that I was skipping them fairly regularly. I would run out of time or begin to feel tired and want to call it quits for the day. A girl can only be at the gym so long! So I have changed the emphasis right now to have it be a part of my warm up to make sure it happens.
New Core Exercises
Let us warm up first…
Stretching is so important. Below is one of my least favorite stretches and the one I am sure I need the most. I work in a lot of yoga-inspired stretches to help to open up my body. Flexibility is very much a challenge for me.
I see so many women at the gym doing all kinds of ab variations, but I see very few working their low back unless they work with a trainer. It is actually simple enough to start on your own, but I think the machines often have a set up that can feel a little overwhelming. In our gym, we simply take the 45 degree hyper and elevate it to make a reverse hyper. You will start and finish in the same position and elevate your legs like I am showing below.
A reverse hyper is super expensive – you can check it out here to see a picture. It can typically be found in a lot of gyms, but you have to seek it out. The reverse hyper was used by weightlifters in the old Soviet Union (current day Russia) to train the posterior muscles of the low back, butt and hamstrings. Living in poverty, they had to become incredibly creative with what little equipment they had availabe to them. They used a gymnastics pommel horse and laid it over while holding railings connected to the wall. I am a fan of this simple solution and exercise. Well done comrades. 🙂
Ab exercises are still vital of course. Try to work your abs at least four times a week and witch off between a low ab focus and rotational or side oblique. I am lowering and lengthening by holding my back tight and flat while lowering my legs in order to put the muscle under tension while lengthening. Tension creates tone.
Single Leg Low Ab Leg Negative
As shown in the picture below you will raise your one leg and lower it to the ground while maintaining tension in your abs. You will then return to the beginning position. These are brutal!
Reverse Ab Crunch
I often do these on a bench at the gym, but we created the same set up with an ab mat. They can be found for super cheap on Amazon so they can be done at home. You will set up your feet as displayed below and draw both knees into your abs simultaneously. Hold and then return to the original position.
Definitely consider these facts if you feel frustrated with your workout or you feel like you need extra help keeping your muffin top at bay.
Have a great Tuesday friends! I am off to sign up for the Precision Nutrition Coaching Certification. It was designed by Dr. John Berardi and I am super excited to jump in…
Question of the Day: What core exercises do you include in your workouts?