The idea of a killer ab series sounds enticing, but are you really ready to take on the challenge? Many people think they are, but lack the basic skills needed to benefit from advanced abdominal training. When you’re “doing it wrong,” to use IT speak, you cancel out the benefits of the exercise, and risk incurring an injury. Sometimes, a back to basics approach is what you need. If your abdominal exercise program is not reaping the desired rewards, something is not working right. Our personal trainers are detectives and solution finders. They will identify your imbalances, and then develop a progressive abdominal series that will work.
Beauty is Skin Deep
We love our crunches, but let’s not be so superficial. Crunches work your outer unit of abdominal muscles, which include the rectus abdominus and the external obliques. These muscles sit close to the surface of your skin, and perform upper torso flexing and rotating movements.
That’s all well and good, but without the assistance of your deeper core muscles, their performance is unpredictable. Your core muscles act as spinal stabilizers. If they fall asleep on the job, other muscles groups, such as your hip flexors and lower back take over. Just in case you were wondering why those advanced abdominal routines weren’t doing much.
Breathing Into the Core
Ab exercises work best when both layers of ab exercises engage. In other words, simply flexing and rotating your upper torso, or lifting your hips to target the lower abdominal fibres, will not get the job done. The abdominal activation process begins in the core, and initiates in the breathing process.
Proper exhalation wakes the your transverse abdominal muscle, whose function involves pressing against the diaphragm to expel the air. If your ab routines are not working as they should, proper breathing might fix them. Your personal trainer will show you how to do this.
Once you have mastered the breathing technique, your personal trainer will teach you a series of basic core exercises. Whilst these routines will not trigger that beloved burn, the manner in which you perform determines the efficiency of your core muscles. The tripod, for example, involves simultaneously lifting and extending your right leg and left arm, then switching sides. The plank requires you to lean on your elbows, with your legs extended and your back in a straight line. Arching your back or shifting to one side during these exercises means that your deeper core muscles need more work.
The Bicycle Maneuver
The bicycle maneuver sits at the top of many “best ab exercises” lists. Performed in a supine position, this exercise requires you to lift both legs from the floor, extend one leg, bend the opposite knee, and rotate your upper torso toward the bent knee. Arching your back diminishes the safety and efficiency of this exercise. If your back muscles and hip flexors take over, your abdominal muscles will take a nap.
Bicycle Manuever Modifications
Physiotherapists are known for their sick senses of humor, as indicated by exercise names such as “dead bug.” Seriously speaking, this exercise prepares you for bicycle maneuver. Lie supine with your knees bent and your legs lifted to a table top position. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, simultaneously lower your right foot toward the floor, as you raise you left arm above your head. Keep your lower back imprinted into the floor. Change sides. Add challenge by lowering your leg with a bent knee, then straightening your leg. When you can do this with your spine imprinted into the mat, it’s time to move on to the regular bicycle maneuvre.
This is just one example of how a Happy Physio personal trainer in Perth can help you build a progressive ab routine. Why not give it a try? Call us on (08) 9272 7359 today!