Friday, February 25, 2011

Rock Hard Abs!

by Kris Pitcher

Knock knock. Who's there? Abs. Who's abs? Mine, that's who! Pretty amazing, but my abs are starting to make a peek of an appearance. Remember waaaay back when we talked about progress as motivation. Well, case in point. It. Works.

No, these are not mine!
Getting the six pack abs, the flat stomach that you want takes a comprehensive plan. It also requires some time and effort. But oh the rewards are sweet! Well, I can tell they're gonna be sweet. Commitment to your cardio program, and to eating clean are numero uno. There's no getting around that. Abs and a**es,..are made in the kitchen. That's no lie.

In addition to doing those things right, we need to have a solid weight training program, and an abdominal training plan. Remember that abdominal exercises strengthen your muscles. They also improve your posture and strengthen your core stability.

Now, what do they do to the fat on top of the muscles? Nothing. I repeat, nothing. Keep in mind that muscle tissue and fat tissue are different tissue and one never becomes the other. Each requires different "treatment" - so let's not forget: the goal of these exercises is to strengthen the muscles (not lose fat), got it?

Always consult your health care provider before beginning any exercise program, and consult a professional to ensure you are executing any exercise with proper form and technique. We're going to try three exercises to strengthen the abdominals. Ready, set, go!

The first is the basic crunch. Done correctly this is a great exercise and a good place to start. Lying supine on the floor, face up, with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent - place your fingertips around your ears to support your head - elbows out wide. Keeping your chin off your chest and your eyes on the ceiling, contract your abdominals bringing your shoulders off the floor. Return to starting position. You shouldn't feel any tension in your neck or back.

Next is the swiss ball exchange. Lying supine on the floor, take a swiss ball and place it between your feet, legs extended straight, heels on the floor. With your palms facing one another extend your arms out in front of you while you lift your legs to meet your hands. Transfer the ball from your feet to your hands and extend your hands over head gently placing the ball on the floor over your head, lift your torso off the floor transferring the ball back to your feet, repeat. This is a great one because it requires additional focus, while bringing in stabilizing muscles such as the adductors (inner thighs).

Finally, one of my favorites...the plank. This is a great stabilizing exercise. Begin in a prone position, face down on the floor. With your hands at your sides press up to your elbows keeping your palms to the floor, or making a fist keeping wrists parallel to the floor. At the same time, tuck your toes and come up on your toes. You are making a plank with your body. Your hips are in alignment, and your focus is on pulling your belly button toward your spine. This is a timed exercise, for 30 or 60 seconds, maintaining proper form and breathing. This image is a great variation showing knees to the floor. This is a more basic move, if it bothers your knees - don't use it.

Abdominal work will strengthen your muscles, keep in mind - that's the goal. I'm going to keep eating my healthy clean diet and getting my cardio in on schedule. By spring...I'll have my rock hard, six pack back! How about you?

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