Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your Amarillo personal trainer. Today is not Tuesday, but regardless I’m going to be giving you Fit Tip Tuesday. If you have any questions about today’s blog, then please give us a call at (806) 322-3188

Today we’ll be talking about leg lowers, leg lifts, scissor kicks, flutters, whatever you call them. Basically the idea is having a long, extended lever of your legs going forward. Are they great for the abs? Are they killer on the back? Well it all depends on how you do them.

I’m going to show you a trick today to make them more effective, less dangerous, and to get you to really hone in on that core so you can get the benefit without the injury.

So what am I talking about? Well, a lot of people will lay down on their mat and bring their knees into their chest, and have their hands to the side or under their hips. Then the legs go straight up. From there they take their legs all the way down to the floor, and right back up. That’s your leg lift or your leg lower.

For scissors, you take those legs down into an extended position. You either flutter, or you make them bigger into a scissor.

So what happens there? Well, when you go into that position, you have that extended lever, and that lever puts a lot of pressure on that low back. The back is not fully stabilized, especially if you don’t have as strong of a core as what you should when you’re doing those exercises. Also, you may not be able to focus on engaging that core properly. Then you have too long of a lever, and too much pressure on that low back. That can actually dislodge vertebrae and move it out of place, It can push disks into the wrong direction, and can cause a strain through the spine through the abdomen. It can even go so far, depending on how much pressure you have intra abdominally, to create a hernia over time.

So you really want to be careful with what you’re doing exercise wise. You want to measure out the benefit VS the risk. A lot of the time that’s something that not a lot of people consider, especially during this time of the year. Everyone thinks that they need to hit the gym hard and quickly get to where they want to be.

The problem is that if you don’t look at the risk VS the reward, then you end up doing things that are unsafe, you end up getting hurt, and instead of feeling fit for 2018 your injured for 2018. You don’t want to be knocked down to a lesser level and then have to build back up. And hopefully by that point you’re getting help from a professional. Because once you get injured you definitely need some help from a professional to build back up safely and make sure that you don’t get hurt over and over again.

So how do we fix this exercise? Well as well as being a personal trainer in Amarillo, I also have a background in pilates. I’ve taught pilates since 2002, i’ve been certified since 2002, and i’ve taught for years and years. I really put a focus in what I do with my training clients into the core, the same way that I have with pilates students.

So we have a difference in focus here. If you’re just going to the gym and doing ab work, you don’t always put the same focus. So the first focus in pilates is your breath. If you’re breathing into your stomach, then you won’t be able to engage your stomach. So if your coughing or sneezing you wouldn’t be breathing in at the same time, right? So if you think about a cough or a sneeze, it’s going to pull your ribs down into your hips, it’s going to tighten everything through the front, back, and sides to maintain.And what that does is it creates kind of a brick wall if you will, of the muscles against the spine to protect in that position. So then the spine doesn’t have that flexibility of movement back and forth. Rather it has to stay in the position that the abdomen is holding it in. And that’s what those muscles are there for, to help support and stabilize the body.

So as you squeeze into that core and you’re trying to breathe, well how are you breathing? You can’t breathe through your belly, so instead you breathe up through the chest. You either breathe through the chest, and the chest lifts and lowers, or you breathe out through the ribs and you expand. It’s kind of like having on a corset (sorry, men but I don’t have a good example for you) and you really can’t breathe in it through your forward in because it’s so tight, but you can breathe out to the side. So that’s more of the focus there with your breath. Being able to breathe through the ribcage, and keeping the tummy nice and tight as you’re doing it.

Now when I say “nice and tight”, a lot of people think i’m meaning going back to sucking it in and lifting up tall. All that actually does is actually displace your organs. So if you’re looking to rearrange your organs then that’s the way to do it. If not, then you want to engage your core. Remember it’s like coughing or sneezing, your ribs pulling under your hips, and you can actually see your spine change position. So you’re sitting up straight, you squeeze, and that pulls your ribs into your hips. It actually pulls you forward into a flexed spine position. And that’s the goal that you’re looking for as you lay down.

Now, I’m actually going to get into how to put this information into action in part two. If you can’t wait to find out more and get started on making healthy modifications to your life then that’s what we’re here for. We have an entire team of dedicated professionals to help you with your health and fitness goals. To get your consultation set up, give us a call at 806-322-3188 or email us at info@customfitness.biz At Custom Fitness, we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo, Texas. Have a great day. And you can now read part two here: https://customfitness.biz/2018/01/19/fit-tip-tuesday-part-2-custom-fitness-amarillo-personal-trainers/