Hi everybody, Kris Stokes from Custom Fitness Personal Training Studio, home of your health and wellness information. So today, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about functionally working your abs. I’ll have clients come in every now, and then, that they’ll go through a program and they’ll say, “But there were no crunches. I didn’t do my abs.” And that is so much an old school thought that it’s not even funny. Crunches are not the devil. They are not so bad that you can’t do them. They’re not completely outdated or anything like that, but the days of doing 10-15 minutes or even a whole class, you know 30-45 minutes of crunches, just doesn’t make sense anymore. And we do a lot of functional training here, meaning that we train you to be better at your everyday life.

How often in your everyday life are you on the floor trying to roll up? Right? Not very often. So, yes, you want that ability should you find yourself on the ground and you need to get up, you need to know how, and we do teach you people that. But whenever it comes to functionally training your abs, we need to kind of think a little differently because no longer are we only focusing on the abs. You may hear that, you may think that, but the problem is that we need to focus on training the entire core. And the core is everything in your torso, from back and sides, without your arms, legs, or head. So it’s your whole torso; it’s your back, it’s your front, all of it. And we gotta be able to train that to where functionally in your everyday life that that becomes reactive to what you’re doing.

So say that you’re walking down the street and all of the sudden you fall off the curb, your core needs to stabilize to protect our spine and protect your body from getting more hurt. So, we choose to train all more often our abs and our vertical plane rather than horizontal. So, yes, planking is great, but there’s more to core strength than just planking, right? Again, same thing, if you think about your daily life, how often are pushing something away and how long should you have to do that for? Right? So I’m not saying the planking’s bad, I’m not saying crunches are bad. I’m just saying that there’s some other alternatives and variety that we can throw in to kind of spice things up. Change it up for your body, change it up for your mind, make you even stronger and better.

So one of my favorite ways to do this is with bands. But in case you don’t have bands, I just wanted to tell you that like with your squats, with your lunges, with just about any exercise that you’re doing that is focused on lower body, you could easily take your dumbbells and hold them either at a modified shoulder load here or you can hold them all the way up overhead in a full shoulder load here. And as you do that, so say I was in a full shoulder load and I went into a squat, I’m now causing my core to have to react differently than if I have been down my sides.

You add some weights in there, other than just body weight, and it starts to change things up a little bit, right? That’s why everybody likes the kettlebell things and stuff because we’re starting to activate that core as we start to bring that kettlebell up or swing or push it to the side. We’re starting to use that core a little bit more and that strengthens our whole body, not just the arms, not just the legs.

All right. So one of my favorite ways is using bands. I do love the bands for what they are, but if you think about elastic resistance, whenever you’re using elastic, you’re going to have to work on the work phase. But then on the non-working phase, the negative work, you’re gonna have to be controlling that resistance so they slam back, right? Which means you’re getting double the work, and it’s all gonna be core centered. So let’s say that we took it from a high anchor point and we went into a decline chop where I’m gonna keep my hips forward, my shoulders forward, and we press it down to the opposite hip. Now, that’s all core there. I had to tighten to pull. It’s not really my arms that are doing all the work. But as we come back up, we have to resist that tendency to pull back up, so does that make sense?

So we could easily do some chops here. We could easily do some pulls into our legs for a lap pull-down type movement. We could eve take it with one hand and push across. Pretty much everything that you do with your bands, you’re going to feel the core reacting, and that’s what I absolutely love about it. A lot of work on the TRX, same thing. You’re gonna get a lot of benefit from that. So there’s a lot of different exercises that you can do in a standing vertical plane, to be able to work not only your abs, but also these surrounding core to be able to make sure that you are strong, you’re protected, you’re stable. And that’s only gonna benefit your other workouts that much more.

So, if you are wanting the accountability and help with creating an action plan to see results, or are wanting to someone to help create a workout plan to push you to your greatest potential, then that’s what we’re here for. We work with our clients not just on fitness, but also nutrition. What we do is we will ensure that you are supported throughout every aspect of your health and wellness journey, and that includes making those eating changes. 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.