Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your Amarillo personal trainer. Today we’re going to be talking about working your abs in a whole new way.  If you have any questions about today’s blog, then please give us a call at (806) 322-3188

When people think about ab workouts, they think about crunches, pulling on your neck, and all of the things that those terrible infomercials show you. Really, ab workouts aren’t that bad. But if your doing a crunch incorrectly, then yes it can hurt your neck and i might not give you the benefit in your core. And if you are doing it correctly, it might not be hard enough. That may sound silly, especially if you haven’t been doing a lot of exercise lately. The truth of it though, is that the core needs to be worked at a certain level in order to improve. You use it for everything that you do.

Now before I get into this exercise that i’m going to teach you, I want to go over the difference between your core and your abdominal muscles.

A lot of people don’t know the difference. They think that working the core is working the abdominal muscles. Sometimes it does, but sometimes the core actually involves more.

So technically, by definition, the core is your torso when you take off your arms and legs. It’s everything from your pelvis to your head and all of that helps to stabilize your movements. However, your abdominal muscles are completely different.

A lot of the time you might see reports going around laces like facebook that say “Doing crunches don’t activate your core the same way that squats and deadlifts do!” But the truth is, the squats and deadlifts, while they activate certain core muscles it’s the posterior core muscles. It’s through the lower back where you’re getting that activation and not as much the front. Now your transverse abdominis is typically part of that. If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically like a sling that comes across. Your transverse abdominis is one of those muscles where it’s always working in the background. No matter what you’re doing, it’s always engaging at some level. The more you engage it the better.

When we’re talking about the core muscles, if you’re talking to me about core muscles, then I assume that you’re talking about the abdominal muscles. As a personal trainer in Amarillo, I always have people talking to me about wanting a stronger core, flatter stomach…. And that’s what they’re talking about; the targeted area of the abdominal muscles, which is a targeted, specific area of the core. Again, the core goes all the way up through the head and all the way down through the pelvis.

So you want to be sure that you know what you’re talking about before you talk to someone and say that you want to work on your core. Because if you tell the wrong person that, then they might not be thinking of the same area that you’re thinking of.

Now, onto the exercises.

With your typical core exercises, you have your crunches, and goodness knows you have your planks. You’ve got multi joint exercises, where maybe you have your renegade rows, or your plank rows where you hold a plank and row up. There’s resistance band exercises, where you’re chopping down and you’re working your core that way.

However, the best way to work your core in full- to work your abdominal muscles as well as more of the torso- is to involve your your shoulders and your hips in your abdominal exercise. By doing that you’re actually going to get more work through that tummy area, where most people think of as their core.

I’m going to begin this with telling you about inchworms. No, not the bug, but where you stand up tall, reach to the floor, walk your hands out to a plank and walk right back in. And the goal there would be to stabilize the body from rocking side to side. One of the best ways to think about that stabilization point is to think about holding for a picture. Take your inchworm out to where you’re going to hold, imagine taking your pretty picture and hold, and then walk it back.

Now to segway into today’s exercise. And this one is going to be a little challenging, so you might need to modify it a little bit.

The inchworm is a perfect place for you to start. You might need to take it into that position and hold it first, there’s a lot of ways to build up to the exercise I’m going to tell you about. So if you’re not quite at this level yet, please modify it for something that’s more comfortable for your body right now, or get some help in learning how to strengthen the body to be able to do this.

So what I’m going to talk about is something a little more challenging in a little bit of a different way.

Step #1

You’re going to need a stability ball. It can be any size ball you want, just make sure that it’s inflated. You’re going to get a knee onto it and get yourself into a plank position and then get both feet on top of the ball.

Goal #1 is to balance, so if you haven’t got your balance at that position then just staying in that position and holding that plank can be your exercise.

Step #2

Now that you’re in that plank position, you’re going to do a pike up. So with your knees straight, you’ll lift your hips up towards the ceiling to where your body looks like a triangle almost, your hips are the peak of that mountain. Then you’ll go right back down into that plank position again. And make sure that you don’t want to go up too far to where your hips are over where your wrists are. If you do that then you’ve turned it into a shoulder exercise instead of a abdominal exercise.

Step #3

Next is our final step. You’ll go into a rollback. So you press back so that you’re rolling yourself backwards on the ball, and then pull forward through those lats (right underneath your armpits), go into that pike up, go right back down, and repeat.

Now what you’ll notice is that the further out your feet are from the top of the ball (the more that your feet are off the ball and the more that your shins get on the ball), the easier it’s going to be to do than if you just have the tops of your feet there.

So again, these are stages that you can intensify or modify from. You want to take it at your level, start somewhere, and build up from there.

I hope that you enjoyed today’s blog! If you’re 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 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.