Abs.

Need I say more? Everyone like a good set of abs! So why not give them there own post! 🙂

 

Anatomy:

Rectus abdominis 

External Oblique

Internal Oblique

Transverse abdominis

 

What do they do… besides look great in a bathing suit?

They support the “trunk”. 

Their job- flexion (think sit up in bed) and rotate the spine (turning and reaching into the back seat for your rice cakes)

Also, helps in breathing and all bathroom habits. 

 

If you have ever done a workout with me you know I stress posture a lot! Because of this I add at least 3 different abdominal/ “core”/ “powerhouse” exercises into my clients and my own workouts.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE YOU STRENGTHEN YOUR BACK JUST AS MUCH AS YOU DO YOUR ABS.   Like any other muscle group it is important to keep the right length- tension ratio.  What does that mean?  In short… you want to make sure all your muscles are pulling/ supporting your bones and joints at the right tension to prevent injuries. (think the support cables of a bridge).

 

HERE ARE 3 OF MY FAVORITE ABDOMINAL EXERCISE

My #1 exercise is what I call the Mini reverse crunch…. why mini…. because once you get the muscles working the right way you can make the movement bigger…. YOU’RE LOW BACK SHOULD NOT HURT WHEN YOU DO ABS. AND YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PUT YOUR HANDS UNDER YOUR BUTT.  You’re back tends to hurt because you aren’t using your Transverse Abdominis.  The Transverse is the deepest muscle in your abdominal.  Most people have trouble activating this muscle (I call it the Bermuda triangle of the abs). Here’s how-

Step 1- Lay down and let your body just melt into the mat.  Make a mental note of what part of your body is touching the mat. 

example- my tailbone, ribs/ shoulders, and head.  I have a high arch in my back…. if your back touches that’s ok… but if it doesn’t, don’t force it down by moving your pelvic and lifting your tailbone off the group.

Step 2- Pull your belly button to your spine… don’t hold your breathe. I like to put my hand there to help my brain focus.

Step 3- This step will vary for different people.  But in the video I start in the advance position with both legs up. You may start will both legs down… and lift 1 up at a time…. like you’re marching.  Be careful not to pop or rock in your hips.

Step 4- You see I am only moving about 1-2″.  IF YOU ARE HOLDING YOUR TRANSVERSE TIGHT YOU WILL NOT NEED TO MOVE MORE THAN THAT.   If you aren’t it will be very easy (for your abs…. tough on your hip flexors) to straighten your legs completely.

Try to do 2-3 sets of 15 reps to start.

 

 

Single Leg (you can alternate if you want) Straight Leg Oblique

In this exercise you are working your Obliques, transverse (if you are holding your belly tight), and your Rectus abdominis. (flexion, supporting, and slight rotation)

Tip 1- This is the advance level.  If this is to hard you can do a half bike, (bend you knee.  It takes the pressure off the hip flexor).

Tip 2- DON’T PUSH YOUR STOMACH OUT.  THINK DRAW  THE BELLY IN WHEN YOUR MOVE.

Tip 3- You can support your neck with your free hand.

 

Pilates Roll Up- This is one of my favorite movements. No matter how strong you are it’s a tough to do… and do right.  Sure,  you can make this easy by throwing your arms and kicking your legs to help you sit up… and you could just let gravity pull you back down to the ground after… But when you focus on controlling the movement and rolling the spine (in Pilates they call it articulation) It’s a killer workout both rolling up and down.

Step 1- Lie on your back with our legs out straight.  Reach your arms straight up to the ceiling… always keep your hands inline with your shoulders.

Step 2-  Pilates is all about breathing, so you will INHALE  and lift your chin to your chest bringing your head through your arms.

Step 3- EXHALE add “Scoop/ Roll up” I tell my clients image you are making a C with your body and you have to pull your belly button to your spine to get the top of the C (your head and shoulders) up…

As you sit up image your lowest rib growing away from your hips (DON’T LIFT YOUR SHOULDERS… INSTEAD THINK YOU HAVE A BIG BELT ON).

Step 4- The roll down is moving the opposite… so first you will let your tailbone, then low back, mid back, upper back, and lastly your head down to the ground.  WORK ON DOING THIS SLOW AND CONTROLLED.  Always remember to keep your transverse tight.

 

 

Lastly… we all know you can do 1000 of each of these, but if you aren’t eating right, and doing the right amount of cardio… you’re abs will forever be hidden.  Just a quick tip on this… watch what you drink.  The sugar in your drinks- coffee, soda, energy drinks, flavored almond milk, beer, and yes even delicious wine will add extra calories… which can all lead to extra inches to your waistline. 

 

If you would like more help with workouts or healthy eating tips email me at kristyleconte@gmail.com .

Until next time! Keep Moving Forward.

 

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