Your Ultimate Guide To Core Training With The Total Gym:
For decades, people have attempted to address the battle of the bulge and get a six-pack by doing isolated exercises like crunches and sit-ups. These are great exercises, but there is so much more to the power and purpose of your core. Don’t get me wrong, I love some nice washboard abs, but they need to be built on a solid foundation. Consider this, if the trunk of a tree is weak the limbs can only be so strong. Core training when done properly can provide your entire body with stability, strength and balance.
Core Muscles 101
The core is a collection of muscles that stabilize, rotate and move the spine. Your core muscles include:
Think about the muscles you’re working as you begin your core training routine. Keeping your mind on the muscle and your eye on the prize can help you to stay engaged and get the most out of your workout. Always begin with a 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up such as jogging in place, jumping jacks or anything that increases your heart rate and blood flow. Form is key for getting the maximum benefit and avoiding injury. My motto: burn is good, dull ache is good, sharp pain is bad.
Perform this 30-minute routine three times a week for four weeks. Make sure you take some before and after pics for your awesome ab comparison. Oh, and about that six-pack… a healthy diet and some cardiovascular training are necessary to remove unwanted belly fat so you can see the fruits of your labor. Check out my blog on Endurance Training for a great Total Gym cardio workout. Now let’s move.
Tips For Avoiding Injury
- Don’t rush the exercise. Slower movement recruits more muscle fibers. Faster movement bypasses abs completely and can put you at risk for back injury.
- Don’t hold your breath. This is usually a recipe for elevated blood pressure and a headache. Getting oxygen to the muscles allows for more efficient movement and maximum benefits.
- Keep your core muscles engaged throughout the entire movement. Many people will pull their abs in on the way up (the crunch) and then relax on the way down. Focus on bringing your ribs to your navel and your navel to your spine until you’re done with the set.
- Keep your chin off your chest. A fist distance between your chin and chest is perfect for keeping your spine in alignment and avoiding neck fatigue and injury.