Train Your Core

You do abs everyday & eat right… so where is this 6 pack your 4 week ab attack program promised? Chances are you’ve been doing it all wrong. Let me tell you why..

©11th Door Photography
©11th Door Photography

What would happen if you did squats all the time but never walked or ran or did anything but squat? Or if you did bicep curls at the gym but never lifted anything else not even your water bottle. I’ll tell you what would happen.. nothing. You would see no change in your arms or legs if they weren’t used on a daily basis. I am going to teach you how to use the core muscles that you’ve been working so hard at strengthening.

Train your brain

I want you to stop using the word “abs” and start saying “core” instead. If this is going to be an effective lesson then we need your brain on board. The core refers to any muscle that attaches to the spinal column or the pelvis. Wait, isn’t the spine located… back there? Yes. The photo below highlights the core muscles without giving you a full anatomy lesson.

core-muscles-fit2commit-erica-clarkson

I know what you’re thinking.. this photo is saying that the glutes are apart of the core. This is correct, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Train Your Core to Flex

We all know how to flex our bicep.. usually when you’re directing someone to the gym.

Flexpoint “the gym is that way, bro”

But, many of you have never flexed every muscle in your core at the same time. Here’s how. Place your hands on your lower back and flex. If you feel little or no change under your hands then you didn’t flex properly. Let’s try again, keeping your hands on your lower back, flex your bellybutton into your spine, tuck your butt under, squeeze your glutes, and tighten the muscles below your shoulder blades on your lower back. If you’re having a hard time breathing then you’re correctly flexing your entire core. Practice flexing this way while walking as often as possible. As you get better, add weight by carrying dumbbells or kettle bells while walking & flexing.

Train Your Core to Plank

Now, perform a 30 second plank and apply what we’ve learned about flexing. You’ll find the plank is much harder this way. It is especially important to engage your glutes while planking. You want to put weight into your elbows and pull them towards your feet. If you’re on a yoga mat you’d want to try and wrinkle it underneath you because you’re squeezing so hard. If you’re doing it correctly then you should be shaking. Try it now.

Elbow-Plank

Train Your Core at the Gym

Learning how to exercise while using your core properly will take time. Start by adding 30 second planks between each exercise in your circuits. You will feel a huge difference in the way your body is working. See for yourself. Try this squat circuit 2 times.. once without anything between exercises and then try it again but add a 30 second plank after each exercise.

Circuit:

  1. 4 Step Squat (up, up, down, down… stay low and sit into your heels) 10 reps each leg
  2. Basic Squat 20 reps
  3. The Snap Squat (replace your hands with your feet quickly) 10 reps
  4. Squat + Plyo Squat (alternating) 10 reps

Train Your Foundation

Still not sold? Your core is your foundation. Would an apple exist without it’s core? No and neither would we. So take care of it & learn how to use it properly. Not only will you see definition and change in your body, you will increase balance and stability which prevents injury.

Stay tuned for my favorite core & stability exercises.

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