It’s important to understand that the rationale for abdominal training goes far beyond “looks.” The increased strength and recruitment of the abdominal muscles will carry over into better posture and more body control, both in daily life and in sporting movements. Working the muscles you can’t see — the ones deep inside your core areas — can be a difficult process, but target those areas and your whole body benefits. Not only will you look better, but you’ll also have more strength and suffer fewer injuries.
Here’s a great beginner routine for anyone who doesn’t focus on their abs regularly or who hasn’t exercised this area (or any area) of the body in awhile. Perform this routine at the end of your regular workout or as a stand-alone workout, 3-4 days a week. Start with six repetitions per exercise and build up to 15 reps each (except the plank – you can perform one set and increase your holding time, up to one minute). Complete the routine as a circuit, doing one set of each movement in succession and without resting. If that feels easy, try to perform the circuit a second time after a 90-second rest.
|1.||Single-Leg Abdominal Press: Lying on your back on a floor mat or a padded bench, touch your right palm to the right knee. Raise your right leg off the floor so your knee and hip are bent at 90-degree angles. Rest the right hand on top of your right knee. Push your hand forward while using your abdominal muscles to pull your knee toward your hand. Hold for three deep breaths and return to the start position.|
|Repeat this exercise using your left hand and left knee. Keep your arm straight and avoid bending more than 90 degrees at your hip.|
|2.||Opposite Hand on Opposite Knee: Push your right hand against your left knee while pulling your knee toward your hand. You’ll be pushing and pulling across the center of your body. Repeat this exercise using your other hand and leg. Hold for three deep breaths and return to the start position.|
|3.||Hand on Outside of Knee: Raise your left leg off the floor so your knee and hip are bent at 90-degree angles. Place your left hand along the outside of your left knee. Use your hand to push your leg inward. At the same time, create resistance by pushing your knee away from the center. Keep the back flat. Repeat using your other hand and leg.|
|4.||Opposite Hands on Opposite Knees: Place each hand on the opposite knee, toward the inside of each knee. Your arms will cross over each other. Push your hands against your knees and create resistance by pulling your knees in toward your hands. Hold and repeat.|
|5.||Hands on Outside of Knees (right hand/right knee): Use your hands to push your legs in toward the center of your body. At the same time, create resistance by pushing your knees out. Hold and repeat.|
|6.||Plank: Lie on your stomach. Raise yourself up so you’re resting on your forearms and your knees. Keep your head and back in line and imagine your back as a tabletop. Align your shoulders directly above your elbows. Squeeze your core muscles. Create resistance by pressing your elbows and your knees toward one another. Neither should move from their positions on the floor. Hold for three deep breaths, then return to the start position and repeat.|
Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program if you have an existing health condition that limits movement, or if you haven’t really exercised before (or if it’s been a long time). You want to make sure you’re doing these exercises correctly, so ask your doctor to explain the precise movement if you’re not absolutely sure. Then get started on your perfect abs one repetition at a time!More
This is Part 1 in a series of posture articles I am writing for Dynamic Chiropractic this year. Enjoy!More
The core is the center of the body, where all movement begins. When you lift a heavy grocery bag, reach for a suitcase, pick up one of your children, move a bookcase or throw a ball, the core muscles should activate even before your limbs are in motion. Healthy core muscles will provide your body with the structural integrity and support to your spine for everything from walking and running to lifting to standing to sitting.
During most activities, do you feel that the way you are using your body is efficient and coordinated or inefficient and uncoordinated? The core should work in an efficient and coordinated fashion to maintain correct alignment of the spine and pelvis while the limbs are moving. As you move your arms and legs, the core muscles create a solid base of support to hold the spine still. If you feel uncoordinated and have a weak core, you are susceptible to lower back pain, poor posture and a whole host of muscle injuries. Strong core muscles act as a “brace” or support to help prevent pain and injury. Strong core muscles increase the recruitment efficiency of the smaller, deeper “stabilizing” muscles around the abdominals, low back, hips and pelvis. They protect your back from potential injury. Strengthening weak core muscles can reduce existing back pain problems. Core training will help runners avoid hamstring and knee injuries; gymnasts, soccer, football and rugby players avoid groin injuries; dancers, golfers and weight-lifters avoid back injuries; and help you become stronger, fitter and healthier.More
Ankle sprains can easily get reinjured – which is especially common during the first year – and this can result in chronic pain or disability. My article offers a home–based proprioceptive training program shown to significantly reduce the risk of recurrent ankle sprain.
California Chiropractic Journal article and photos:
Here are the suggestions I hear myself telling clients about weight loss advice everyday.
Don’t worry about fat, carbs are the culprit. Limit carbs to 100-150 grams per day. Get your Protein intake up to 100 grams a day for women and 120 grams for men. This number varies but I can be more exact if I can perform a Body Fat Analysis on you.
I generally see better results with a low-carbohydrate plan. You still have to eat fewer calories than you burn if you want to lose weight. So the truth is, the perfect weight-loss diet is the one you can live with, whether you cut fat, carbs, or some combination.
Just don’t cut protein. Protein-rich foods make you feel fuller. Snacks between meals are advised and should include protein. The most important meal is breakfast. In my opinion, the best food for breakfast is a whey (rice protein or soy protein is my second choice) protein shake. A daily breakfast shake made with two scoops of UltraMeal whey protein powder, a little fruit (fresh or frozen berries or a banana), and water or crushed ice will help you lose fat (not muscle). You can buy UltraMeal whey protein powder at my Metagenics link. Some clients have two or three shakes a day instead of lousy fast food meals.
Animal proteins are fine. I encourage eggs. I am an ex-vegetarian and have been on both sides of the camp. Protein from animals increases thermogenesis more than vegetable proteins, so the best calorie-burning foods are lean meats. So eat some protein at each meal—build your dinner around lean chicken, beef, or pork. That way, you’re burning the most calories through digestion at the end of the day, when your metabolism is slower.
Not only is it Ok to eat lots of meat, but dairy products as well.
Restrict fructose-sweetened beverages and breads. Breads are just not going to work. A few are OK but you’ll have to email me separately for those name brands.
Restrict potato chips and french fries.
Include a lot of vege’s. Vege’s are fiber’s and when you have fiber in your stomach, food takes longer to enter the bloodstream, and your blood-sugar level stays steady. The benefits: You’ll have a more consistent energy supply and less between-meal hunger. Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussel Sprouts, tomato, and salads are great examples. Eat lots of these with eat main meals and as a snack.
Use Olive oil (which contains a cancer-fighting fat called beta-sitosterol) for dressings. I love to cook with coconut oil.
You’ll need to take omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, which are found in fish, nuts, seeds, flaxseed and fish oils. (supplement with EPA-DHA 720, available at my Metagenics link).
Omega-3 fats reduce inflammation throughout your body. That not only prevents heart attacks (inflammation in the tissues surrounding blood vessels is a major cause) but also helps your muscles recover faster from workouts I’ll be teaching you. If you don’t eat fish twice a week and can’t stomach fish-oil supplements, try eggs high in omega-3s, which are found in the dairy case, next to the regular eggs. You can eat 3-4 of them a day without any negative effect on your cholesterol levels.
You must keep a food diary. The more honest you are, and the more detailed it is, the better. You can’t wing it and expect to see results.
The best plan is likely to include these elements:
• Meals and snacks are based on some lean protein source—fish, eggs, dairy, meat.
• More meals are better than fewer. Five or six meals and snacks a day is ideal.
• Low-fat and high-fat diets can both work, but one that cuts almost all fat is doomed.
• Eat— no more than 2 per day of fruits, eat lots of vegetables, and a minimal amount of whole grains, nuts and seeds. Avoid potatoes (except Yukon gold & yams), pasta, rice, popcorn, and white bread.More
An acute injury should always be iced, never heated, whether it?s a muscle strain, a twisted ankle, or pain around a joint. The ice will constrict blood flow in surrounding blood vessels, which reduces swelling at the injury site. The cold will also help to dampen pain. Apply an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes, about four times daily. Always use ice after a physical activity rather than before.
Commercial ice packs work well, including disposable packs that rely on a chemical reaction for instant cooling, or cold gel packs that can be kept in the freezer and reused. But a homemade ice pack will do the job equally well. A bag of frozen peas works well.
After a few days of icing, applying moist heat to help with the healing process for as long as needed. It reduces stiffness that occurs around an injury site and increases blood flow to healing muscles and joints.
Avoid heat until three to five days after an injury. I prefer a moist heating pad. Heating pads can be left on an injury for 15 or 20 minutes at a time; don?t leave a heating pad on the site while sleeping. Heat can also be helpful for chronic injuries, particularly before an activity, to loosen muscles and increase mobility.