All Posts tagged core

Ab Exercises

Patients often ask me “I want better abs”, “I want to get a six-pack.”

The key to abdominal definition is the visibility of the abdominal musculature, not the strength of the muscles. I always say “You can’t exercise your way out of a poor diet”. Make better food choices, eat cleaner because the idea of working your abs to get abs is one of the oldest misconceptions in training. Exercise “Spot reduction” techniques for the abs just doesn’t work.

You can’t decrease the fat layer on a particular area by
exercising or working out that area. If you want good looking abs, do
a total body work out and be intense about it…in other words, burn fat!

So if you want better abdominal definition finish every workout with some hard interval training instead of extra sit-ups or crunches.
You burn more calories doing interval training – it burns more calories than steady state aerobic training. Doing a sprint program gets you a sprinters body.

Most of my first choice ab work is really core work. Core work like isometric exercises – front planks, side planks and kettlebell suitcase carries.

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Core Training On Stability Balls Part 2

Most people will  benefit from  both free weight and instability training (on unstable surfaces) to promote spinal stability. It’s important to remember to decrease resistance loads on exercises performed on unstable surfaces.

During rehabilitation, unstable surfaces can be effective at improving muscle reaction time and co-contractions that protect joints. In addition, resistance training on unstable may provide localized muscle endurance training, beneficial for the high proportion of Type I “aerobic, slow-twitch” muscle fibers found in core muscles. Core endurance training exercises generally can be performed at higher repetitions (greater than 15 per set), while athletes requiring more strength and power perform less than 6 repetitions per set.  Unstable surface training can provide musculoskeletal health benefits such as decreased injury risk and increased spinal stabilization as opposed to using free weights alone.

In summary, unstable exercise devices such as Thera-Band Exercise Balls and Stability Trainers should be included as part of a well-rounded conditioning program for athletes and non-athletes, but not for increasing primary strength and power. In addition, resistance exercises performed on an unstable surface should be performed at a reduced intensity level because of the reduction in force output.

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Core Training On Stability Balls Part 1

 Are you seeing more people train on balls while working out in the gym? Training with unstable surfaces such as Thera-Band® exercise balls, stability trainers, and balance boards do promote activation of core muscles. The “core” can be defined as the axial skeletal and its muscular and fascial attachments, including the pelvic and shoulder girdle.

Canadian researchers David Behm PhD and colleagues published a comprehensive review on the use of instability to train the core. Research has shown that exercises performed on unstable surfaces produce higher levels of muscle activation in both the core and extremity muscles compared to stable surfaces. However, force and power outputs are decreased while exercising on unstable surfaces, sometimes up to 70%. Interestingly, increasing levels of core muscle activation can also be achieved with free weight exercises such as squats and Olympic lifts without added instability.

In their article, the authors made several recommendations for both athletes and non-athletic conditioning based on their review of the literature. Dr. Behm et al. noted that athletes should emphasize “higher-intensity ground-based lifts” (such as Olympic lifts, squats and deadlifts) while including resistance exercises with unstable devices, as well as unilateral exercises that provide “transverse stress to the core musculature.” Furthermore, they stated that “unstable exercises should not be used when hypertrophy, absolute strength, or power is the primary training goal.”

Similar recommendations were made for the general population, noting the benefits of both free weight and instability training on promoting spinal stability. It’s important to remember to decrease resistance loads on exercises performed on unstable surfaces.

During rehabilitation, unstable surfaces can be effective at improving muscle reaction time and co-contractions that protect joints. In addition, resistance training on unstable may provide localized muscle endurance training, beneficial for the high proportion of Type I “aerobic, slow-twitch” muscle fibers found in core muscles. Dr. Behm and colleagues recommend core endurance training exercises generally be performed at higher repetitions (greater than 15 per set), while athletes requiring more strength and power perform less than 6 repetitions per set. The authors further noted that unstable surfaces can provide musculoskeletal health benefits such as decreased injury risk and increased spinal stabilization as opposed to using free weights.

In summary, unstable exercise devices such as Thera-Band Exercise Balls and Stability Trainers should be included as part of a well-rounded conditioning program for athletes and non-athletes, but not for increasing primary strength and power. In addition, resistance exercises performed on an unstable surface should be performed at a reduced intensity level because of the reduction in force output.

REFERENCES:
Behm DG, et al. The use of instability to train the core musculature. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2010 Feb;35(1):91-108.

Behm DG, et al. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology position stand: The use of instability to train the core in athletic and nonathletic conditioning. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2010 Feb;35(1):109-12.

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Core Training: why 10 minutes a day can save you weeks of pain

Many patients come to see me feeling pain but without having a specific trauma or injury that they recall. This type of pain can be attributed to one thing: a lack of basic core muscle strength. Many people begrudge any time spent working out or they just don’t know what to do even if they did make the time. Yet about 10 minutes spent performing movement therapy or corrective exercise 5-6 times per week can be enough to help you prevent an injury and avoid low back pain. 

So in healing injuries – I suggest all of my clients integrate into their daily routine a minimum of 10 minutes of foam rolling tight muscles (self myofascial release),  stretching, and some floor exercises – these are the kind of exercises that you can do without equipment at home, on your own.

The key is being consistent and exercising daily – and progressively making the exercises harder. In my article on core training I give you full details how to get started.

http://www.toyourhealth.com/mpacms/tyh/article.php?id=1251&pagenumber=1

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Do I Perform Core Training?

Absolutely, positively. yes! A weak core makes you susceptible to lower back pain, poor posture and a whole host of muscle injuries. Strong core muscles provide the brace of support needed to help prevent such pain and injury.

Andrew van Rensberg states:

“By strengthening the core trunk muscles, we are, in effect, improving the efficiency with which sporting movements are carried out. Up to a 10% increase in efficiency has been noted in top swimmers. A 10% improvement in an elite athlete is a massive achievement – one that could take years of strength training and technique modification to achieve.

And all this can be achieved by a process as simple as allowing the correct muscles to carry out the correct tasks, without compensation.”

 I teach core training as part of my rehab protocols.

The benefits of core training include •Better posture More control Improved, more powerful performance Injury prevention and rehabilitation Increased protection and “bracing” for your back A more stable center of gravity A more stable platform for sports movements

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