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Are You And Your Body Ready For Ab Training?

yoga bird pose

A lot of people tend to think that it’s ok to just jump right in with the more advanced exercises when they’re just starting a workout program as a beginner. This isn’t always the best idea because it can lead to injuries and extreme soreness in muscles that can be very discouraging. The best way to start any program is slowly. I know, you want fast results, but it just doesn’t happen that way, even if you are an advanced exerciser.

Results take time and with time, you get stronger and more capable of advancing to the next level.

First, You Have to Develop Core Strength

Many people may think that the core muscles are just the abs in front, you know, the ones you see in magazines, perfectly formed, ripped and firm. But the core goes a lot deeper than those mirror muscles.

Strengthening the core from deep within is extremely important, especially for a beginner. That’s because if you have a weakened core, you will have much instability and this opens doors for injury.

What exactly is the “core”? This is a term that describes pretty much every muscle in your body that doesn’t include the arms and legs.

So when referencing the core, you can include the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae and other muscles of the back, and the diaphragm.A few minor core muscles include the lats, the glutes, and the traps.

Developing strength in all of these muscles takes a little more than just a few sets of crunches with every workout. You have to do fitness level appropriate exercises to reach and develop those deep core muscles. So you’re working from the inside out.

Building a Foundation

Working your abdominal muscles from the inside out is the way to go, even for the more advanced. That’s because the development of core strength is going to be the key to a healthy, balanced, and strong body that can achieve many things.

As you get into your new regular ab training routine, be sure you are paying close attention to your body. If you feel pain or discomfort more than 2 days after you’ve started your ab training, it would be best to get direction from a healthcare professional.

Start With These Exercises

The Stomach Vacuum

 

This is probably one of the least known exercise with some of the best core strengthening benefits out there. Even body builders use this exercise because it’s so effective.

This exercise will reach your internal and external obliques, transverse abdominis, and the rectus abdominis.

  • Place your hands and knees on the floor and curve your back upward.
  • Exhale every bit of air from your lungs and squeeze your diaphragm.
  • Suck your belly in as much as possible and try to expand your lungs as if you were taking a breath, but do not let any air in at this time.
  • Squeeze your stomach inward towards the spine and hold this position for about 10 seconds.
  • Release, take a few deep breaths, and repeat this process a few more times.

The Bird Dog

 

This is a great exercise to strengthen the lower back and improve the balance tremendously. It also engages the abdominal muscles at the same time.

Though it may look simple, it does take some practice and will definitely challenge your stability.

  • Start on your hands and knees, making sure that your hands are placed directly under the shoulders. Keep the neck and back straight, and eyes on the floor.
  • Raise the right arm until it is level with your torso.
  • At the same time, straighten out the left leg and bring the heel up towards the ceiling until the leg is also level with the torso and the glutes are engaged on that side.
  • Hold this position for up to one minute while breathing normally and keep the abs tight and pulled in. Then release and repeat on the opposite side.

Lying Leg Drop

 

This beginner version of lying leg lifts, is an excellent way to dig deep into the lower abs, strengthen the hip flexors and even engage the transverse abdominis and obliques.

It will also strengthen the lower abs without adding too much strain like the advance version does.

  • Lie on your back, place your palms down by your side, and be sure the legs are extended straight out. This is your starting position.
  • Bend at the knees and bring them in towards your chest.
  • When the knees have reached this point, extend the legs upward to where the bottoms of your feet are level with the ceiling. (note: if you cannot extend your legs all the way straight at this point due to tight hamstrings, that’s ok, do what you can).
  • Keep your low back pressed firmly on the floor and slowly lower your legs until you feel your abs completely engage. Hold for about 10 seconds, rest, and repeat.

Note: if you feel too much of a strain on the lower back during this exercise, you can place your hands just under the hips for more support.

Put all these exercises together and start with 2-3 sets X 10-12 reps of each of them. Practice for at least 3 non-consecutive days per week for a period of 4-6 weeks before moving on to more advanced exercises.

Please Note: Before following exercise routines or changing your fitness regime, please consult a certified fitness professional. Always talk with a medical practitioner before following dietary advice or taking supplements.

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