Monthly Archives: March 2016

4 Essential Moves to Strengthen Your Back and Core

4 Essential Moves to Strengthen Your Back and Core

Boost the strength in your back and core and build your best body!
The core and back are two parts of the body that are difficult to train. It’s not uncommon for back and core exercises to create pain and injury.

The core or trunk of your body consists of four abdominal muscles, the chest muscles, back, traps and the lower back muscles. Together, these muscles are responsible for keeping your body upright all day long and in a good posture. While this may not sound like a lot of work, these muscles need to stay in tip-top shape in order to maintain an upright posture. Let’s take a further look at the back and core in more detail.

When you think of the core muscles, you probably immediately think of the abs, and who can blame you? The abdominal muscles are the primary reason why many people flock to weight loss gimmicks and popular pieces of equipment that are intended to help you lose size around the waist.

While the gimmicks may work for a little time, there is no substitute for working the core in the correct way to strengthen and tone the core area. Here are four of the best exercises that you should be doing to strengthen and tone your core and back muscles.

The Top 4 Exercises for the Core and Back

1. Bridges. They are difficult, yet highly effective. Bridges are one of the best moves to work the abs, lower back, upper glutes and the upper back area. Holding bridges for about 30 seconds over two or three sets can be a great way to strengthen the core and back areas. To really kick it up a notch, you can even hold out a straightened leg to gain more benefit in the thighs and lower abs area. If you really want to push your limits, hold a 45-pound weight plate on your lap as your thrusting upwards.

2. Cat Curls. These are great for working the back and core. Cat curls (also known as cat and cow) help to mobilize the spine in ways that it does not normally receive stimulation during the course of an average day. Start off with about five each of the cat curls and hold each for about 5-10 seconds.

3. Push-Ups. This exercise is one of the best of all-time. If you grew up on this planet, you already have a baseline of knowledge on how to do one. Push-ups work your arms and shoulders, but are also ideal for working the back and core. When you lower into a push-up, your trapezius muscles need to work hard to stabilize the body. In addition, throughout the exercise, your body is tight and parallel to the floor. This will work your lower back, abs and chest. Before everyone discovered that planking was great for the core, smart trainers were telling people to keep their middles tight through their push-ups. Start out by doing sets of as many push-ups as you can. The average person should do two sets. If you are more experienced, you will want to do three sets.

4. Holding A Plank. The plank is one of the most used core exercises among personal trainers. The key to this exercise is not finding a “comfortable” spot and seeing how long you can hold it for. Instead, challenge yourself. Tighten up your abs, keep a straight and lengthened spine and really do your best to work while your in that position. You goal is to see how much fatigue you can create on your midsection.

Working your core and back muscles are important for your look, health and for preventing future injury. Focusing on this sort of muscle development at least two times per week is a great start for anyone who is brand new to working these areas. Take your time when you progress your core and back exercises and if you are looking for more of a challenge with these, do it slow and add in more reps, sets or time. However, be mindful that adding heavy weight will increase your risk of injury.

The Best and Worst Ways to Work Your Abs

The Best and Worst Ways to Work Your Abs

3 Abs Training Techniques You Need To Ditch And What To Replace Them With

Everyone wants that amazing six-pack to dazzle on the beach, in the pool, or just to feel great. To get that chiseled core, you’ve got to hit your abs with the best moves for optimal gains.

There are a lot of moves that work your core, but you have to be careful which ones you chose because some can cause more harm than good! Listed below are three abdominal exercises that you should consider changing up to improve your abs, look great and stay injury-free.

Stop Using Machines & Start Using Your Body

There are two specific problems with using a machine to work your abs.
First, machines are designed for the average person, meaning it may not be ideal for your body size if you are shorter or taller than the standard.

Second, when you use a machine to work your abs, you are likely to add as much weight as you can to get stronger. Your abdominal muscles don’t need heavy weights to get strengthened, so this means you only place your body at risk when you do this.

Rather than using a machine, consider working your abs on a Swiss or Bosu ball or even on a mat. Bodyweight exercises are ideal for your body and it will encourage you to keep good form.

Stop Focusing on Target Training & Start a Total Body Solution

Target training does not work. Sure, if you want to build your abs, you definitely need to train your core, but if you think that just training that particular muscle group will yield results, you’re dead wrong!

Your abs won’t show if you’re not less than 10 percent body fat (and some people won’t show even if they’re under 6 percent body fat). The key here is total body fitness in conjunction with target exercises.

Rather than spending hours doing abs work, make sure your cardio is on point and brace your abs in larger, total body lifts like squats, deadlifts and bench presses. Doing so will ensure you’ll see your abs and a much healthier reflection in the mirror.

Stop Doing Endless Sit-Ups; Start Doing Crunches

Sit-ups are a longtime favorite for many people and they can be effective. However, sit-ups have been known to cause lower back pain through excessive flexion in the spinal area.

In addition, sit-ups are inefficient for the abdominal area because once your spine reaches about 30 degrees, your hip flexors take over to complete the exercise.

Rather than spending your time on full sit-ups, consider performing crunches. Your crunches should only cause a 30-degree bend in your spine, which is sufficient to lift your shoulder blades off the floor. As long as your abdominal muscles tighten, you’ll find yourself benefiting from these.

With these simple swaps in your approach to training your abs, you’re sure to see results. Just remember that you can train your abs daily because they won’t suffer from any overtraining symptoms or hazards. But don’t just train abs.

Perform total body lifts, compound moves and make sure not to skip your cardio. If you do this and combine it with the proper nutrition and a health supplement plan like the offerings on this site, you’re sure to see the results you want!