Importance of a Strong Core

Male Mucle 2The importance of a strong core symbolizes peak performance.  Incorporating alpha mind power in a strong core incorporate countless celebrity articles and tabloids, they have also become a yard stick for grounding meditation and sex appeal.  A longtime friend and confidant of mine recently turned 56 year old.  And by all means when I first met him 12 yrs. ago he was your typical attorney, married with children and stressed out about his life and job.

 

Dealing with his day to day and actively seeing the human race, (his active clients including myself) living in a distraught society that he dealt with on an ongoing daily basis.  I would have to say, constant exposure finally did him in.  However, he being of strong mind and will, combined with his relentless love for God and his children, his life took a complete change.  I recently received a picture of him standing shirtless with long blond hair, as if being a gifted musician wasn’t enough, he was sporting abs that would make a 30 year old jealous.

“A perfect example of exercises to relieve stress, toning workout routines for men combined with quiet mind yoga will always benefit heart health and a strong core.”

Buff abs and a strong core isn’t only about looking good without a shirt. Training the abs is often associated with vanity, but that perception is changing, thanks to the core fitness principles espoused by high-profile professional trainers.

On average, men have a lower life expectancy than women, lack of a strong core and some health problems affect men differently or exclusively. I advise all men to learn about a wide variety of men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and sexual health.

“Every movement should initiate from the stomach region.”

“If you curl your little finger, you should still feel your stomach.”

The abs, also known as the rectus abdominis, are bands of muscle connecting the pelvis with the rib cage. It’s these muscles that form a “six pack” when they’re well developed and not hidden under belly fat. A strong core is what gets the most press, but the abs don’t work alone. They function with a group of other so-called “core” muscles, including the obliques, which wrap around the sides of the torso, and muscles that move the spine and pelvis.


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Strong core muscles are important because they connect the upper and lower body; they’re essential for the coordinated movement of the whole body. Strong core muscles can make you more fit for all kinds of activity.  Following is a small yet precise list of some important ab creation and strengthening exercises for a strong core that are easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

Like any exercise, make it fun and enjoyable by changing the environment in which you act on these exercises.  For example, instead of doing these routines in a gym setting, try them at a park or down at the beach.  Even while mountain biking, you can get off your two wheels and let your abs rip in a flat area on top of a cliff overlooking the valley.  The importance is having fun!

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Strengthening Your Abs

Having relatively weak abs compared to your back muscles can make you more prone to muscle injuries and lower back pain. The back is normally somewhat stronger than the abs, but there shouldn’t be a drastic imbalance between them.

“It’s always a relationship between the front and back. You’ve got to train both sides of the body.”

More men than women with greater strength in the back muscles than in the abs are usually seen more so than the opposite. “Ninety percent of males, as opposed to 20% of females, have that issue.”  Toning workout routines for women are not the same for men.  As heart health for women is not the same for men either.

How to Get Flat Abs

Ab workouts alone don’t necessarily produce flat abs and a strong core. If you have a lot of belly fat, you also need to consume fewer calories than you burn. For weight loss and general fitness, aerobic exercise and strength training are important. However you must first train your mind to want it.

Choosing an exercise for a specific fitness goal is like picking a tool out of a toolbox. The right tool for the job isn’t always the most powerful or complicated.

“If you’re going to put up a picture in your house, you’re not going to use an air hammer to do it.”

I say strong core muscles don’t need “heavy loading” with weights. Effective training makes them stronger but not bulkier.

“Mass in the abdominal is based on the amount of muscle fibers that are there genetically,” The chiseled look accomplished with physical conditioning comes mainly from having scant abdominal fat covering the muscles.

“You can’t pump up your abs beyond a certain genetically predetermined size


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There are a many number of exercises that, along with a balanced fitness regimen and a healthy diet, could help you get strong, flat abs. No ab exercise is perfect. Many approaches work. There’s no one size fits all.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

 

Flat Abs Exercise: Traditional Crunch and Sit-up

The traditional crunch could be called the plain vanilla of ab exercises, but it works and is worth knowing how to do properly.

Most guys with gladiator-quality abs have put enough effort into physical training to know the difference between a crunch and a sit-up. If your DVD collection is conspicuously lacking in the fitness category and your gym membership lapsed long ago, you might need a little clarification.

The difference between a crunch and a sit-up is where you bend. To do a sit-up, you literally sit up from a prone position, bending at the waist until you touch your elbows to your knees. To do a crunch, you squeeze your abdominal muscles to bend your rib cage toward your pelvis, as if you are trying to sit up but can’t because an imaginary strap is holding down your abdomen and hips.

Here’s how:

Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your hands loosely behind your head and spread your elbows out so that your shoulder blades squeeze together. Keeping this posture, contract your abdominal muscles, lifting your upper body without arching your back. The lower back should stay flat to the ground. The hips and legs should not move. Stop at the point where you can’t go any farther, hold it, and then slowly relax, returning to your starting position.

Get it right, Go slowly, and focus on good form. Doing crunches too fast could make your form sloppy and strain your back muscles.  A set of 15-25 crunches or sit-ups is enough to build a strong core.

“I think the big mistake that people make is they try to do hundreds.”

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Flat Abs Exercise: Bicycle Maneuver

A study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) compared the effectiveness of various ab exercises to the traditional crunch. The bicycle maneuver stood out among the 13 exercises tested by researchers at the San Diego State University Biomechanics Lab. Researchers used electrodes to measure activity in the muscles of people exercising. Compared to the traditional crunch, the bicycle maneuver produced about two and a half times as much activity in the rectus abdominis, and nearly three times as much activity in the obliques.

Here’s how to do this exercise:

Lay flat on your back and place your hands loosely on the sides of your head. Raise your legs, bending the knees at a 45-degree angle, keeping your lower back flat to the ground. Then move your legs as if your feet were pushing the pedals of a cycle. As you “pedal,” touch your elbow to the opposite raised knee — right elbow to left knee, left elbow to right knee.

Get it right, don’t hold your breath. Breathe evenly throughout the exercise.

Flat Abs Exercise: Pilates

Pilates isn’t a single exercise. It’s a fitness system that involves many different exercises and routines for women and men that can be done on exercise mats or with a special machine. Many people practice Pilates with a certified instructor at a health club or private studio, but instructional books and videos are also available for doing it at home.

Flat Abs Exercise: The Plank

There are many variations of this exercise, which as the name suggests, involves a rigid, straight posture. A basic plank exercise is similar to a push-up. It’s an important ab exercise to start with because it helps people become aware of their strong core muscles. Holding your body rigid, you can feel how those muscles keep you from collapsing.

Here’s how:

Lay on your stomach with your arms bent, keeping your forearms flat on the floor, palms down. Your elbows should be in line with your shoulders and close to your sides. Bend your feet forward so your toes grip the floor. Stiffen your torso and legs. Slowly rise up your whole body, keeping your legs and torso in a straight line, without letting any part sag or arch up. Hold the position and then lower yourself back down.

Get it right, if you feel any lower back pain while doing this exercise, stop right away.

Flat Abs Exercise: Stability Ball Crunch

Crunch exercises can be more effective when done on a big inflatable ball called an exercise ball. The ACE-commissioned study of ab exercises showed that crunches done with the aid of an exercise ball generated 39% more activity in the rectus abdominis, and 47% more activity in the obliques than a traditional crunch done on a floor mat.

Here’s how:

Sit on an inflated exercise ball, feet flat on the floor. Roll down on the ball, so that the middle of your back rests at the top of the ball. Hold your thighs level with the floor, knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows pointing outward, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Contract your abdominal muscles, curling your chest toward your pelvis. Keep your lower back in contact with the ball and your feet firmly set on the floor. When you’ve taken the crunch as far as you can, hold it a moment, then slowly relax, returning to the starting position.

Get it right, use a properly sized ball for your height. A ball 26 inches in diameter is recommended for men 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet 2 inches tall.  A more fully inflated, harder ball makes for a more difficult workout. A properly inflated ball should give slightly under your weight.

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Flat Abs Exercise: Reverse Crunch

You can do the crunch in reverse by keeping your upper body flat on the ground while lifting your legs and lower torso, instead of the other way around and developing a strong core.

Here’s how:

Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Spread your arms out to the sides of your torso, palms down. Keep this posture while bringing your knees back and feet up so that your bent legs make a 90-degree angle. Keep your legs at that angle while you lift and roll your hips back toward your rib cage. Your upper body and head should stay flat on the ground, with your outstretched arms balancing the weight of your legs. Take it as far as it will go without moving your arms or upper body, hold the position briefly, then slowly let your legs down.

Get it right, don’t let your knees wobble out of line with your hips. More of the effort focuses on the abs than related muscle groups when the legs are centered thus achieving a strong core.


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Comments

  1. Flor says:

    abs: proper crunches, 3 sets every day, as many as you can. start moderately, don’t hurt yourself from the start. After you’ve done them for 1-2 weeks, you must do each set until exhaustion (failure to complete the last rep in a set).pecs: military push ups (chin up, back straight and touch your chest to the floor), 3 sets every day, as many as you can, start moderately, don’t hurt yourself from the start. After you’ve done them for 1-2 weeks, you must do each set until exhaustion (failure to complete the last rep in the set).