Hello lovely people!
Summer is just around the corner and I can’t wait to hit the beach… Does this thought induce an anxiety attack for you? Dreaming of six-pack abs or a sexy flat stomach? Now it’s crunch time. But forget doing crunches to flatten your stomach and lose the extra fat. You are wasting precious workout time. According to researchers at the University of Virginia, you have to do 250,000 crunches to burn one pound of fat. So that’s 100 crunches a day for 7 years. Hmmm, no thanks.
Instead, train your entire core for sexy ab results. So what is your ‘core’ anyway? The definition includes almost all muscles of the torso. The smaller deep muscles (transverse abdominus and multifidius) the larger muscles that maintain spinal control and pelvic balance (rectus abdominus, quadratus lumborum), internal and external obliques, erector spinae, the latissimus dorsi and iliopsoas muscles. In other words, abs, obliques and lower back. The core is your powerhouse for movement! Train your core to improve performance in it’s main roles: it stabilizes, moves, resists movement and lends support all at once. While these moves listed below may not seem to directly target your abs like traditional crunch exercises, we are training your core in the environments where they do the most work (i.e. lifting and twisting motions while standing), which ultimately leads to sexy results!
1. Plank/Side Plank – I think I’m obsessed with this exercise. You should be too! When it become easy to hold for 1 minute, make it unstable (i.e. one leg off ground) to challenge yourself and progress.
2. Core Rotations – My other favorite move. Improve your rotational ability and train your obliques. Progress by adding resistance using a cable, elastic or dumbell.
3. Glute Bridge – Great activation exercise for your glutes. This move is simple yet super effective and can be progressed to make it challenging.
4. Overhead Squat – Definitely not your traditional core exercise. Practice your technique, keep your weight over the arches of your feet and your arms straight overhead. If you’re doing it right you should feel tension in your abs.
5. Kettlebell Swing – Another awesome functional move. The rotation and swinging movement recruits all the large muscle groups to control the swing. But where is the control center? You guessed it, the core.
There are many more core building exercises you can try, and I’m not saying there is no place for crunches in an overall workout routine. But these multi-joint, functional moves I’ve listed will serve you best when trying to maximize your time in the gym. As always if you have any injury concerns, check with your trusted health care professional before you start.
Progression is the secret ingredient! Challenge yourself, improve and keep it spicy. Your core will thank you.