Ok, here's the deal. My computer contracted some kind of virus/spyware thing, and I unfortunatly have to reformat the entire thing. It's no big deal actually, but it's just kind of a pain in the butt. I have to save all my music, school work, chiro stuff, and pictures. Funny thing though, my entire life fits on about 30 gigs of space... I guess I'm easy going :)
So today marks (trumpet sounding... da da-da-da da), the Ab Show. Yes, you read it right, six pack, washboard, whatever you want to call them... abdominals. I wonder where all this infaturation with the stomach started... I feel like people would respect the President more if he had a nice stomach or something. From a professional standpoint, the "core" as we call it is very important, because it links the upper and lower body together. It's kind of like a bridge, so a weak bridge makes for an overall weaker whole. Think about picking a box up... it requires using your legs, glutes, low back, arms, just about everything. As a chiropractor (2 more months) I've seen people having "pulls" in their back because of a weak midsection. We need to have a strong, almost "corset" like section, so we can effectively move and generate power.
Plus ripped abs look nice, right? I think girls like them...
So this post is going to show you what I've done, and what I think works for most people. How am I so sure? Well, I've kind of been there, guys and gals... and it's not as hard as you think. With the proper diet... (soooooo important) you can do it too :)
So here's some basic ab exercises... once again courtesy of Bodybuilding.com
Crunches Hands Overhead - upper abs
Exercise Ball Crunch - upper abs
Leg Pull In - lower abs
Hanging Leg Raise - lower abs
Side Bridge - obliques
These are pretty much all that you need to do. Now I'm going to stress something that is very important, but still common sense. Whenever you do these exercises, please pull with your abs! I know that sounds funny, but sometimes people do these movements without contracting their core. For instance, it is very possible to do a standard crunch... by bringing your chin to your chest with your arms. The problem here is that your abs aren't being used. Now, if you lay on the floor, tighten up your stomach, and pull your ribcage towards your legs with the movement, you're going to feel it much better.
The same goes with the leg lifts. We (as a nation/culture) have very tight and short hip flexors. This is due to the fact that we sit all the time, so they shorten. So, if you do a leg lift or raise without focusing on your abs, the hip flexors (which are stronger) are going to take over in the movement. Try and visualize what you are doing, and see if that helps keep the muscle contracted.
I hope all this information helps. I would have someone train abs about 2x a week, with about 6 sets for an upper and lower abominal exercise. Repetition ranges can be anywhere from 10-30 reps. Abs may take a longer time to 'tire out' so some people need higher repetitions to reach that level. Always make sure that you breathe out on the contraction, and that you use plenty of control. The second you feel your form get sloppy, it's time to take a short break.
Always train abdominals and core exercises after your other bodypart workouts, or on an "off" day. The reason for this is because you don't want a tired out core, and then go into other lifting. For example, if you are doing a squat or lunge (which are good for the glutes, Dee), you are using your abs to stabilize your body. If those muscles are fatigued before you attempt the leg workout, there's a possiblity you'll have a much harder time doing the exercise, and may even set yourself up for injury. Just something to think about...
One quick last thing. I know this is going to kill a few hopes and dreams, and I'm very, very sorry to say this but... Abdominal work will not help you develop abdominal muscles, if they are covered up with fat. I know. I know. I'm sorry. This idea is called 'spot reduction' and in my opinion, it is a myth. You do a lot of walking right? Do you still have fat on your legs? Bodyfat is bodyfat, and your body stores it where ever it wants to. So if you want to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club or Arnold, or that dude Jesse from Big Brother, it's all about diet and lower bodyfat.
However, strong abs are still very, very important... and remember, the more muscle you have, the easier time you will have burning bodyfat :)
Ok, I have to cut this short because I'm still computerless :) Let me know if you have any other questions about abdominal work, exercises in general, or if you just want to remind me that I'm awesome :) Thanks so much for all the positive feedback, and I'm glad you all liked the apple post too :) Next week I'll get into workout nutrition, and maybe a few tricks or two. Happy weekend, ladies and germs.