Friday, April 12, 2013

Building Stability for Your Abs Before Building Strength

Summer is right around the corner and here on Long Island its getting pretty hot outside, so sure
Are Your ABS Ready
For Summer 2013?
enough for the past week here at Xsport it has been swamped with people all trying to get their beach bodies ready. Out of all the machines being used the most popular ones that everyone uses are the ab machines. I see so many people, young, old, overweight, and skinny all what looks to be like crunching away for their lives on these machines trying to get their abs to come through. What many people don’t realize is that there is no such thing as spot fat reduction, meaning that the body can’t just burn fat off in one area, it burns fat throughout the entire body. So keep crunching away all you want, there is always going to be slab of fat covering your abs that crunches and ab machines alone won’t fix!

Another thing that people totally skip over is the stability aspect of exercise. Sure ab machines work your abs, but it doesn't mean you have core stability. For example 9 times out of 10 when I ask someone who’s using an ab machine if they can do a 60 second plank they can’t, most barely even make 30 seconds. Planks and other isometric exercises, like an isometric leg raise are great for the abs and core because they build stability. Why the heck is stability so damn important you ask? Think of it this way, would you build your dream home on a crappy, soggy, foundation with no stability? No, so then why are you trying to build your abs on crap foundation! I like to go by the rule that if you can do 3 sets of 60 second planks, and 3 sets of 60 second isometric leg raises with 45 seconds of rest between each set, then you have enough core stability to use or do whatever other ab machines and exercises you want!

Stability doesn't just apply to planks and leg raises though, there are also a lot of people out there I see who do super heavy lat pull-downs with horrible form and yet they can’t even do 2 consecutive pull-ups. Same goes for people bench-pressing or using chest press machines and yet they can’t do 10 consecutive push-ups  The problem is they need to build more core stability; just because you can’t do a regular push-up or pull-up doesn't mean the exercise is out the question, all you have to do is regress it. Try push ups from the knees, push-ups on an incline; and for pull-ups you can use a TRX and do rows allowing yourself to get lower and lower towards the ground where you’ll be pulling more of your weight just like a pull-up! You should always have your calisthenics down before you move onto heavy resistance training.

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