To get the most out of your abdominal workouts, there are very specific ways to achieve it. You might feel that you are incorporating abs successfully into your workout, however most often then not, you’re not working its full potential.
How do you know?
If you are isolating correctly through your abdominal muscles, you will feel them activating almost immediately. If your tummy is fatiguing within 100 crunches, it is likely you are using poor technique – not abs of steel!
How can you improve?
1. The slower the better
Rocking back and forth swinging your arms, legs or neck for momentum is going to entertain everyone else but it isn’t going to benefit you. Focus on feeling your muscles work and make your goal to fatigue them, not to get as many reps as possible.
2. Neutral spine is key
All of your exercises should start with about the gap of blueberry under your lower spine. This should move minimally during all exercises. For example, during sit ups, if you are squishing the blueberry and are completely flat through your lower back, you are using gravity to stabilise instead of the lower level core muscles. Unfortunately, this wastes half of your workout potential.
3. Do no harm
If you have recently started a gym program, well done! However, know your limits! Do not expect to join a group class and be able to jump straight in with everyone else. Core control is required for most activities including weight lifting, lowering legs while they are in the air or in explosive movements like burpees.
If you are feeling pain in your back during activities, it is not best to “push through the burn”. Stop and seriously evaluate your technique or reduce the difficulty of the exercise before causing any issues.