The Flaw in Your Abs Workouts and How to Fix It

12 Min Read

While it’s true that a flat stomach may be achieved by diet alone, it only explains part of the reason why so many individuals spend hours at the gym without seeing results.

Focusing on a particular muscle group (more planks and crunches, anyone?) won’t necessarily produce the desired results. Your biggest obstacle is not your genes but the activities you choose and how you engage your muscles during workouts.

With working your core, you can usually “feel” if you’re performing the exercise correctly, unlike with working for other muscle groups. That might lead you to believe that your actions are fruitful.

You need to know that how you execute the workouts you pick makes a huge difference in the outcomes you experience, regardless of how many calories you burn.

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Take them as your guide to efficient ab exercises. If you stick to them, you won’t have to worry about getting hurt (as you may with lower back exercises), and you’ll see better results from your workouts.

Rule Number One: Make Your Abs Tense

Most individuals only think of using their rectus abdominus, the muscle that creates their signature “six-pack,” when they imagine bracing their abs. While this is ideal before taking a blow to the abdomen, it often results in spinal flexion (rounding the back) and the reduction of other spinal supporting muscles.

You must use all of your muscles, not just those you see in the mirror, to build a solid core.

You need more than a six-pack to protect your spine if you’re standing up with a lot of weight during a deadlift.

Constructing Core Strength

Try this: while sitting up straight, place your hands flat on your lower back, one on either side of your spine.

Try flexing your abs and seeing how it feels.

If you felt back flexion, you probably weren’t activating the muscles and ligaments surrounding your spine. Next time you flex, see if you can include all the muscles around your waist. What you want to do is this:

  1. Sensitize the inward pull of your ribcage.
  2. Tilt your head back and shrug your shoulders.
  3. Feel the muscles in your lower back contract as you grip the contraction with both hands.

The goal of your workouts should be to get this sensation. The challenging phase is upon us now. Don’t let your breath out of that knot. (Also called “bracing”.)

It’s problematic since bracing excessively hard will limit your ability to breathe, yet you won’t be able to work out as well without air. Unless you want to become the next Internet sensation, passing out at the gym is something you may want to avoid doing.

Tips for Easier Bracing

The Farmer’s Walk trains you to hold your breath and brace your body. Please pick up a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells, stand tall with a firm hold on the handles, and walk as far as you can while carrying them. That’s all there is to it; remember to put in some time practising the bracing and breathing techniques.

Rule No. 2 of Core Training: Engage Your Glutes

When doing core workouts, flexing your glutes can help you feel a fire in your abs like never before. It may seem counterproductive to work for an opposing muscle group, but your glutes serve important purposes that directly affect your abdominals’ performance.

When you contract your glutes, you experience hip extension and a “posterior tilt” of the pelvis. You might see this action as an effort to shift your hips closer to your knees, bringing your tailbone in that direction. Strong abdominal engagement is required for this back bend.

The Glut-Activation Method

See what happens to your abs if you do a plank while squeezing your glutes as hard as possible. Squeezing your armpits by forcing your forearms into the floor adds even more tension and absurd misery (and benefits).

Rule No. 3: Make Changes Ability to Move

Even though holding a stretch for a minute or longer may feel amazing, it is unlikely to improve your range of motion. The solution is your abs, so consider this before you ask, “Who cares about your mobility,” consider this.

Increased mobility improves stability. Increased muscular activity is the result of more excellent stability. Better abs, more strength, and fewer injuries all stem from increased muscular activation.

Short bursts of maximum stress while performing core stability exercises are one highly effective way. Planks, side planks, and the half-kneeling hold are all examples of core stability exercises.

Here is a working example of the procedure.

Use this idea as a warm-up before a workout or between more taxing sets of typical weight training routines. Here’s an illustration of this in action:

Rehearsal Rendition

The following should be held for 10 seconds for 3 “reps.”

  1. The Typical Plank
  2. Three reps on the side plank.
  3. Each side holds you in a half kneel while pushing you to the side with an elastic.
  4. Maximal contractions in the glute bridge

To be repeated twice.

Intermission Version

  1. Workout Move A (whatever you’re currently doing)
  2. Three sets of 10 seconds in the front plank

Do a superset of these exercises, and then take a break.

  1. The B Workout
  2. Plank rotations, eight repetitions per side

Do a superset of these exercises, and then take a break.

Workout C

The superset of 8 reps of the glute bridge leg swings followed by 2 minutes of rest.

Tip #4: Increase the Velocity of Your Core Movements

To use speed effectively, you don’t have to be the fastest person to complete a full set of activities. It takes time to perform one rep while keeping muscular tension around this long.

If you want to improve your speed, you should run as fast as you can and rest long enough to go as fast, if not faster the next time. Imagine this as a scale of intensity, where you’re aiming for maximal effort on every set and rep.

Compare the seated military press (often a slower pace exercise) with the jerk press performed by an Olympic weightlifter. While both exercises engage the upper body similarly, the jerk press is performed at a much higher velocity and necessitates a higher level of timing and skill.

Gaining Extra Velocity

Do some simple exercises like a bird dog would. You may attempt a “neuro pulse,” in which you move your arms and legs as quickly as possible and then try to go back to where you started without collapsing.

You may mimic this motion by stomping if you want to boost your driving velocity via your hips, knees, and ankles.

Squatting, deadlifting, Olympic lifting, and running would all benefit greatly from such a regimen.

Basic Advice #5: Learn to Control Your Breathing

Maximum weight squats, sprints, sparring sessions, and yoga classes call for diverse breathing patterns. Learning to adapt your breathing to different situations will not only help you perform better, but it will also have an unexpectedly positive effect on your abdominal muscles.

Depending on the task at hand, the following considerations may be helpful.

Tips for Maximal Lifting Breathing

It is recommended that, before beginning a set, you take a deep breath in and hold it for a few seconds to increase your oxygen intake, allowing you to lift a heavier weight. To avoid losing control of the weight, you should pinch your breath as tightly as possible to improve spinal stability and core pressure.

Sprinting Proper Breathing Techniques

If you’re more of a sprinter, you may gain an extra boost of stability and core activity by breathing in a pulsed way the moment your foot strikes the ground.

This is preferable to holding your breath or breathing very slowly. Timing your exhales to your blows, as you would when sparring, would allow you to create greater force and continue longer.

Guide to Yoga Breathing

Longer and deeper inhalations and exhalations are preferable for movement or exercises like yoga. It could be more intuitive, so let’s dissect it.

Sit straight, place your hands on your tummy, and attempt to fill your lungs with a deep, slow breath. If you’re doing this right, you should feel your stomach pressing out into your hands.

Feel your abdominal muscles relax as you let your breath out gently. They’re pretty yielding and pliable.

Take a deep breath in, then attempt to compress your abs like a balloon without releasing the air from your lungs. You will feel like you can’t move an inch, and your abs are rigid. The next step is to exhale forcefully while flexing the abs as much as possible.

Finally, take a deep, forceful breath with your hands on your tummy. Feel the burn in your core, then let out an exhalation as quick and powerful as a martial artist’s jab or strike.

Your abdominal muscles probably twitched rather than really contracted, experiencing a sudden and extreme change in the form before relaxing back to their normal position. One of the secrets to becoming faster and more agile is mastering this rapid on/off pattern.

You’ll see a change in your ability to lift weights, run, and perform other athletic activities when you follow these brief and straightforward guidelines, but you’ll also feel the difference.

A Stronger Abs, Core, and Body

Do you wish to improve your core workouts? Then you should read “Advanced Core Training.” Born Fitness trainers have researched, tried, and approved this product.

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