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Strengthen Your Core With These 3 Simple Exercises

Strengthen Your Core With These 3 Simple Exercises

Often we associate a strong “core” with 6 pack abs. While these things can be similar, they are not necessarily the same. Having “6 pack abs” is usually more a result of having a very low body fat.

A strong core is however, is about the muscles surrounding the spine working together to “brace” the spine against compression, shear and hoop (circular/ twisting) forces. Some of these are not just 6 pack muscles like the rectus abdominus. But also the lats, obliques, transverse abdominus, spinal errectors and even glutes. A strong, stable, core is protective of the low back, improves posture and sports performance by facilitating the most effective transfer of force from the extremities through the body.

These 3 exercises will revolutionize your core training and bring you out of the dark ages of crunches and sit-ups and into 2016.

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Palloff Press:

  • Maintain a stable base, feet slightly greater than hip width and “rooted” (solid foot pressure through the heels) into the floor, toes straight ahead.
  • Hips pushed back slightly.
  • Soft, slightly bent, knees.
  • Shoulders down.
  • Ribcage in neutral on the abs.
  • Create a straight line through the crotch, belt buckle, belly button, sternum (between the nipples) and chin.

The most important aspect of the Palloff Press is to focus on maintaining tension through the body and resisting movement through the core.

Stir The Pot:

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  • Start in a plank position, abs tight, shoulders in the joint and glutes squeezed.
  • The pressure on the ball should be with the forearms. Not by digging the elbows on the ball.
  • Don’t allow the hips or shoulders to drop, rotate or shift during the movement.
  • Focus on creating tight, even circles with ball.

Maintaining tension through the core the entire time, never relax between revolutions of the ball. Make sure you do an equal number of rotations in both directions.

stir capture

    Suitcase Carry:

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    • Start in a tall, “pillar” position. The ribcage, and hips in neutral. Shoulder in the joint.
    • Stay tall, no leaning, spine neutral the whole time.
    • Crush the bell.
    • Neither the arm or bell should rest on the body.
    • Keep your steps to a normal or slightly shorter length so you stay “under” the hips.

    Like the other exercises the focus of the suitcase carry is creating tightness through the core and resisting twisting or bending of the spine.

    Farmers Walk Capture

      Next time you’re training your core, try these and remember the focus of all of them should never be how long you can hold them or how many reps you can do. Instead focus on creating tightness and never allowing the “core” to move. You’ll be amazed at how these exercises will revolutionize your training, strengthen your core and improve your performance, posture and back pain.

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      Featured photo credit: Anti-Rotational Drills (Pallof Press) via youtube.com

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      Last Updated on January 3, 2020

      The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

      The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

      Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

      The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

      1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

      Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

       I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

      To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

      And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

       2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

      Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

      3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

      Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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      4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

      The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

      5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

      Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

      6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

      Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

      7. Positive people smile a lot!

      When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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      8. People who are positive are great communicators.

      They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

      9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

      One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

      10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

      Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

      How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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      I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

      Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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