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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 December 13, 2018

      12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

      12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

      Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

      A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

      1. Eat Before Heading Out

      First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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      2. Select The Treats

      Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

      3. Avoid Skipping Meals

      Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

      4. Drink With Moderation

      It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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      5. Be Active

      You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

      6. Get Out Of The House

      Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

      7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

      Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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      8. Set Realistic Goals

      You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

      9. Enjoy Yourself

      Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

      10. Drink A Lot Of Water

      This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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      11. Eat Less And More Often

      Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

      12. Prioritize Your Workouts

      Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

      So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

      Happy Holidays everyone!

      Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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