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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 September 25, 2019

      How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

      How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

      As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

      When we were still children, our thoughts seemed to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

      Just imagine then, how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power!

      We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities.

      We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

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      We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb.

      We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits.

      And we’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head…

      But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

      So, how can we tap into the power of positivity?

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      “Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

      It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are 4 simple yet powerful ideas on how you can get started.

      1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

      Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

      Just take a look at these 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life.

      2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

      This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

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      You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty.

      If you seek it, you will find it.

      3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

      This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what really is important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

      Here’re 60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life that can inspire you.

      4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

      How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking.

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      Instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

      Learn from this article how to change your mental images: How to Think Positive and Eliminate Negative Thoughts

      If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

      And remember:

      You are (or will become) what you think you are.

      This is reasonable enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

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      Featured photo credit: Lauren Richmond via unsplash.com

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