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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 11, 2021

      11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

      11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

      Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

      Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

      1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

      Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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      2. Stress Relief

      Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

      3. Improved Sleep

      Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

      4. Appetite Control

      Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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      5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

      When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

      6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

      Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

      7. Mosquito Repellant

      Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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      8. Pain Relief

      While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

      9. The New Anti-Viral

      Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

      10. Improved Cognitive Function

      Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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      11. Money Saving

      With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

      Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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