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Do You Know Yoga Practices Can Train Up Your Core Too? Here’s How.

Do You Know Yoga Practices Can Train Up Your Core Too? Here’s How.

Dolphin-Plank

    1. Dolphin Plank

    Even yogis love elbow planks, but we call them something else. An elbow plank by any other name will still work your abs.

    • From Downward Facing Dog, inhale and shift your weight forward coming into plank position (top of a push-up). Exhale as you lower onto your forearms so that your shoulders are stacked directly above your elbows and your body is parallel with the floor.
    • Dolphin Plank is an intense pose, so if you can’t hold for five breaths, lower one or both knees to the floor.

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    Intense-East

      2. Intense East

      Do you know by just simply facing your belly up to the sky can help work on your abs too? Pulling your low abs up and in while arching your spine makes this pose feel easier.

      • From a seated position with your legs extended straight out in front of you, place your hands behind your hips about six to eight inches, with your fingers pointing toward your toes. As you inhale, press into your hands and feet firmly, lifting your hips into the air. Lift them as high as you can so your spine is in a long line. Slowly release your head back, looking behind you, and open through your throat.
      • Stay here in Intense East pose for five deep breaths, then lower your hips to the floor.
      Camel

        3. Camel

        • Stand on your shins with your knees hips-width distance apart.
        • Lean back, and place your hands on your heels, arching back and allowing the head to fall between the shoulder blades.
        • Continue to press the hips forward to engage the abs, thighs, and tush, enjoying this pose for five breaths.

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        Warrior-3

          4. Warrior 3

          Balancing on one leg really challenges your core! If you’re not using your abs to stabilize in this pose, you’ll likely tip over. Here’s how to find your inner warrior.

          • Stand with your feet together. Inhale as you extend your arms out wide in T position or straight overhead for a more advanced variation.
          • Exhale as you bend forward at your hips, lifting your right leg straight behind you coming into Warrior 3. Draw your navel toward your spine, and hold for five breaths. Then come to stand, lower your right leg, and repeat with the left leg lifted for another five.

          Balancing-Star

            5. Balancing Star

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            This pose is similar to a side plank but in a more balanced way that trains up both your core and arms. Your obliques will certainly feel the challenge while you balance in this starry pose.

            • Begin in Downward Facing Dog, and step both feet together. Move your right hand to the left about six inches so it’s at the upper center of your mat. Step your right foot forward two inches, and plant the sole of your right foot firmly on the mat, so your toes are pointing away from you. Inhale as you roll open to your right side, and lift your left hand off the mat. Raise your left leg up into the air.
            • Gaze at your lifted hand, and hold Balancing Star for five breaths. Keeping your core engaged will help you stay balanced. Repeat this pose on the other side.

            Boat

              6. Boat

              Boat pose is the go-to move for abs in yoga. It really challenges all four layers of your abdominals, similar to the Balance Point in Pilates. Get ready for some smooth sailing.

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              • Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Bend your knees, and lift your legs off the floor, bringing your knees in toward your chest with your shins parallel to the floor. Sit up as tall as you can, and take a breath in as you slowly begin to straighten your legs. Your legs don’t need to be straight since the action of keeping your spine long and drawing your belly in is what works your abs here.
              • Hold Boat pose for five breaths.

              Crow

                7. Crow

                Do you know that a crow requires core strength more than arm?It’s really about your core! Thinking of this as an ab exercise can help you hone in on the balance needed to maintain this pose.

                • Begin in a squat, placing your hands shoulder-width distance apart on the mat. Spread your fingers as wide as you can, creating a strong, stable base. Straighten your legs slightly, placing your knees as high up onto your triceps (back of your arms) as possible. Slowly shift weight into your palms and lift your feet off the ground.
                • Stay here for five breaths gazing at the floor in front of you.

                yoga a2
                  Reference: popsugar.com

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                  Felix H.

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                  Last Updated on November 11, 2018

                  How to Gain Muscle Fast (The Healthy And Natural Way)

                  How to Gain Muscle Fast (The Healthy And Natural Way)

                  There’s a common misconception that building muscle occurs entirely in the gym from exercise and lifting weights. In this article, we are going to debunk this notion that weight lifting and gym exercise yields 100%, or even 90% for that matter, of muscle building results.

                  So how to gain muscle fast in a healthy way?

                  Yes working-out is a critical aspect of developing muscle, however it should not be the focal point. Building muscle occurs primarily outside of the gym by way of diet/eating habits, and sleep regimen.

                  How Is Muscle Developed?

                  Muscle is developed from damaging the tissue during exercise, and facilitating the most optimal circumstances for repair and growth of those same tissues. This means you will not only need to exercise, but you should focus on carbohydrates around your exercises, and adequate rest and recovery between workouts.

                  If your focus is building muscle and not losing weight, focusing on a high-carb diet with carb loading around the workout days will yield great results. Yes, you absolutely can lose fat and build muscle following a low-carb diet, but you’ll make faster progress if you follow a high-carb diet instead. Now don’t take that as a green-light to stuff your face with pasta, bread, and all sorts of other carb-heavy foods.

                  Let’s examine Glycogen – a multibranched polysaccharide of glucose that serves as a form of energy storage in humans. Muscle glycogen is a form of carbohydrate that’s stored in your muscles and liver. Glycogen is the primary source of fuel during exercise, and low glycogen levels decreases your ability to gain strength and muscle. The best way to maintain high levels of muscle glycogen is to eat a high-carb diet, with around 1 to 3 grams of carbs per pound of body weight.

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                  The time of ingestion of a carbohydrate supplement on muscle glycogen storage post exercise was examined in a study with twelve male cyclists that exercised continuously for 70 min on a cycle ergometer at 68% VO2max, interrupted by six 2-min intervals at 88% VO2max, on two separate occasions. The results suggest that delaying the ingestion of a carbohydrate supplement post-exercise will result in a reduced rate of muscle glycogen storage.

                  How to Gain Muscle Fast?

                  If you want to gain muscle as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible, then you want high muscle glycogen levels. Here’s a few effective approaches to building muscle:

                  Muscle Growth and Glycogen Levels

                  The primary driver of gaining muscle and its growth is progressive tension overload, which involves exposing your muscles to increasingly greater levels of tension over time. The most effective way to achieve this is to get as strong as possible on heavy compound lifts (squat, bench press, deadlift, over head press, bent over barbell rows..etc).

                  When you keep glycogen levels high, you’re going to gain strength faster, which means gaining muscle faster, too. Having higher levels of muscle glycogen will more than likely help you build muscle faster.

                  Maintaining high muscle glycogen levels also improves post-workout genetic signaling relating to muscle growth and repair.

                  Muscle Recovery and Glycogen Levels

                  Not only do higher muscle glycogen levels yield quicker strength gains, it will also improve recovery between workouts.

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                  On the contrary, low muscle glycogen levels are associated with overtraining, and even increasingly popular low-carb diets, which deplete muscle glycogen. Low glycogen levels also increase cortisol and reduce testosterone levels in athletes, which is a key component needed for building muscle.

                  Those on a low-carb diets also have reduced insulin levels. Insulin, in addition to helping store nutrients, also has powerful anti-catabolic properties. Basically insulin decreases the rate at which muscle proteins are broken down, which in turn creates a more anabolic environment conducive to muscle growth and development.

                  Intermittent Fasting (“IF”) and Testosterone

                  Fasting is not just a beneficial way to manage your weight, caloric intake, and start shredding as I have indicated in previous articles. Some research shows that fasting can be a source of strength enhancement and increases in testosterone stimulation.

                  As humans age metabolism slows and testosterone production decreases, this simply means that the body will no longer be able to work as efficiently as it did in earlier years. This is one of the primary reasons why you should take more care to your diet.

                  Research has shown that intermittent fasting can enhance the ability to secrete growth hormone in the body.[1] This is one of the primary reasons why IF is one of the preferred dietary habits of bodybuilders and strength athletes such as myself, whom will utilize an approach that emphasizes fasting phases (2 of 7 days of the week for example).

                  Research has also shown that IF can increase the bodies ability to signal luteinizing hormone.[2] In non-obese men, an intermittent fasting testosterone study showed that IF increased LH (luteinizing hormone – a testosterone precursor hormone) up to 67% and overall testosterone 180%.

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                  Luteinizing hormone is one that works in both men and women to enhance our ability to be sexually active and productive. In women, luteinizing hormone can trigger ovulation, and in men, works to stimulate testosterone.

                  Intermittent fasting also increases levels of a hormone called adiponectin. This increase in adiponectin during the fast helps improve insulin sensitivity. Adiponectin is so effective, in fact, that it’s been shown to reverse insulin resistance in mice.

                  Gaining Muscle and Macro Nutrients – Protein!

                  Something that absolutely cannot go overlooked is the protein consumption. Personally, I believe protein should be primarily consumed in food, however if looking to gain muscle, it can often be quite difficult to hit daily macro nutrient requirements.

                  If one is to build muscle consistently a general rule of thumb is to aim for 1-1.5grams of protein per pound of body weight on a daily basis. So as a 200lb man I would be needing to consume 200grams – 250grams of protein per day. I would aim for the higher consumption on days when very active and training.

                  As I’m sure you’re aware, it can often be quite difficult to consume that much protein, especially in food! It’s in these cases where supplementing protein isn’t a bad idea and I have discussed in great detail the different types of protein in previous articles.

                  Generally speaking, I lean towards Whey Protein Isolate, or non-dairy options such as Hemp Protein, or Pea Protein. As of late I have been waking up every morning and consuming one scoop of Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein Bovines from grass-fed beef. Collagen peptides are highly bioavailable and act as building blocks; renewing bodily tissues such as skin, bones and joints.[3]

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                  Collagen peptides may act as a messenger to the cells and trigger the synthesis and reorganization of new collagen fibers, thereby supporting tissue structure. Consuming protein such as Collagen in the morning is beneficial as the stomachs acids are needed to optimally break-down and absorb protein.

                  Though this has been a topic of great debate, I also firmly believe adequate carbohydrates are required to build muscle, especially if you are exercising/training often. With all the low-carb movements floating around the internet, there’s lots of misinformation. Muscle-building requires energy which is typically through an increased intake of carbohydrates.

                  Yes to gain mass, you have to ensure you’re consuming enough protein to rebuild muscle tissue damaged from training; but also consider carbohydrates because gaining size requires filling your muscles with glycogen as we discussed earlier in this article.

                  Conclusion

                  If you’re serious about gaining muscle fast the healthy way, it requires commitment and consistency. You will need to exercise and I highly suggest you download MyFitnessPal to track progress, set goals, and maintain diet.

                  It’s also motivational because you can find like-minded people in the fitness community, or encourage your friends to download the app as well and follow each other. I personally did this when I was losing weight and gaining muscle, and it was a blast to see my own progress and that of people I care about.

                  As always I’m not just here to write about the steps you need to take, I’m also here to help! You can message me anytime or email me with any questions you may have. I’m more than happy to assist with your muscle building and weight loss goals!

                  Featured photo credit: Arthur Edelman via how to gain muscle fast

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