What if I told you that after reading this article you would have all the tips and tricks you would need to have a legendary six-pack, would you believe me?
Abdominals are the ultimate exercise to developing beautiful, toned muscles!
They are not just done to improve your look at the beach, but they are also essential to prevent back pain, improve your posture and finally fight body swelling...
Caution needs to be exercised however in order to do the right movements and avoid injury. Superprof will now explain to you the principal errors to avoid doing during your fitness training program so that your goals to get back into shape can be as smooth as possible!
Ab Exercises Without Breaking Your Neck!
Crunches are the simplest exercises that can be done to train your abdominal area.
A crunch begins lying on the floor with your hands crossed behind your neck or over your chest. The movement begins by curling your shoulders towards your pelvic area. To have defined, picture-perfect abs you should definitely not hesitate to incorporate this exercise into your fitness program.
This famous muscle toning exercise principally uses the rectus abdominous muscles (your core six pack) and your obliques.
There also exists a variant exercise, the double crunch (sounds like a flavour of ice-cream, right?), which works the inferior and superior parts of the abdomen at the same time.
The most commonly used crunch, during personal training sessions, is done using your own body weight, without any gym equipment.
It can be done on the floor, using an exercise mat, however, beginners can also put their legs on a chair to easily initiate the bending of the bust. The abdominal crunch consists of sliding your hands towards your kneecaps, while slowly exhaling.
The crunch does not require any specific exercise equipment, however, it must be well done to reap results and avoid the risk of injury!
Live Strong has a great article on their website that explains the proper form for an abdominal crunch using pictures for those who are more visual and need extra help in order not to cause injury to themselves.
This exercise can be a bit dangerous for your lower spine area, especially if it is executed with a foot injury. A personal fitness trainer or wellness coach can help you and show you the right movements to perform. They will explain to you the correct form to use in order to reach your fitness goals and stay motivated.
Superprof can help you find a highly recommended, certified fitness trainer whose methods are tailored and customized to your specific needs. Our trainers have designed workouts that help you get desired results whether it may be to lose body fat, gain and tone muscle or increase flexibility. Look no further, we've got you covered!
Ab workout tips and tricks from a successful personal trainer!
A great nugget of advice is to place your fingers behind your ears so that the head is well supported by the hands when you lift up your chest.
The most common error done by many fitness amateurs, most likely beginners, is to not support anything at all... The ones who are new to working out compensate by using their neck muscles (mainly the sternocleidomastoid) which contracts during the effort, creating tension in the cervical vertebrae. This results in a lot of pain for your body and discouragement for the new fitness lover.
You also need to think about respecting the alignment between the neck and spine during the exercise.
You can also use a towel that you hold at both ends that will support your head while you lift your chest...Not a bad suggestion, right?
Potential Downfalls of the Sit Up
The Sit Up, pretty much the crunches cousin, is a very effective ab toning exercise. You start lying on the ground, with your legs folded, and you lift yourself up and down.
The best technique is to take it slow, smoothly and without much momentum.
Being abrupt and jerking your body up needs to be completely avoided.
Book now an appointment with an at-home fitness instructor or certified personal trainer who will explain to you during your personal training sessions that you need to exhale while going up and inhale while going down. Correct breathing is essential in this exercise. Superprof recommends doing 4 sets of 10 repetitions. Start with 8 repetitions if you are a beginner and go up to 12 if you feel like you are training for the Olympics!
Beware of the Flutter Kicks!
Another ideal exercise for getting that six-pack, the flutter kick!
This exercise allows your lower abdominal muscles to shine.
This exercise is usually included in training programs for senior citizens or people who want to get back in shape. Throughout the whole exercise, it is crucial to have your lumbar muscles flat on the ground, because if they are not, you will compensate and the exercise will not be beneficial.
For those who suffer from an exaggerated back arch, you can compensate by sliding your hands around your kidney area.
Very important not to lower your legs too low, this could cause a lot of damage to your back! The first danger of the flutter kick is often digging your back into the ground. If the exercise if effective for toning your abs, it is equally effective in causing back pain...
The Potential Risks of Working Your Obliques on a Weight Machine
The oblique muscles, mainly the outer, larger obliques, are unavoidable and essential during your personal training sessions.
With their rounded form on the side and front, the obliques flatten the abdomen if they are toned, tighten the belly skin (make a flatter stomach) and define the waist muscles in a more effective way than working your lower abs.
There are various exercises tailored to work your obliques, mainly using high tech equipment such as ab machines or reclining benches that can usually only be found at the gym. However, Men's Health has published a fantastic article highlighting the best oblique exercise that can easily be done at home without paying a costly gym membership and using nothing more than a set of free weights and an exercise ball. Men's Health is a leader in the fitness industry and is always there to help you get fit and stay motivated during your personal training sessions!
To thoroughly understand how to do these exercises without injuring yourself, it is always best to consult with a fitness professional near you. It would be their pleasure to help you establish a successful workout routine.
A common error for fitness beginners is to put too much weight on the gym machines. The risk is not only damaging your abdominal area but blocking a major back muscle.
Weight must be added gradually according to your level.
Muscle Reinforcement and Back Injuries
Resistance training and muscle reinforcement, are essential during your cardio training sessions!
Be careful to avoid common mistakes made during cardio workout sessions.
Mostly if you practice sports such as jogging, cycling, swimming or triathlon training. While doing these sports a favourable body alignment will help you be more effective during your movements.
The principle of muscle reinforcement is to create a strong muscular wall around the spine. To achieve this, you need to reinforce the muscles that affect the spine directly and indirectly:
- lower abdominal muscles,
- and trapezius muscles.
The most common muscle toning exercise is the plank. This exercise works the rectus abdominus (aka six-pack muscles), transverse abdominus, obliques and the lower abdominal muscles. It really is a complete exercise that works all core muscles. Face to the ground, resting your weight on your forearms and tips of your feet, lift your pelvic area so that it is aligned with heels and shoulders.
Be careful not to strain your back, especially if you already suffer from back issues. To avoid this, remember to contract your abdominals and glutes to support your body equally on your arms and toes.
Hold your position for about a minute and then take the time to rest and recuperate for another minute after the exercise is done.
If it's your first time, try to hold yourself up for at least 30 to 45 seconds. We strongly advise you to not do more than a set of 5 repetitions. Progressive training is the base of every successful personal coaching session, whether you are stretching or reinforcing your muscles. You won't become a personal trainer overnight if it seems challenging to you don't be shy and ask for the help of a skilled professional!
Muscular reinforcement and resistance training help you achieve your goal of a flat and toned belly. There are other types of resistance training than just abdominal reinforcement. There exist many exercises to reinforce your back and intercostal muscles.
Don't Forget to Breathe during Abdominal Exercises!
Breathing is vital during any fitness training session, whether you are at home with a health and wellness instructor or taking a group fitness class at the local gym.
Generally speaking, it is possible to breathe from the thorax or the belly. To verify how you are breathing, it is sufficient just to lie on the floor, place one hand on your chest, the other hand on your belly and observe which breath comes first. It's really that simple. Anyone can do this.
The grand majority, even athletes, breathe from the thorax, which does not allow you to use the full capacity of your lungs and causes more fatigue.
When bodybuilding or muscle toning a moment of physical exertion always need to start with an exhalation. You need to always exhale when you lift a weight, do a squat or perform a crunch and inhale when you release and recuperate.
This point is critical because many athletes and fitness enthusiasts who have trained for a long time have trouble breathing correctly during their personal training sessions. This can cause injury during a weight training session. Remember to concentrate on your breathing in order to become a more controlled and technical athlete.
Exhale from the mouth and tighten your abs while you lift your chest. Inhale from the nose while you lower your body back down to the floor. When you do this you will realize the positive impact good breathing can have on your movements.
With all of these recommendations we gave in this article, you are ready to become an elite personal trainer or fitness coach!
Thanks to these tips, during your next, personalized, training session, you will be able to work towards your goal of having rock hard abs that you can be confident about and proud to show off. Remember that all of this can be accomplished without hurting yourself!
Don't forget that the abdominals muscles cannot be worked all the time, they need their rest. If you work them every day, you could risk causing muscular fatigue and what a shame that would be!
The important thing is finding exercises that make you look forward to working out. An enjoyable training schedule will change your lifestyle and have it become more dedicated to health and fitness!
As a final thought, if you work your abs with the goal of losing weight, burning fat or gaining more muscle, make sure you are eating right. Your nutrition has a lot to do with your results. Limit your intake of foods that are rich in calories and focus your attention more on healthy proteins that will sculpt your abs. A nutritional diet will improve your health and your desire to work out more.
Now you have all the ingredients for an amazing six-pack this summer!