Our Fitness Blog
All Day Abs!
Many individuals strive to have a lean, well defined midsection; simply put, people want abs. Not only is a lean midsection a great benefit from eating right and working out smart, but our abdominal muscles (along with our lower back muscles) play a vital role during exercise, posture and more. When we flex and engage our abdominal muscles during exercise, we can help to strengthen our abdominal muscles as well as minimize risk of injury. Now, when we talk about flexing our abdominal muscles during exercise, we are not talking about keep them so flexed that we impede normal movement. Rather, we simply 'engage' the abs muscles and keep them slightly flexed all throughout our workout. If we were to completely relax our abs muscles during exercise, we are going to compromise our posture, reduce support for our spine and increase risk of injury.
If you were to draw a line from your right shoulder to your left hip bone and then draw a line from your left shoulder to your right hip bone, where would these 2 lines cross? Well, they are going to cross in the center of your abdomen. Therefore, this is where so much of our movement, posture, etc., is derived from. Therefore, if we have weak abdominal and/or lower back muscles, movements during exercise will be compromised such as running, jumping, punching, kicking, squats, etc. As a result, we are going to lose a lot of power and strength and can fatigue more quickly (as compared to having a strong midsection), and this can increase risk of injury. Our abs and low back muscles (often referred to as the core) are vitally important in simple, everyday movements such as sitting, standing, walking, bending, etc. Therefore, we can start to build a stronger midsection, each and every workout, simply by engaging and flexing our abdominal muscles from workout start to finish. Now, will engaging the abdominal muscles during exercise give you ripped and shredded midsection? The short answer is, no. Why? Well, in order to have shredded abdominal muscles, this requires the body to have a very low body fat percentage. And, in order to drop the body fat percentage, this goes far beyond abs-engagement and will require spot-on nutrition; and this is where 9Round Nutrition comes into play.
So, how can we start to focus on flexing and engaging our abdominal muscles during exercise? If you are not familiar with engaging the abs, just start by practicing at rest. One easy way is to imagine you are a body builder on stage and you want to flex your abs for the judges. Try this and place your hands on your abs. You will start to feel your abs being engaged. This is the feeling you want during your workout. Now, at your next 9Round workout, keep this front and foremost in your mind. If this does not come natural to you at first, no worries, it will. At first, it may require you to constantly remind yourself; 'flex the abs' 'flex the abs' 'flex the abs.' But in time, it will be as natural as breathing.
You can really start to engage those abdominal muscles from start to finish. If you are jumping rope for example, notice your posture in the mirror and focus on engaging those abs muscles. This constant 'tension' will help to strengthen your midsection as well as provide the necessary support for your lower back and spine. Do the same when you perform a push up and remind yourself to engage the abs. Start to appreciate the difference between doing so (engaging the abs) and not doing so. How about when you punch and kick the heavy bag? Oh yes, this is extremely critical as well. Each time you punch and kick, engage those abdominal muscles and feel the abs working. Pay close attention to how much stronger and powerful you feel by engaging the midsection during each rep and each exercise. Are you ready for All Day Abs?
Dr. Rick Kattouf II
2x Best-Selling Author
9Round Nutrition Coach
Named One of America’s PremierExperts® in Nutrition & Fitness
Named One Of The World Fitness Elite® Trainers Of The Year