Abs at FitterFaster-where are the crunches?
We have had another amazing week at Bootcamp. 24 attending Monday 6am, 28 on Wednesday, 18 on Friday. Amazing!! Great numbers at the evening sessions as well. So well done to all of you putting in a great effort to drop the excuses and just get out and train.
The cold (and hopefully wet) weather is almost upon us, and this will provide yet another excuse -sorry I meant reason- to skip the training session. Make sure that this doesn’t happen.
Winter is a key time to put weight on. Have you noticed that in the past, come spring, all of your warm weather clothes are just that bit tighter? Make a decision right now, that this year, that isn’t going to happen.
It doesn’t happen to me any more, although it used to. A kilo or two or three, adds up very quickly. Don’t stay in the cycle of putting it on and having to take it off again. Every year it gets harder and harder to drop that extra weight. Decide right now that you are going to continue to train with intensity regardless of the weather. Don’t let something like that (which you have no control over) to become another excuse.
In the coming weeks, we will have our ‘gym’ ready as well. I am hoping to keep most of the Bootcamps outside still, but it will be great to have somewhere to warm up on those freezing mornings and also to shelter if it is really wet and/or cold outside. Dont expect heating and carpet though. We will still need to train hard to keep warm!
So now, back to the topic-Abs and Crunches. Crunches have always been the old standby in group fitness classes, video classes and even body building type routines. They are supposed to isolate the abdominal muscles so that you can work them directly. If you do them correctly, they do in fact do an okay job of isolating the abdominals, but the thing is, the abdominals are not supposed to work in isolation. And working them this way, will not magically give you that wash-board tummy!!
At FitterFaster Bootcamp we work the abdominals during almost the entire workout. Your ‘core’ muscles are at work in everything you do, but some things work them a bit more. We also make a point of working them while upright which afterall is when we need them to be strong-while doing things that you are likely to be doing in real life.
Exercises like the overhead lift (and you know we do heaps of them) the clean and press, the squat and press, planks, belly blasters, one arm lifts, dagonal ‘chops’, and reverse ‘chops’, squat thrusts, mountain climbers etc all provide loads of stimulation for your whole core. And using unstable weights like sandbags make the effect even better as you core has to work to stabilise the weight and stop it moving around.
So what is the ‘core’ and why should we care about it-I just want a 6 pack?
The core consists of pretty much your whole body apart from you limbs basically. Your shoulder girdle, back, tummy, hips all form the core. The core and all of its associated muscles work together as a unit. It would be no point having strong tummy muscles if your back muscles are weak. And this is where most of you are at.
Every day in our busy lives we work the front of our bodies, and our posture causes all of these muscles to shorten and become tighter. Meanwhile, all of our posterior (back of body muscles) become loose and weak. Our back, rear shoulders, glutes (butt), hamstrings all become weak and this is a very common cause of back pain and injury, bad posture like rounded shoulders and jutting forward neck.
We spend a lot of time trying to reverse all that at Bootcamp. Squats with your weight right back, lunges with balanced weight not over that front leg, concentrating on keeping the weight through the heels. All that helps to get those posterior muscles firing again. The ‘turtle’ series of exercises, overhead lifts, even the belly blasters are working the back muscles. All of the plank series of exercises(spidermans, walking, leg and arm lifts, etc) whether static or dynamic on your elbows or hands are working the entire core if you keep you body stable and tight. Your shoulders, back, hips as well as your abdominals are being worked.
Occasionally, you will see we include some laying down on your back type ab exercises. These add variety and work your abs in a different way, but they are not the mainstay of my core strengthening exercises.
I hope this clarifies why we dont do crunches. They can be a good exercise, but there are heaps of others that do the same or a better job while the body is in a position in which the abdominals need to be strong-while standing or upright.
Now to that 6-pack. We all have one, some are just hidden. The way to reveal it is though, yes you guessed it, is with intense exercise and a healthy diet to rid your body of excess fat. There is no secret exercise or magic supplement. Just hard work and committment. It always comes back to this.
So here’s to training hard, eating good food and staying on track over winter.
NO EXCUSES – JUST RESULTS
See you at Bootcamp
PS dont forget to get those men to visit the website’s “For Men” page and fill out the form to register for their free Bootcamps next week