Before we head for the gym (or workout room, or floor or wherever you're going to work out) here are a few handy hints to keep in mind about "the core"Ö.
When doing your abdominal exercises Ö.
imagine there's an orange between your chin and neck and keep a small space between your neck and chin. By doing this you will save yourself some neck and back pain in the long run.
instead of just lifting your head and shoulders up (which is not the proper way of doing a sit-up or a crunch) pull your rib cage up towards your hips - you'll use your abdominal muscles in a more effective manner and you will be working the right muscles
do these exercises at a reasonable pace, fifty crunches in twenty seconds is not what one would call a reasonable pace. Remember: It's quality not quantity that counts!
Check your form and technique: Are you just moving up and down with little or no effort? OR are you keeping your form and performing each repetition with good technique? Some times (like this one) a little can go a long way in terms of results.
As was said earlier and shall be said once more: BREATHE!
Inhale on the way up and exhale on the way down.
The Crunch - a classic that has lived on through the ages
works your abdominal muscles (rectum abdomens)
Starting Position - Lying on your back with your feet a comfortable distance away form your , clasp your hands behind your head.
The Move - Bring your upper body up as far as you can. Use only your abdominal muscles, not your neck. Think of it as thought you are pushing your navel into the floor.
Lower your body slowly back to starting position. The full move should take you about two counts to do if you are working at a medium pace.
HINT: On the concentric contraction of the crunch breathe out through your mouth and on the eccentric contraction of the exercise breathe in using your nostrils.
works abdominals (specifically transverse abdominus), your back (erector spinae)
Starting Position - Get down on your hands and knees. Back is straight and parallel to the floor.
The move - Lift your right arm and left leg up. Try to balance yourself as you do this - and straighten your right arm and left leg until they are both parallel to the floor. Hold that position for one count. Slowly return to starting position and repeat the movement with your left arm and right leg. Keep alternating limbs. Do this for 15 reps on each set of opposite arm and leg. This whole move should take about two to three counts to do.
Sustained Leg Extension
works your lower abdominals
Starting Position - Lying down in the usual crunch position (knees bent at a comfortable distance away from your as you are lying down on your back) Extend your legs so that they form a 90 degree angle with your body. Make sure your back is glued to the floor. Keep your hands above or clasped behind your head. Donít hold onto anything to keep your legs up.
The Move - Keeping your legs straight (bending only slightly at the hip) lower them to a point where you can hold it there at that angle. Hold this position for thirty seconds then release and relax.
HINT: If your legs begin to shake that means youíve gone too far - ease back a bit and hold it there.
works your lower abdominals
Starting Position - Lying on your back brings your knees up and cross your feet, bring your knees closer to your . Clasp your hands above or behind your head.
The Move - Using only your lower abdominals bring your lower body up and then slowly lower back to starting position. Think of it as though you are trying to lift your off the ground.
You can also lift your upper body to meet with your knees. Bring your whole upper body up, not just your neck. If you use just your neck to move upwards you will get a strain and a pain in the neck later on after your exercise, if not during.