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Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, place your left hand on a bench in front of you, and assume a staggered stance, left foot forward. Hold your elbow in as you row the wight to the side of your torso. Do 10 reps, switch arms and leg positions, and repeat the movement.

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Grab a pair of dumbbells, bend your knees and lean forward so your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. Tuck your upper arms next to your sides, bend your elbows, and hold your forearms about parallel to the floor, palms facing up. Simultaneously extend your arms straight back and rotate the weight so your palms end up facing each other. Return to the starting position. Do 15 reps.

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a pair of dumbbells at arm's length by your sides, palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, curl the weights to your shoulders, and then press them overhead until your arms are straight. Reverse the move to return to the starting position. Do 10 reps.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Abdominal Training



Creatively cuing you to achieve proper posture and to engage your core is your instructor’s top priority. Without correct alignment and spinal support, it is impossible to safely achieve the results you seek in class or session. Understanding how to get there, however, can be a difficult task. Here are the steps that will get you there!

Zip It Up

"Pull in your navel, suck in your belly, engage your abs!" These are the cues you likely hear a when standing to achieve a core that is prepared for work. What your instructor is seeking is the narrowing of your body’s depth. When standing with feet hip distance apart, tail bone "tucked", place one hand on your belly and the other in the small of your back. Now, bring your hands closer together through the action of your abdominal wall.

By zipping “it” (your core) up in this way, you have effectively engaged the abdominus rectus which runs the length of your torso from sternum to pubis. All exercise is abdominal exercise if/when you properly engage. Training this area perpetually is the key to more than flat abs. It is essential to exercise longevity. This is how you “zip it up”.

Lock It Down

“Locking it down” is slightly more complex. Move your hands to your natural waist. Now, while breathing normally draw your hands toward one another, without pressing, narrowing your waist. This causes the transverse and oblique muscles to brace the abs and fully recruit the “core” muscles. No other maneuver is more important to your low back than this tightening. It is critical for posture maintenance in vertical (standing) exercise. Know that when your instructor is using a variety of clever terms to get you to “turn on your abs”, this is what they are talking about!

Supporting Cast

Your abdominal wall (abs) and your core are similar, but not the same. The internal and external intercostal muscles support the diaphragm and breathing function. Training these muscles has an impact on both the width and vertical dimensions of the thoracic cavity. Effectively incorporating the intercostals into training will serve the functional purpose of improving the capacity and efficiency of each breath and the aesthetic purpose of a more defined V shape from shoulder to naval.

Sometimes known as the “boxer’s muscle”, the serratus anterior allows the shoulder, specifically the scapula, to move around the rib cage when throwing a punch or pitch. It supports posture, upper body mobility, and stabilization. Training this muscle will improve the ability of all the surrounding muscles to function properly. Since it works in opposition to the rhomboids and complements the core, this muscle also serves to further “pull in” the abdominal wall and improve posture which, of course, makes one look taller and thinner.

Obliques

The internal and external obliques function to rotate and flex the torso. The muscles in the obliques are larger at the top of the thoracic region and naturally and gradually decrease in size. The superior muscles attach near the serratus anterior and the lower ones connect into the large muscles of the back known as the lattisimus dorsi or lats”. The very nature of the muscle is to provide the classic, desirable V shape to the torso as a whole and to support posture and deep breathing. Additionally, as a cooperative unit, the intercostals, serratus, and obliques permit overhead lifting by providing strength and stability in the torso.

Abdominal muscles never work alone. Every flexion, extension, rotation, and stabilization is the result of intense cooperation between muscles. In fact, most muscles in the body require that the abs engage, support, or initiate movement before they can effectively move. The abdominus rectus is not typically a “primary mover”. Meaning, in daily life, it is rare that a move requiring only this muscle action occurs.

Far more often, we need to lift a heavy object which requires the abdominus rectus to tighten, the transverse to stabilize, the serratus to release so the shoulder can move into position, the hips can then release and move into a lifting position and the remaining musculature of the core to react and support the entire movement. Your instructor/trainer is trying to communicate all of this in a few short words shouted between directions.

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