Thursday, August 25, 2016

Do You Hate Doing Ab Exercises? Try this...

Are abdominal exercises uncomfortable for you?  Do you ever catch yourself counting faster as you begin to feel the burn during a plank?

If the answer to the last question is yes, the chances are when you begin to count faster, your breathing changes. You may exhale more quickly, or you may even hold your breath. This can pose problems for you in the long run. It may not only reduce the benefits of a particular exercise for you, but it can also impact the way your body moves as a whole.

Instead of counting reps or timing your core exercises, try counting your breaths. When doing so, breath slowly and controlled. Focus on exhaling fully and feel a strong contraction in your abs. Your rib cage should be tucked down and inward.

This technique will allow you do get more out of your abdominal exercises, and as a result, you can accomplish them in a shorter amount of time. Sounds good right?

Watch this video of a Hollow exercise being performed with an individual counting to 10.

Now watch the difference in this video. The Hollow is being held for 4 breaths.

*Note* Look at the wrinkling of the shirt in comparison to the first video.

By counting your breaths during sets of exercise, it allows you to turn on the correct muscles for that movement. On the other hand, if you hold your breath during an exercise, extra muscles are activated, which can lead to movement dysfunction.

Breathing improperly can also make exercises more difficult for you. It can take what is called a low-threshold strategy and turn it into a high-threshold strategy. What this means is you recruit and activate more muscles than are needed for a particular movement. This is inefficient for your body. Over time, it can lead to overuse of certain muscles and compensations that negatively affect our movement.

Learning to recruit your abdominal muscles effectively will give you more proficient abs. Yes, a 6-pack is largely achieved in the kitchen as well as the gym, but improving your core through breathing properly will help your whole body move better.

Counting your breaths can also assist you in maintaining good posture. It helps you make sure your postural and core muscles are activated at the correct times. Oftentimes, what people may assume to be weak abdominal muscles is more of a timing problem. Counting breaths is a great way to improve the timing of the firing of your core muscles, and overall efficiency of your movements.

It can also be effective to count your breaths when working on your mobility and flexibility. So go ahead, try counting your breaths, feel the difference, and spend less time by getting the most out of your core exercises!

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