Monthly Archives: August 2014

CORE TRAINING

THE CORE’S FUNCTION

 

A truly strong core prevents injury! The core’s job is actually to prevent extension! To prevent back pain, your core must function as a stabilizer while your hips flex and extend.  Most people lack this ability to use their deep core muscles to stabilize, and therefore compensate, which results in joint pain!

6 PACKS HAPPEN IN THE KITCHEN

To get your abs to show, you must eat clean. Less bread, pasta, cereal, chips, and other grain and starchy foods! Eat veggies, fruit, lean meats, and drink water!

 Lifting heavy weights, and using full body movements, also help as the core is forced to work when using non machine based exercises, like squats, dead lifts, and overhead presses!  Run more sprints! Look at athletes who sprint, they are more than likely ripped, this isn’t a “why to perform sprints blog” however, trust me there is something to them! All of the things listed above, helps you to keep your body fat low! Remember the scale can be a tricky thing! You can lose 20lbs by doing obsessive amounts of cardio and starving yourself. However you will not look different, your body won’t be harder, your clothes won’t look any better, and the shape of your body will stay the same! Not to mention there is no way your abs will become harder! However if you drop body fat and increase muscle, now you have a better shot of making that 6 pack happen!

THE MYTH

One of the biggest myths we hear in the world of training is that crunches give you a 6 pack! Studies show that there is no way to spot train a muscle! So not only will 5000 crunches a day rupture your spine, pull down your rib cage a little more on top of all the sitting we do, they don’t even work to get results!

My clients often get compliments that they look taller and that they look younger! I think amongst some of the other great methods of training we have adapted from the great minds in this field and applied to our clients, our core training methods play a large roll in why they receive these compliments!

We base our core training exercises off of the idea of preventing gravity from winning its battle of pulling us down, and to do exercises that counter our everyday actions of being hunched over in a car, at a desk, etc!

CORE EXERCISES

The following are some of the core exercises, as well as the progressions we use at Finisher Fitness! Alike from all exercises, it is very important to use proper progressions when training the core! We first try to start everyone with short moment arms. A moment arm is simply the distance from the resistance! Check out the plank video below as you will see how I start with a wide stance, or a shorter moment arm making it easier, then putting my feet together, next elevating my feet making it harder so the moment arm is longest when my feet become elevated! Next, after you have mastered the ability to stabilize the plank, (which in my eyes is keeping a flat back without the hips rising or falling, and being able to use your core without the use of your low back) now we can add our next progression which is making the exercise dynamic! The old school Ab wheel is a fun way to challenge the core, as seen in the video below, once you’re able to become more dynamic with the plank! However if you have never done the ab wheel before, I would use a stability ball first, as the amount of friction from the floor as well as being that low to the floor, will produce some severe soreness! Master these Anti extension patterns (basically the ability to use the core to prevent the spine from extending) so that you move better with almost every movement you do, on a daily basis and exercise you do in the gym!!

 ANTI EXTENSION EXERCISES

 

Anti-Rotation

These include any exercises that resist rotation in the lumbar spine. One of our favorite options is what is called an anti-rotation hold, which is shown in the video below. Simply grab onto a band or in this case to the handle of the cable system, which should be parallel with your heart, and hold it out in front of you! Very deceiving as it will fire up your core more than you think and be very demanding! Using the same progressions as we followed with the anti-extension exercises, then simply take this from a static hold, and begin to perform some presses with it which will give you a totally new challenge!!

                                                                             ROTATION

We cant forget that the main function of the core is to rotate! However we must learn to rotate from the thoracic spine and not the low back! Those who can’t rotate properly and explosively tend to also encounter low back pain! Try some medicine ball side tosses! Stand tall, elbow up, and rotate from the core and thoracic spine! Check out the video below for a visual!

Anti-Lateral Flexion

Anti-lateral flexion exercises are those in which we resist lateral-flexion or side-bending! As mentioned earlier most people can’t get their core to function in the proper ways that it should. If you can’t prevent your low back from doing the work when carrying groceries, or a suitcase for instance, carries are a great way to teach yourself! They will teach you how to lock in the rib cage, and fire up the deep core muscles to do the job they are supposed to be doing!

Give these carry variations a shot! The nice part about carries is they can be done anywhere, and they get your heart rate booming as well!!

 

Flexion

Don’t get me wrong, crunches are bad for your spine! However straight leg sit ups are a good way to train the core how to properly flex, without compensation! Again progression is key here! We start out with body weight, and a medicine ball between our feet as counter balance, so our feet do not come off the ground. We also use a slow tempo on the way down! This helps beginners to grasp the proper mechanics so that momentum doesn’t take over causing flawed form! Think about full range of motion (all the way up and down) without the benefit of momentum! Then we add weight to resist the pattern! Check out the video below for the examples!

 

A SIMPLE CORE WORKOUT TO TRY:

BEGINNER 

                     10 straight leg sit ups

                    30 sec plank (feet wide if you have never done a plank before)

                 30 sec anti rotation (each side)

                Suitcase carries 20 yards and back

Repeat each exercise one after the other, for 3 rounds, 1 minute break in between rounds

EXPERIENCED

                             loaded straight leg sit ups 8x

                            Ab wheel roll out 8x

                           Anti-rotation press 8x (each side)

                          Suitcase carries 50 yds. and back

Repeat each exercise one after the other, for 3 rounds, 1 minute break in between rounds

 

I hope you guys now have a better understanding and approach to your core training! Let me know if you have any questions!

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6 THINGS TO TELL THE BEGINNER:

FF11. GIVE THE BEGINNING STAGES OF TRAINING TIME:

At first you are training to put yourself into a better position to train at a higher level to accomplish the goals you eventually want to! Hopefully that makes sense to you as it’s a very important concept for the gung ho person to understand! For instance if you are coming from never squatting before or never squatting correctly before (the 2 are the same in my eyes) you should be practicing the exercise at first with simply just your body weight in some cases, until you master proper form! While using lighter loads, it will be difficult for you to accomplish and create true change in the structure of your body due to the lack of stimulus. However, give mastering the basics a few weeks and you will increase your confidence with each exercise, coordination, and your central nervous system will adapt the motor patterns. In a few weeks you will own exercises using quality weight and great form to full ranges of motion

2. MOVE MORE

Human movement is a privilege! We must move more! Anytime I take on a beginner client I often try to get them to increase the amount of movement they do in a day. In some ways I think that increasing movement might be my number one main tip I could tell a beginner. The more you move the higher your desire to move more and move more consistently will become! The less you move the less desire you will have to move and before you know it you are depressed, feel like crap and hardly ever move. By exercising and moving more daily, you’ll increase energy, immunity, release more dopamine and serotonin, and add to your overall well-being. Also, studies have shown plenty of research that walking is decreasing back pain by loosening up segments of the spine as well as decreasing joint pain in other areas of the body as well.

3. SLEEP BETTER EAT CLEANER AND DRINK MORE WATER

The funniest thing I hear most of my friends say is that they work out so that they can eat like crap! You cannot out train a poor diet! That does not work. Go put gas in your car with no oil and let me know how you make out. Here are some of my rules! They are simple because nutrition is simple it’s just difficult to comply to!

*EAT BREAKFAST (EGGS ARE GREAT FOR YOU)

*EAT LESS BREAD & GRAINS / INCREASE GREEN VEGGIES, LEAN PROTEINS & GOOD FATS

* EAT LESS BUT DON’T UNDER EAT

*DRINK 8 BOTTLES OF WATER (your life will get better)

*THROW AWAY ANY FOOD YOU CANT SAY NO TO

*DRINK A SHAKE WHEN YOU’RE DONE TRAINING

Remember training is just a short term stimulus. Your body does not change from the actual work out. All the changes occur via proper recovery and regeneration! So get to bed on time (be strict) turn off technology and the lights, as well as eliminate noise before bed to increase the quality and duration of your sleep! Stick to the nutrition rules above and no, change will not occur over night but you will start feeling much better and seeing some change!!

4. CIRCUIT TRAINING ISNT ALWAYS YOUR BEST BET

The goal of training isn’t just to sweat! Most beginners think circuit training is the best approach when getting started! So most of the time beginners want to find the local class that will ramp up your metabolic rate as high as it can and break a big sweat! However this is not always the best approach for physique! There is a time and place for this just like everything else, however to change your body; you must increase muscle to decrease body fat! Therefore you will have to add true resistance training as a staple point of your training! Chose weights or loads that will challenge you to finish the desired reps that you are trying to accomplish, in a controlled fashion, using time under tension! Meaning lifting weights with control on the way up and down of the lift you are performing! If you throw weights around with too much momentum your muscles will not be under enough tension for a long enough period of time to get a proper stimulus! Remember building muscle is the fastest fat burner ever created! So doing conditioning work is great, however it’s important you understand that circuit training is more so a form of conditioning (in my opinion) and not true muscle building work!

5. SORENESS IS NOT AN INDICATOR OF A GOOD WORK OUT (stay frequent and consistent)

Exercise is not a punishment! Training should help you to move better, so that you feel better and look better! Any idiot with a whistle that makes you do exercises you have never done before, for a lot of reps for long periods of time, with a lot of tension to your muscles can make you sore! (E.I.M.D) or Exercise Induced Muscle Damage is obviously important as muscle damage is important for hypertrophy (or muscle growth.) However, puking or being so sore you can’t move for 3 days does not mean it was a good work out! In fact it is probably horrible for you! The way your body will adapt best is if you stay consistent to getting in the gym and give your body some true frequency! Excessive soreness, repeatedly, will actually be detrimental to your training as you will feel the effects of over training, lack of ability to recover and adapt and not be able to maintain getting your work out in over a longer period of time!

6. GET STRONGER

If you dial in to getting stronger, in my opinion everything will improve! Gaining strength increases your ability to perform movements, bone density, connective tissue and much more! On the other hand, the weaker you are the more prone to injury you are and therefore the less exercises you can perform! Use a basic P.R.E model to help you increase your strength! P.R.E simply means progressive resistance exercise! Each week simply try to go up 5 pounds on the lifts you are performing while maintaining great form for example! Another form of progressive resistance training is finding a way to do the things you cannot just yet accomplish. For instance if you can’t do pushups use a band to assist you on the way up until you no longer need the band and can perform body weight pushups! Once you have mastered body weight pushups try to progress the movement by putting a weight on your back, which will increase the resistance and help you to increase your strength!