No Ab Workout Necessary??

People panic (or jump for joy) when I tell them that they can reduce or eliminate their abdominal routine. They are certain that those 100 crunches on the ab machine are the only things that are keeping the muffin top away. Not so – and here are some tips to incorporate into your fitness routine to get a strong core without all the crunches:

1. Slow down! If you're doing the movement fast, then you're using momentum to accomplish the move. When you slow down and concentrate on contracting and using the appropriate muscle(s), you maximize the work that the body does. Efficiency at its best.  

2. Engage your core throughout your fitness routine. Whether you're lifting weights, running, practicing yoga or walking the dog, engage your core by bringing the bellybutton to the backbone and then feeling as if you're pulling the stomach up and under your ribs. Another cue I give is to “shrink-wrap” your mid-section, just as if you’re wrapping yourself with plastic wrap. This drives the movement from the core, where it needs to originate, and enables the body to move as a unit. You get a one-two punch – strengthen your core with ease or, as I like to refer to it, “effortless effort."

3. Include functional exercises in your routine. Get off the machines and use dumbbells or medicine balls to move in three-dimensional space. Do a squat and bring the weight overhead, lunge across the room while doing bicep curls or incorporate a TRX training system into your workout – you'll get all core, all the time. There are a multitude of ways to move the human body, just use your imagination or enlist the help of a personal trainer to get you started.

4. And here's THE SECRET (drum roll, please)...Engage your core all the time! When you're driving, at the computer or standing in line, pull your bellybutton to your backbone and then draw the stomach up and underneath your ribs. Feel your sides elongate so that your heart lifts. Imagine that your shoulder blades are angel wings and bring the tips of the wings toward each other on your back. Not only will you be moving from your core efficiently and effectively, saving wear and tear on your body, but you’ll feel taller & look leaner too!

That's it. Sounds simple, but it takes a lot of concentration and discipline to incorporate these methods in and out of the gym. I incorporate functional exercises with the majority of my clients and they love the results! Let me know if you have any questions by commenting below – I’d love to hear from you! – Mia