Having a strong, balanced core is essential to your overall fitness. Many people get obsessed with one particular aspect of their body but it’s important to make sure that you lend equal attention to each muscle group. Focusing primarily on your chest and abdomen with ab workouts or working exclusively on your arms can be harmful. Building muscle in an unbalanced manner can cause long-term orthopaedic issues and mechanical difficulties.
If doing ab workouts is your favorite thing to do when working out then you also need to consider working out your low back and the rest of your core. Essentially, if you are exercising your front, you need to exercise the back as well. What will happen if you don’t? Well there are several possibilities, one of the major ones is you can cause your bones to become misshapen due to too much tension in one direction and not enough in the other. You often see this in people who overbuild their chests and don’t work out their backs too. The pectoral muscles grow and tighten, pulling on your shoulders to come forward. If you don’t have equally strong back muscles to counter this pulling effect, then your shoulders will be pulled forward and your posture will become increasingly worse. It’s also painful because your back struggles against the stronger chest muscles, attempting to pull your shoulders back and straighten you up but the back muscles cannot contend with the front, although they will consistently try to, you will find your back is achy, restless and fatigued.
The same is true for your abdominal muscles. Doing ab workouts all the time and not focusing on your other abdominal muscles or your low back can cause a whole other series of problems. In your low back/hip area, there are joints called the Sacral-iliac Joints (SI) where the Sacrum, the butterfly like part of your hips, joins up with your lumbar spine. These joints are held into place by even muscle tension within your core, any awkward movement combined with tensing a muscle can cause the joints to rotate out-of-place. If you predominantly do ab workouts and no other core work you can shift which muscles pull which way and then you will be dealing with regular SI-Joint issues and pain. There are a million reasons why you should believe in a balanced workout and these are only a few.
If ab workouts are a must for you then make sure you choose exercises that strengthen all your abdominal muscles. Participating in a Yoga class or two is a good way to get a foundation in place for exactly how to target each muscle group. Yoga focuses primarily on core work and whole body strength, if you are looking to get that lean-appearance then Yoga is definitely the way to go. If you choose your abdominal workouts based on what will define them the best, then consider looking into Crossfit Training. Crossfit has a variety of difficult but interesting manoeuvres that will give you a full-body workout while still giving you a cut and defined look. The best part of Crossfit is that it changes up the exercises so you can do ab workouts in a million different ways, often doing real-world movements and activities, as opposed to lying on your back and doing crunches all day.
Everyone wants a nicely sculpted stomach and its okay to work your butt off to get that look, as long as you go about it the right way. Also keep in mind that you will achieve the look you want if you give equal attention to your whole body – not just the target area. Consciously exercising your entire body both through weight training and cardiovascular exercise will help you achieve your desired results much more quickly. Burning calories is the best way to drop weight and lean-out your muscle mass. The more of your body you push, the more calories you will burn. Consider activities like swimming, which utilizes all your muscles and gives you a great cardio work out too. It is hard to get your mind out of the traditional thought process that bicep curls and ab workouts will get you to your goal but it really is a dated way of looking at fitness. Modern fitness technology and science have come a long way so take advantage of it and get away from traditional ab workouts.
We can help you reach your fitness goals with ab workouts that will help you achieve the flat stomach you have been working for.