During my Thursday class called "Final Cut", a few women started talking about their frustrations with abs, or really how to get them. I'd like to share with you my perspective on how to really build core strength, and how to work the core with every single move you do.
First of all, I'm constantly repeating a few phrases when I teach. They are:
Belly button to spine
Fire up your core
Suck the belly button back
Now. There is a reason I keep repeating those particular phrases, and no, I'm not just trying to be annoying. And I hope that's not the effect!
With every single movement you do, you can engage your core, which will work the muscles- and as a result will tone them.
Take something simple like a bicep curl. You are working, duh, the bicep. BUT- if you take a second before you start curling and pull the belly button in, and fire up the core, you're now working your abs as well.
Why focus on working single muscle groups? It will take a LOT longer to get a total body workout in if you do. By engaging the abs while doing a bicep curl, you're now getting arms AND core in. Take it up another notch by adding a squat as you curl. Now you're working TOTAL BODY!
How do you "fire up the core"?
While you're pulling your belly button back to your spine, engage the abs like someone is going to punch you in the gut and you're going to block it. Make sure as you do that you aren't hunching over from your shoulders (a common mistake).
With every movement you do, you are training your body. Most people push the belly OUT when they're doing something hard. WRONG. If you keep pushing the belly out, guess where it's going to want to stay?
Yeah, no one wants to look like the body builders with ripped muscles and (although hard looking) guts that stick out.
Try the spiderman pushup- one of my favorites. It is HARD, but you can take it slowly. Maybe you can only do one at first. Do one with perfect form, it will pay off a lot more than 5 with bad form.
Build up to 10 reps, repeating 3 times.
No time for a workout? Bust out 10 in the morning, 10 after lunch, and 10 before bed. Easy.
And remember- fire up that core ;)