Sadly some people miss the point and take fitness training too far. Don't become an emaciated tanorexic freak. Remember why you started exercising in the first place, stay focused and keep things in perspective.
You are just starting a new fitness routine and want to know what to eat. Start here. It's so simple we miss the point by trying to do it all at one time.
There’s nothing but confusion out there when it comes to body part specific training. This confusion invariably arises from thinking about the body as individual muscles or segments and ignoring the fact that our body is designed to function as one integrated whole. The biceps never performed a curl without being attached to the arm or the rest of the body. The same is true for the lower abs.
That said, step one in learning to exercise the lower abdominal muscles is to stop thinking of them as separate from the upper abs or rest of the body. Next, consider the role of the abdominal muscles: abdominal muscles counteract extension, flex the spine and help to stabilize the lumbar spine.
Therefore to work the lower abs we must take a two pronged approach: 1.) exercises that prioritize stabilization of the spine and 2.) movements that place the lumbar spine into flexion. To those who love and advocate tons of twisting exercises, please contact me. I have the number for a great physical therapist. In reality, the abdominal strengthening from good twisting exercises primarily comes from spinal stabilization rather than the turning of the body.
Spinal stabilization exercises always get the abdominals firing while simultaneously strengthening the lower back. That’s what’s great about correct movements, you can’t improve one part of the body without improving the rest. Second, when we move the lumbar spine into flexion we are using the abdominal muscles in concert to perform the movement. This is why isolation crunches are lame and conversely why people love Pilates for flattening the abs. Much of the abdominal work in the Pilates system involves placing the lumbar spine into flexion.
Look at it this way, the spine likes to flex, extend and be protected from load bearing forces. Exercises that flex or stabilize the spine will hit all of the abdominal muscles and give you the tight strong stomach you desire. If after investigation into how to strengthen the lower abs you are disappointed you can’t see your six pack, then you have a dietary problem and not a strength or conditioning issue.
*Two examples of how to work the lower abdominal muscles. Notice in both photos the abs are engaged by connecting the feet to the hands. By involving the whole body maximum force is delivered to the center of the body.
Ashley G. tells all about how she got into amazing shape for her wedding. She credits training here at ATOMIC, eating right and getting adequate sleep. She also should be commended for going hard everyday and making the commitment to make the most of her big day. It definitely paid off.
There's nothing special about the standard, boring, run of the mill gym. No wonder no one sticks with their new year's resolutions. In nearly every chain gym across the country we find rows of machines, cardio equipment and dumbbells. With the popularity of Crossfit, Soul Cycle and yoga; barbell lifting, spin classes and generic yoga are being rammed down the uneducated consumers throat as well. If you have never worked out before the standard gym is as good a place to start as any. On the other hand you could just as easily skip it.
When it comes to exercise, we at ATF observe that often when people skip workouts, they will feel the need to make up for the missed effort by trying to overdo it. They will even ask their trainers to "punish" them.
To the uninitiated barefoot running comes across as a fringe sport reserved for the rare combination of ultra athlete and super hippie. Still there are benefits to be gained for even the casual participant. Barefoot running or running in minimalist footwear can promote improvements in biomechanics and in some cases relieve running related injuries.
Deadlifting should be intuitive and simple. Remember, in the most basic sense, you are doing nothing more than picking something up off the ground. If you keep your back stable and the weight close to your body there's little room for error. Problems arise when one lets ego take over and attempts to lift more weight than they are able. Work the form, practice higher reps at lower weight and in no time you'll be deadlifting with increased confidence and strength.