Killer Abs and a Weak Core:

Becoming a Well Balanced Athlete

So many people dream of that flat stomach and a shredded six pack and do thousands of crunches trying to improve their core strength.  There is one fundamental flaw for this thought process however.  Many people spend their days hunched over their computer at work, slouching in the chairs we sit in and for triathletes and cyclists alike, spare time is spent laid out over their favorite bike.  This routine leads to the rectus abdominis (abs) being worked frequently and many other important stabilizing muscles neglected.  The problem with this neglect is that it leads to an imbalance of weak stabilizing muscles and an underdeveloped core.  So what?  As endurance athletes our core is what stabilizes the rest of our body to do the work that we are constantly demanding of it.  Whether you are on the bike, running or in the pool your core is providing a platform for the extremities to work from and if this is weak we limit our performances before they ever begin. The important part is to remember what all your “core” is composed of.  Not only is it the muscles of the stomach but also the back, neck, obliques, hip flexors, glutes, erector spinae and hip abductors/adductors that are in need of attention and strengthening as well.  There are many workouts that have been designed to help target these specific muscle groups but the sample workouts below are focused on a handful of them that will work the majority of these groups. Try these strengthening exercises after your next workout and begin becoming a more well rounded athlete Plank– Laying on your stomach lift your body off the ground and support your weight with your elbows and forearms.  body should remain straight with knees on the ground.  Hold for 30 seconds each time.Supine Glute push up- Laying on your back with your feet on a medicine ball lift your hips off the ground while keeping your shoulders in contact with the floor.Rotational crunch-  Assume the standard crunch position with your feet flat on the ground.  Raise shoulders off the ground until torso is at a 45 degree angle to the ground.  Rotate upper body 45 degrees to each side (hands should go from one side of body to the other.Side bridge- Laying on your side, Support your body with your forearm and elbow.  Be sure to keep body in a straight line.Bicycles- Laying on your back in a standard crunch position, raise your feet off the ground by bending at the hips.  Make a circular motion in the air with your feet like you are pedaling a bicycle. -Brady IrwinSubscribe to our mailing list

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