Common mistakes we make while exercising our abs
Your core muscles play a huge role in the everyday activities, from getting out of bed to walking down the street, these muscles literally help you stay upright. The core muscles are the base of support for the entire body. They completely surround and support the spine, pelvis and connect the upper and lower body effectively transferring forces from one to the other. The abs muscles play a dominant role in movement in every plane of motion i.esagittal, frontal and transverse. In other words, strengthening your abs will ultimately help strengthen the rest of the body. The issue however is that few of us truly know how to exercise our abs correctly. Certain common mistakes in abs exercise are :-
- Wrong posture.
- Breathing pattern and frequency.
- Not controlling the target muscles.
- Speed of exercise.
- Too much focus on quantity rather than quality.
Let us concentrate on certain aspects of abs exercise which prevent you from losing belly fat.
Wrong posture and Breathing pattern are the most important reasons for crunches being ineffective for some people.
Correct posture for Crunches
- Lie down with your back flat on the ground.
- Elevate your feet so that your knees are at a 90 degree angle to your body. Keep your belly tucked in and tight.
- Put your hands behind your head, but with the fingertips lightly touching the head, not clasping the head or neck.
- Make sure there is a fist’s worth of space between your chin and chest.
- Avoid excessive use of neck and shoulders. Instead, use the upper abdomen to lift up.
- Keep the chin up and shoulders rolled down, look up towards the ceiling.
- Don’t try to get the upper body on the floor after every rep. Try and stay in the air.
- Go as per gravity for getting oxygen to the muscles for getting them to work better.
- If not done properly abs might be bloated.
- Exhale through the mouth and keep the stomach tight and tucked in.
- Proper breathing is essential for the lungs and heart.
- It also helps save extra energy for long workouts.
You need the oxygen to circulate through the blood and go to the muscle. If you hold your breath, you could get cramps or get tired quicker.
Leg lifts are a pretty basic but very effective core exercise. But it’s easy to make mistakes while doing Leg Raises.
- The most common mistake is arching your lower back which lets your abs muscles slack off and puts more pressure on your hips and back.
- Don’t let the legs come apart or hold your breath.
- Press your lower back into the floor. While lowering legs, stop once you feel yourback lifting off the floor.
- Keep your legs together and inner thighs engaged.
- Inhale on the way down, exhale on the way up.
Include Isometric exercises and Stretches in your routine
Also known as static contraction exercises, Isometric exercises develop strength, increasemuscle tone and increase endurance. The abs often isometrically to hold the spine in place as you move your arms and legs. For that reason alone, Isometric exercises are useful. Isometric exercises help achieve strength and better definition in the core midsection.
- Isometric plank and bridge hold are great for beginners and experts alike.
- 6 inch leg raise is a simple but wonderful exercise. If you tend to have lower back pain, then pay special attention to your form and do shorter sets.
- Handstands are a classic isometric exercise that’s not only great for your abs but will increase your overall upper body strength.
- Push against the wall exercise : focus on engaging every muscle as much as you can and contract your abs while you’re doing it.
- Stretching in general is critical to the success of your workouts and health. They prevent back pain, increase flexibility, boost recovery and prepare the body for more vigorous exercises. Some of the stretches for removing belly fat are :-
(a) Yoga Wheel pose.
(b) Bow pose.
(c) Ustrasana pose.
(d) Locust pose.
(e) Wind Relieving pose.
(f) Cobra pose.
(g) Boat pose.
(h) Bridge pose.
(j) Shoulder stand.
(k) Yoga Kapotasana pose.
Adding Weights to workouts
In my experience, the secret to awesome abs is working consistently, working in different planes of motion and adding weights to the workout. There are a few exercises which can be easily done using weights or medicine ball.
- Low to high woodchop.
- Standing weighted twist.
- Plank and rotate.
- Overhead circles.
- Seated Russian twist.
- Dumbbell crossover punch.
- Overhead reach with leg lower.
- Coordination fly.
- Standing side bend.
- Lying overhead reach.
The idea is to do all these exercises with lightweights. This will add tone and the additional craft in your exercise to give you the perfect belly.
After having your baby, take as much time as you need and focus on your baby. Once you decide to start exercising do a small test for ‘Diatasis Recti‘. It’s a condition where large abdominal muscles separate. Its common in women who deliver a high birth weight baby or have multiple pregnancy. It requires a medical diagnosis, usually there is a bulge in the middle of the stomach which is noticeable only when the abdominal muscles are tense. Four simple exercises for this condition are :-
- Knee Tap hold.
- Bridge Lift.
- Toe / Heel drops.
- One Leg extension.
Abs play a crucial role in strengthening the muscles around the spine and improve posture as the body’s weight is correctly distributed. Having a correct posture is key in increased confidence and good health for the spine. A strong core keeps your torso in a more stable position whenever you move, playing sports or doing chores. So pay importance to your abs. Do the exercises correctly, focus on quality rather than quantity.
Stay Healthy, Stay Fit !!