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Ab Workouts and Core Activation

Ab Workouts and Core Activation to create Core Strength: The Key to Preventing Back Pain in Runners Feb 18, 2020, by Jane Sandwood

Ab Workouts and Core Activation through core strength help alleviate back pain (especially lower back pain). It is extremely common in runners according to Runner’s World. Owing to factors such as repetitive stress and impact. Although pain can come and go. The good news is through ab workouts the core can be strengthened to cope with back pain.

It can become chronic. A factor that can wrest from motivation and lead many to give up athletics. A study by researchers at Ohio State University.

Ab Workouts and Core Activation

Has discovered what causes chronic back pain and how to resolve it. The study found that most of the time. It has to do with weak deep core muscles. Unfortunately, many people lack strength in this vital part of the body. Working on strength is key if you are to succeed as a runner in the long-term. 

Ab Workouts and Core Activation Motion Detection Technology Reveals the Truth

The researchers used motion detection technology to examine the role that both superficial and deep core muscles have. They also used force-measuring floor plates to ascertain total impact.

They were able to obtain detailed images of how bones and muscles moved, and of how much pressure every joint had to withstand.

They then used simulation to ‘turn off’ specific muscles, in order to observe how the rest of the body would compensate.

They discovered that week deep core muscles force superficial core muscles (such as the abdominals) to compensate, resulting in lower back pain.

Core Strength

Ab Workouts and Core Activation Core Strengthening

Athletes wishing to strengthen their core can do so at home or at the gym through both static ab exercises and the help of specific equipment.

Gym rings are a versatile choice that can be used to strengthen a plethora of muscles – including arm, shoulder, and back muscles – in addition to the core. A typical core strengthening workout with rings would involve using gymnastic rings to lift the body off the ground, bending the legs forward and outwards.

The key to making the most of core-focused ab workouts is a technique; performing each exercise in a stable, controlled fashion will ensure you achieve your aim without injury.

Rings are definitely more challenging than, say, bar ab exercises, because they take more effort from the body’s stabilizers; it is ideal for advanced athletes who are ready to go one step beyond the bar.

Core Strength

Static Ab Exercises for Deep Core Muscles

“Static ab exercises that force you to fire your core and hold your body in place are what’s really going to make you a better runner,” stated researchers in the Ohio State University study.

These will not result in the appearance of a six-pack, yet that is not their aim. As stated by the researchers, great runners typically don’t have six-packs, yet their core is in top shape.

Top static (also called isometric) ab exercises for the deep core include the plank, in which you place your forearms on the floor at shoulder width, extending your back and holding your feet together.

Core Strength
Planking

Another exercise is the Dip Hold, in which you grab parallel bars, lifting yourself upwards and extending your arms. As you lower your body down slowly, you bend your elbows and bend your knees.

Stop when your upper arms are parallel to the floor, keeping your elbows tucked in and your forearms completely straight.

Recent research indicates that weak deep core muscles can contribute to back pain. Keep these muscles strong through the floor, bar, and wooden ring exercises. Consult your physiotherapist to ensure you are performing these ab exercises with the technique you need to optimize each workout.

core exercises

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A Diagram of selected Core Exercises. Sometimes Core Exercises is the hardest activity to get done when by yourself. In a group, it’s much easier to complete.

 

Ab Exercises Core Activation

Core Activation, the dream of six-pack abs and tight core muscles is a common fitness dream for both ab workouts for men at home men and ab workouts for girls.

While it’s impossible to achieve if one side of your muscles is working harder than the other. Or worse, you’re experiencing muscle pain.

While the core, comprised of the trunk and spine. It also provides support and stabilization for all movements. Hence any time we twist, turn, bend over at the waist, or hold our body in one position for a long period of time, our core is at work.

core activation
Core Activation

And the way you sit and your posture (tendency to slouch). Are just a couple of the reasons that can cause core problems. Yet it is a highly sensitive area. Meaning that an issue affecting the neck may reverberate down the spine or vice versa.

While if your core isn’t working properly. Other areas that are not meant to handle such stress end up compensating and suffering in the process. Hence this commonly manifests itself in backaches, especially lower back pain.


 

  1. Trunk Rotation


2. Lower Abdominal Cross

3. Back Twist

 

Article by Kate Allgood MAT, SH for active.com

Read the Full Article with specific instructions

Core Stability

The aim of core stability training is to effectively recruit the trunk musculature. And then learn to control the position of the lumbar spine during dynamic movements.

The Muscles

The deep trunk muscles,

  • Transversus Abdominis (TA)
  • multifidus (MF)
  • Internal Oblique (IO)
  • Paraspinal, pelvic floor

are key to the active support of the lumbar spine.

 

The co-contraction of these muscles produces forces via the “thoracolumbar fascia” (TLF). And the “intra-abdominal pressure” (IAP) mechanism which stabilizes the lumbar spine. And the paraspinal and MF muscles act directly to resist the forces acting on the lumbar spine.

 

It is not just the recruitment of these deep-trunk muscles. But how they are recruited that is important. While research (Hodges and Richardson, 1997)[2] showed that the co-contraction of the TA and MF muscles occurred prior to any movement of the limbs.

 

This suggests that these muscles anticipate dynamic forces that may act on the lumbar spine. And stabilize the area prior to any movement. Hodges and Richardson (1997)[2] showed that the timing of coordination of these muscles was very significant.

Training

Having identified the key muscles and how they act, the next step is to establish how best to train these muscles. However with any type of strength and conditioning training. While the training protocol for improving the function of the deep-trunk muscles must be specific to the task required. Hence this specificity of training must take into account the type of contraction, the muscle fiber type. And the anatomical position required.

However, by definition, the deep-trunk muscles act as “stabilizers”. And are not involved in producing movements.

But instead involve static, or isometric contractions. Furthermore, they must act as stabilizers continuously throughout everyday activities as well as fitness and sports activities. And so require very good endurance of low-level forces. While these muscles do not need to be very strong.

So they must be correctly coordinated and capable of working continuously. Also, we want these stabilizer muscles to act by holding the lumbar spine in a neutral position. Therefore which is the correct alignment of the pelvis that allows for the natural ‘S’ curve of the spine.

Hence these characteristics underpin the following deep-trunk muscle training program.

 

Core Stability ab Workouts

The following are examples of core stability ab  workouts:

  • Core Stability Exercises
  • The “Alfa Romeo” workout
  • The “Aston Martin” workout
  • The “Audi” workout
  • The “Bentley” workout
  • The “BMW” workout
  • The “Buick” workout
  • The “Lotus” workout
  • The “Mercedes Benz” workout
  • The “McLaren” workout
  • The “Morgan” workout

How to build sexy abdominals – 30 Day Abs core Challenge

Ab Workouts and Core Activation

Due to the popularity and overlooked value of ab exercises. We have added another article on ab exercises.

Here is a simple 30 Day Abs core challenge to tone up your Abs and burn your stomach fats. I found this on Stumbleupon.com which has now after 16 years closed down and moved to mixed.com.

I personally plan to do this challenge now that I have gone to Australia and am starting to regain the weight.

As it does mention in the poster. You should consult your trainer or physiotherapist before starting this challenge to avoid any training injuries. Here is my own experience, I did a light version of this Abs core challenge first, which started from day 1 and finished on the day 15 only. Then I took a two-day rest, and then I re-started the whole challenge from the beginning to the end (From day 1 to day 30), so it technically took 45 days for me.

Ab Workouts and Core Activation

Follow the instructions as given above in the diagram. Do the sit-ups, crunches, leg raises, and planks in the order given. And remember to take a 30 second/2 minute break in between each exercise. Don’t do it after having food. Speaking about the food diet is also very important for abs.


Russian Twist

The Russian twist is core movement that targets the torso and spinal stabilizer muscles
(heart muscles, mainly oblique exercises). 
Additionally, the Russian twist will help to increase the rotational torso movement and strengthen isometric control of the heart. Below is an excellent video on how to perform a Russian Twist.

Side Plank

The side plank is perfect movement to reinforce the oblique abdominal muscles that are not exercised out during ab workouts including crunches.  
You should hold your body straight on your leg, 
helped only by one arm and one-foot hand.
The side plank would reinforce the quadratus
lumborum more powerfully-the portion of the back 
side of the abdominal wall that plays major role in reducing back pain. 
… 

Palloff Press

The Pallof Press is key stabilization exercise that has widespread application to athletes with weight, power, and functional fitness. 
It can be done in regimen on movement training, 
or as key accessory to boost strength and muscle 
endurance.
The Pallof press is anti-rotation hold exercise 
which will work great to help you develop stable
heart. 
It’s an especially good step for any sports exercises where you are required to spin at speed on sixpence, as it helps develop the core strength to cope with twists and turns without getting hurt.

Dead bug Exercise

Dead bug exercise is healthy and efficient and
effective way of improving and stabilizing the muscles in the heart, spine,  and back. 
That improves your posture and helps to reduce low back pain and prevent it. 
Also, you can improve your posture and coordination. 
For the first couple of reps, the dead bug may seem fairly straightforward, but if you keep your core engaged, push slowly and avoid lifting your back off the ground, you’ll be surprised how hard it is. 
Obtain three sets of five to ten reps on each hand, 
or just keep going before your abs shake get too intense.

Do in a group to add value

This is a large variety of ab exercises and is very good for athletes and those just wanting to stay fit. As the core is one of the most important and most overlooked areas of development. To add more value and entertainment try doing these listening to music and/or in a group so you will not get bored. As core workout can often be repetitive and boring.

Also, check out our article on 10 Minutes ab workouts.

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