I know what many of you are thinking reading the title of this article…
But we are going to talk about an exercise you have never thought of before.
Attaining a stronger, visible, set of abdominal muscles has always been a common goal in people’s fitness training programmes and yet, paradoxically, many (most) of these people never actually achieve this goal.
Being involved in the fitness industry I see the same problem over and over again. The problem can be spelled out like this.
Woah, woah, woah, we are all about machines. And, there is nothing innately wrong with abdominal equipment. We love ab machines.
The problem is when people don’t use the machines properly.
Because ab machines do actually bring with them a host of potential problems.
One of the most prominent issues, is that people simply do not use the equipment correctly. Another is that they start to believe that the machine should be doing half of the work for them!
As people try to let the machine do the work, they push themselves too hard too soon.
And inevitably, they end up injuring themselves.
When you are starting out, it is important to start gently, and make sure you avoid pushing too hard.
We have discovered a new simple exercise
This allows you to work your abs with very little movement, and still be highly effective.
This is a great way to start building up your ab strength when you are just starting out. Of course, it is all down to you to put in all the effort without a single ab machine in sight!
This method involves the use of deep focused breathing whilst squeezing (with varying degrees of intensity) your abdominal muscle.
For some of you this will seem remarkably simple. And yet, performed daily and with gusto, it is a wonderfully natural and invigorating exercise that promotes tighter abdominal muscles, and as an added bonus, aids in strengthening the internal organs.
Because of this we recommend even those of you who are more advanced incorporate it into your life.
Try the basic exercise below each day for the next week and feel the benefits.
1. Stand (or sit) comfortably.
2. Inhale deeply into your belly (not your chest) and feel your stomach expand.
3. Once full with air, hold briefly and begin to exhale. While exhaling, squeeze your abdominals at the same time.
4. Make sure to exhale as slowly as possible. Try to keep your breathing smooth and relaxed. (It might help to do this through pursed lips.)
5. Repeat at least ten times.
Note – Do not squeeze and try to force the air out while holding the breath. Breathing exercises such as this may be dangerous.
Notice, how you feel calm and refreshed
You can make this feel even better, by doing it outside in the fresh air.
When you are finished, you should be feeling great! Your abs have been gently exercised, in as little as ten breaths!
You may have noticed that this borrows from many meditation techniques. It goes far beyond warming up your abs, but helps to clear your mind and help you feel energised.
It is worth saying that you should not squeeze with one hundred percent effort on your first attempts. This may still lead to injury. Instead, focus on slowly adding tension as you get used to the exercise.
This should give you a great start to work your abs early on without injury.
I hope it also provides you with food for thought on how work your core, any time with as little as a breath.