In this episode I talk about the one concept that you need to know in order to develop your abdominal muscles.
Core Balance Podcast. Episode 72.
What do you think your body would look and feel like if you continue to move like you did when you were a kid, before fitness became about treadmills and calories. There is a better way and now you've found it. Welcome to the Core Balance Podcast with your host Chris Janke-Bueno.
Hello and welcome to the podcast. I'm so glad to be here, really glad you made it in today and thank you for listening. We are on Episode 72, I'm your host Chris Janke-Bueno and we are going to dive right in today to a topic that is very popular. If you go online everyone’s trying to get one of these, everyone’s trying to get a six-pack. And I want to talk today how to get a six-pack without doing a single crunch. Seriously, no crunches necessary and this is actually the case with a lot of different muscles, pretty much every muscle in the body if you want to develop it. You don't necessarily have to do the exercise that you think you have to do if you learn this one concept. And this concept is about contracting the correct muscles, sometimes I'll call it electrocuting the muscles because the muscles are attached to the nervous system, the nervous system is electricity, it's like the electricity that's running to your house, it's not a strong but it's the same concept. And this concept of engaging the muscles or electrocuting the correct muscle is the one concept that will help you develop the abdominals without doing a single crunch.
I got the idea to do this episode yesterday morning when I was laying in bed and I engaged my abs, I needed to stand up, I engaged my abs and it started to pull me up and I was thinking hmm that's pretty easy when you know how to engage your abs, for that one very specific movement. The problem with doing crunches the way that most people do them is that they are not engaging the abs to do it. Usually the neck gets involved, the hip flexors which is totally fine, you need to develop your neck and your hip flexors but if you are trying to engage your abs and your form is just bad or you are getting tired and you start engaging other things that's when you start to develop the problem.
So it's not that crunches are bad, that's not what I'm saying at all, it's just that you don't need to do endless amounts of crunches the way that you may think you do. So let's break it down a little bit. The abdominals have one job – the abdominals that you can see in the six-pack. Now you have other abdominals, you have your obliques, you have your rectus, that's the six-pack rectus abdominis, you have the transverse abdominis and you have other muscles that are going to give you that shape.
But let's for now, let's just talk about the six-pack which is the rectus abdominis. These muscles are responsible for one thing, spinal flexion, they just pull you into that rounded position forward and again if you are focused on contracting those muscles properly you can do this when you are standing, you can do this when you are lying down on your back or on your stomach or when you are sitting even. So I would encourage you to stop thinking about crunches and start thinking about rounding your lower back because that's what you are doing when you are engaging those muscles. You are basically bringing the bottom of your rib cage closer to the top of your pelvis. That's it.
So the more you can engage those, the more you can get them to have that almost cramping feeling in one direction and then you need to be able to lengthen them in the other direction and then engage them and get them to almost cramp, get them to really, really tighten and engage and then lengthen them all the way and do that maybe 10 maybe 15-20 times and take a rest. And then try it again.
This is – it's not normally what we do I mean the six-pack, getting a six-pack is a very superficial goal but if that is your goal this is one way to develop those muscles. The second of course you need a low body fat so that you can actually see those muscles. But even though this is not what we normally do as far as muscle training we normally focus on the structure, the deeper postural structure of the body. The same principle actually applies because every single muscle on the human body to maintain its optimal health needs to go through that fully shortened, that fully tightened or I use the term electrocuted like boom, like it's just tight right like almost that crampy feeling. And it needs to be able to go through that full lengthened range of motion, just like the range of motion I was talking about with the abs.
So to recap first I re-identified the proper range of motion for those muscles which is basically when they engage they produce spinal flexion. When they disengage they allow for spinal extension and then I just broke down the movement. Same thing with every single muscle in your body. Bicep curl, what does the bicep do? It flexes the elbow. And so you can bring the hand up closer to the shoulder, flex the elbow and really squeeze that muscle and really squeeze that muscle and really focus on that exact muscle and don't let that tension go anywhere else. And then you can lengthen and really stretch it out and take it to that full extreme in the range of motion. So in that way this concept works with every muscle. That concept of creating that electricity, that contraction in that exact muscle that you want to work and then fully releasing it and elongating it and taking it through the full range of motion and then doing it 10, 15, 20 times for the repetitions, for the time under tension, that is how you create muscle development for any muscle that you want to work. Hope that helps.
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You’ve been listening to the Core Balance Podcast, I'm your host Chris Janke-Bueno. We'll talk again next time. Until then let's be fit, let's be healthy, let's be happy. It feels good to move, so keep moving.
Stop relying on willpower, motivational tricks, and pump-up strategies and learn how to top into your inner fitness fire with Chris' 60-minute audio book: Ignite Your Fitness Passion (published 2015)
Relieve your back pain with this easy-to-follow video program designed to get to the root cause of your pain: muscle imbalance. Check out the Back Pain Module.
Learn the basic principles that make a successful fitness program with Chris' 60-page book, Functional Strength: The Key To Pain-Free Movement (published 2008)