Abdominals are an important muscle group
of your body.Of course, if you have strong abdominals your belly is going to look great.
You could even sport a set of those washboard abs everyone wants on the beach.
But we often forget that abdominals protect the back.
If your abs are strong, you have a very good chance of saying goodbye to back pain.
Abdominal muscles are not the kind of muscles
you can just exercise without thinking. They’re not like the bicep where, if you simply bend your elbow while you have weight in your hand, it’s going to work anyway. Doing a crunch, leg lift, or any other abdominal exercise you can easily complete the exercise by using other body parts, like your neck, back, legs or arms.
Abdominal exercises are definitely a mind-body exercise.
You really need to think about the muscles that you’re using in order to get what you want out of the exercises. It’s important to make sure that you have all of the smallest details down when performing abdominal exercises and for sure your mind needs to be connected to your body at that time. (Watch my videos and get some of the small details that you may not know. Without them, you may be holding yourself back from getting the abdominal strength, and tone, that you want.)
I had some customers who had been hard-core exercising
and came to me complaining of back pain. I found that even though they had a regular abdominal exercise routine, they were not actually using their abs during the abdominal exercises. In fact, they were making use of their legs and arms and back and not using much of their abdominals at all. I took them back to very basic, and mindful abdominal exercises, and started from scratch.
It was impressive to me that immediately after they completed the abdominal exercises
with mindfulness, their back felt better. They practiced the basic abdominal exercise I have in the video for several weeks, and then went back to their more intense versions – with much better form – and it was goodbye back pain for them.
If it takes you a while to do this, seemingly simple abdominal exercise correctly,
don’t be discouraged. Many of my clients take weeks if not months in order to actually figure out how to work the abs and not the legs or the back or the neck.
The best way to start is by imprinting
your entire back and most of your spine on the floor or mat while moving the arms and legs. This is how you can get great biofeedback on yourself as to whether you’re working your abs optimally.
How to do it:
- Use your front body (abdominals and front of ribs) to push your entire back body down into the floor – including back ribs, spine, and hips.
- Pull your belly button down and hold your belly in as well.
- Keep your hips and spine in place while the arms and legs move through the exercise. Don’t let your back pop off the floor, don’t let your hips rock. This requires all of your abs to work together.
- Watch the video for more details, and for levels 1 and 2 of the exercise. This exercise is a great start to core stability and works the overall core.
In MindBodyBlast, my online course, I help students to get mind-body connected with every exercise, from beginner to advanced. Exercising with mindfulness is one way to ensure you’re getting the most you can from your workouts, exercising the right muscles at the right time, and never wasting time.