The Super Ab-Core Workout

Dieting, abdominal exercises, and aerobics play a part in developing fit, firm and lean abdominal muscles, but each method by itself is not enough to give you the midsection you want. The Super Ab-Core Workout is a comprehensive approach that will trim inches from your waist, build a powerful and functional core and help you develop a lean, athletic-looking body.

Core Stability: The Key To Functional, Pain-Free Movement

Strong, fit core muscles allow force transfer from the lower to upper body. Peripheral joints and muscles receive increased stress in the face of core muscle instability. Poor core strength and endurance increase the risk of injuries to the back, knees and shoulders and result in poor, weak performance. While most experts think that core fitness is important, the relationship between improved core strength and sports performance is unclear.
Some of the possible benefits of core fitness include:

• Enhanced capacity to transfer force from legs to upper body
• Improved balance and equilibrium
• Provides intra-abdominal stability that protects the spine and lower back
• Increased speed
• More efficient use of muscle power
• Decreased injury risk
• Better control of body momentum
• Increased ability to change direction rapidly
• Improved muscular coordination
• Improved posture

The core maintains body control by keeping the body mass over its base of support during dynamic movements. Core support works much like a camping tent. The spine is like the pole holding up the tent and the muscles are like the ropes that stabilize the pole. The tent is most stable when all the ropes are tight and adjusted at the same tension. The tent will fall over in a stiff wind if the ropes are loose or if one rope is tighter than the others. The core muscles lie in layers— some are deep and some are superficial— which increase central body stability. Muscular layers work much like the layers of plywood to increase strength and stability. The entire core is strongest and provides the most support when all of its elements are fit and toned.

Core muscle endurance is more important than strength for stabilizing the spine and thorax. Muscles with good endurance are able to hold the spine in place and serve as stable platforms for large body movements. Spinal stability decreases as muscles fatigue, which places abnormally high stress on other muscles and supporting structures (e.g., the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee).

The Super Ab-Core Workout

The program was designed based on cutting-edge technology that identified the best exercises for building specific ab and core muscles. Scientists use a sophisticated technique called electromyography (EMG) to help determine muscle activation levels. EMG involves placing electrodes over targeted muscles and measuring their electrical activity during various movements and exercise intensities. Other techniques, such as ultrasound and MRI, measure changes in deep muscles in response to specific exercises.
The studies showed that no single exercise activated all the core muscles equally. Factors such as movement pattern, static versus dynamic postures, and hip position determine muscle activation levels. Consequently, the program includes a variety of exercises that stress the major core muscles. The program includes the following ab-core exercises:

Crunches on Floor
• Crunches with Feet on Bench
Bicycle
Crunches on Exercise Ball
Reverse Crunches on Bench
• Side-Bridges
Front-Bridges
Superman on Exercise Ball
• Bird-Dogs

Perform the ab-core exercises three times per week. Do them before general weight training and aerobics if your primary goal is developing the ab-core muscles. Otherwise, do general weight training first, followed by the ab-core workout and then do the aerobics. For dynamic ab-core exercises (crunches, bicycle), begin with one set of 10 repetitions. For static exercises (bridges, Supermans, bird-dogs), hold the position for 10 seconds. Begin with one set of each exercise and increase the number of sets as fitness improves.

General Weight Training

Train with weights at least two days per week. Include exercises that build the major muscle groups such as presses, squats, kettlebell swings, pull-ups, cleans, deadlifts, curls and dips. Weight training increases muscle mass, which accelerates metabolic rate and increases nervous signals to the abdominal fat stores to release and use fat. Increased muscle mass boosts caloric expenditure during the day and cuts abdominal fat.

Cardio

Toned, strong abdominal muscles won’t do you much good if they are covered by fat. The combination of ab-core exercises, general weight training and aerobics is optimal for improving the appearance and function of your abdominal muscles and core. Do at least 30 to 90 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, such as walking, jogging or cycling, five days per week. Begin conservatively and gradually increase the volume and intensity of exercise. Cut back if you feel excessively fatigued or develop overuse injuries. Do your cardio after ab-core and weight training.

Nutrition

As long as you don’t overeat, you will probably lose weight doing this exercise program. But, the plan is most effective if you cut back on caloric intake. Try to eat a Mediterranean diet that emphasizes complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and olive oil. Many studies suggest that people should consume fewer carbohydrates to lose weight faster. Carbs are important when you exercise intensely, so don’t completely cut them out of your diet. The best advice is to eat a balanced diet and cut down on snacks, desserts and large portions. A good nutrient proportion for losing fat and supplying energy for exercise is to consume 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fats and 30 percent proteins. Emphasize complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Avoid saturated and trans fats. Instead, eat more monounsaturated fats, found in vegetable products and the fats found in fish. Non-fat dairy products are excellent sources of protein and may help control body fat.

Super Ab-Core Workout

This program consists of abdominal-core exercises, general weight training, and aerobics. For best results, eat a Mediterranean-type diet and cut down moderately on caloric intake. For ab-core and general weight training, do more sets as fitness increases until you can do 3 sets of each exercise.

Day Exercise Sets and Reps Or Tim
Monday Ab-Core Exercises
Crunches on Floor
Crunch with Feet on Bench
Bicycle
Crunches on Exercise Ball
Reverse Crunch on Bench
Side Bridges
Front-Bridges
Supermans on Exercise Ball
Bird-Dogs

General Weight Training
(choose 6-10 exercises)

Cardio

1 set of 10 repetitions
1 set of 10 repetitions
1 set of 10 repetitions
1 set of 10 repetitions
1 set of 10 repetitions
1 set 10 seconds (each side)
1 set 10 seconds
1 set 10 seconds
1 set 10 seconds (each side)

1 set of 10 repetitions, each exercise30 to 90 minutes moderate-intensity endurance exercise (walking, running, cycling, etc)

Tuesday Cardio 30 to 90 minutes moderate-intensity endurance exercise
Wednesday Ab-Core Exercises
General Weight Training
Cardio
Same as Monday
Thursday Rest
Friday Ab-Core Exercises
General Weight Training
Cardio
Same as Monday
Saturday Rest or Cardio 30 to 90 minutes moderate-intensity endurance exercise
Sunday Rest

EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS

Curl-Ups

Lie on your back on the floor with right knee bent, right foot flat on the floor, and left leg extended. Place your hands across your chest. Contract your rectus abdominis (front abdominal muscle), drawing your breastbone downward. Try not to lift your neck or shoulders; let the abs do the work. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.

The Super Ab-Core Workout

Curl-Ups (with feet on a bench)

Lie on your back perpendicular to a bench. Place both feet flat on the surface of the bench and your hands across your chest. Contract your rectus abdominis, drawing your breastbone downward. Try not to lift your neck or shoulders; let the abs do the work. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.

The Super Ab-Core Workout

Bicycles

Lie flat on the floor on your lower back with your hands beside your head. Bring your knees toward your chest to about a 45-degree angle and make a bicycle pedaling motion with your legs, touching your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.

The Super Ab-Core Workout

Crunches on Exercise Ball

Lie on the ball on your back and bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands across your chest. Contract your front abdominal muscles, drawing your breastbone downward. Try not to lift your neck or shoulders; let the abs do the work. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.

The Super Ab-Core Workout

Reverse Crunches on Bench

Lie on a bench and stabilize your body by grabbing the bench above your head. Lift your legs so your feet are pointed at the ceiling and bend your knees slightly. Contract your lower abdominal muscles and lift your tailbone off the bench by pushing your feet towards the ceiling and pushing your lower back into the bench. Return to the starting position. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.

The Super Ab-Core Workout

Side-Bridges

Lie on your side and support your body between your forearm and knees. As you increase fitness, first move your non-support arm across your body as you hold the side-bridge; later, support your weight between your forearm and feet. Do this exercise on your left and right sides and try to hold your spine in a neutral position (normal curves)—avoid letting it sag during the exercise. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Rest. Repeat as fitness increases.

The Super Ab-Core Workout

Front-Bridges (plank)

In a prone position, support your weight between your forearms and toes. Keep your back straight and head in a neutral position. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Rest. Repeat as fitness increases.

The Super Ab-Core Workout

Supermans

Lie on a stability ball at chest level with your legs extended to the rear. Extend your arms and place both hands in front of you as though you were flying like Superman. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Rest. Repeat as fitness increases.

The Super Ab-Core Workout

Bird-Dogs

Balance on your hands and knees. Lift your right leg and left arm and extend your leg to the rear and reach to the front with your arm. Don’t arch your back during this exercise. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Rest. Repeat as fitness increases.

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