Abs, abs, abs. Everyone wants abs.
Sorry what was I writing about before Ryan Gosling appeared? Oh yeah, abs…
If you want abs bad enough, you actually DO abs. If you REALLY want abs, you watch what you put in your mouth. But what most people forget about ab work is that it’s not just the abdominal muscles you need to work in order to have a six-pack. You’ve got to have a strong lower back in order to support your growing abs (growing in strength, mind you).
This is where I would say most people make a mistake. Core work includes both the abdominal muscles and the lower back muscles. You cannot work one and not the other. If you do, you’re likely in for some pain or injury.
Your lower back muscles protect you when you do squats, lunges, step-ups, cleans, overhead press, and more. Literally these muscles help protect your spinal cord. If they are weak, you are more likely to severely injure yourself. Your abs protect your spinal cord, too. That’s why it is so important to balance your core work.
For every 100 ab exercises you do, you should do at least 50 low back exercises. Not sure what to do? Any of these will work.
In this compilation, I progress from basic to more advanced. If you’re just adding these to your routine, start with your feet on the ground and only lift your upper body off the floor. Keep your arms by your side, stretched out wide, or over your head. Always keep your head facing the floor in line with your spine. Hold for 1-2 seconds at the top for each rep. As you gain more strength, both your feet and your arms should be coming off the ground into the classic “Superman” position. But you can modify and keep your arms by your side if you want.
Other variations include opposite arm, opposite leg. If you want to work on your upper back also, try moving your arms in one of two ways – a lat pulldown motion or a breaststroke motion. Squeeze your shoulder blades and hold a few seconds. If you really want a back burner, do “swimmers,” the last move in the video.
Bottom line is that whenever you work your core, don’t forget your back! And pin up a pic of Ryan or Adam for inspiration 🙂