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By Kelly Marshall BSc (Hons), Dip PT, NASM, SFS, IFS
Most of us have a lifestyle that doesn't neccesarily support our bodies' needs and this can leave us with an unactivated, untoned midrift we'd like to change. Its 50% good nutrition and 50% activation of the deeper and superficial abdominal muscles that will allow this change. So here's a couple of solutions for the latter part of the equation that you can do at home.
This is a stabilisation exercise that focuses on the ACTIVATION of the transverse abdominals - knows as your TVA. The transverse abdominals are a ring of muscle that sits around your lower spine like an internal corset and plays a vital role in protecting the lumbar (lower) spine from damage. This exercise is simple and designed to be done anytime! Especially when you find yourself in a sedentary position for more than 30 mins, (sitting at a desk or in a car!)
Hold the tension for as long as you remember, although it wont be long to start with. The more you practice this manouvre the more automatic it will become. By strengthening your TVA and retraining it to automatically activate and stay where it should, you can visibly reduce the size of your waist as well as protecting your lumbar spine in the long-term. Do it as often as you remember, no one will even know when your doing it! Once you can activate these muscles and it's a regular habit, add in the next exercise.
This exercise activates the lower, middle and the upper portion of the abdominals and so is a fantastic exercise for achieving an improvement in muscle tone. However, it is a test of co-ordination and should only be attempted if you are able to do the drawing in manouvre effectively.
IMPORTANT: the range of movement is determined by the individual's level of core strength so start SMALL!
|Exercise||How long/many?||How often?|
|Drawing-in manouvre||As long as you remember
||As often as you remember|
|Opposite arm & leg crunches||Work up to 10-12 each side||2-3 times a week,
not on consecutive days
Next time we'll focus on another body part, which will be the legs (and more specifically the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus) and look at ways you can make real changes in the comfort of your own home with minimal equipment.
Did you know In a recent survey of 274 Nutracheck Members 2 in 3 people found our food diary approach more successful than their previous weight loss attempts!!