How Is Your Abdominal Training  Plan Working? 

Mention abdominal training or core exercises and most people immediately think of sit-ups. Traditionally the go to move to flatten your belly and trim your waist. However, sit-ups are probably THE single worst exercise known for this purpose. 

Rather than balancing the muscles that surround and support your spine the wrong kind of training can cause more muscle imbalances. 

Another visible effect of unbalanced core strength is a pot belly. Yes! Training your abs wrong actually makes you look fatter!…

When you train your abs the wrong way you over-tighten a set of muscles called your hip flexors…

One of the hip flexors — the psoas major — originates on the vertebrae of the lower back and inserts on the top of your thigh bone…

When you shorten and tighten your hip flexors with the wrong kinds of abs training you actually pull your pelvis forward and down. This gives you a sagging belly that makes you look like you’re 5-10 lbs heavier than you actually are!…

And not only will you look fatter than you are… your distorted pelvis will give you serious back pain. Yet the danger to your back can be much more severe…

Here’s where your quest for flat abs can be dangerous!…

Most abs exercises force your spine into extreme flexion – bending or curling forward. Yet we now know this increases something called intra-discal pressure. Basically this is like pressing on a tube of toothpaste and increasing the pressure on the paste inside.

If you press hard enough the toothpaste will squirt out. And that’s exactly what happens to the fluids inside your disc when enough pressure builds up — causing what’s called disc protrusion or worse… disc hernias…

It can take months of careful treatment to recover from disc damage. Pain and discomfort  can stop your normal everyday activities and definitely put a stop to your flat ab dreams. 

So to find the right way for you to train your abs that gives you a healthy core, beautiful posture, and a stunning midsection you have to consider lots of of different factors. 

        Rectus Abdominis

The rectus abdominis is the long muscle that runs from your rib cage to your pelvis. It’s dissected vertically by a thin sheath of connective tissue, and horizontally by tendinous attachments that create six pack abs most guys are looking for. In my experience most folk have to focus completely on reducing bodyfat to get the ‘6 Pack’ look. 

The rectus abdominis helps to flex – bend forward – the spinal column. More importantly it stabilises the trunk  by balancing the back muscles and controls the trunk during movements involving arms and legs. This is the secret to way I train the core in both my Fitcamps and Pilates sessions. 

    The Obliques

The internal and external obliques work like a corset to define your waistline. These cinch you up and give you that V-tapered and slim-waisted look that is hardwired to be attractive to both men and women.

Pilates activates your obliques in a way that “wraps” your core in a protective sheath that will open up a whole new world of abs flattening exercise that’s been shown to work 3x faster than traditional training…

I include a 360′ approach to core or trunk training.  The result is a strong, mobile functioning spine in all directions of movement 

    The Posterior Chain

The posterior chain is simply the backside of your body. Its primary muscles include the lower back, gluteus maximus (butt), hamstrings, and spinal erectors

You may be scratching your head wondering why it’s included in the three Abdominal Fields of Action. Here’s why..

The Posterior Chain is the glue that binds your core together and will allow you to achieve the “spinal neutral” position – or the Natural Arch you’ve heard me talk about in class, that is central to the way your healthy spine works. 

So, when you next think about doing some exercises for your core remember it’s not just sit-ups and crunches you need a 3D approach to balance your posture and protect your spine. 
Train Hard, Eat Clean, Expect Results 

Mission Visible Abs – At Any Age #2

Ab-Defining Strategies Are Extremely Difficult To Find

It’s not your fault that you don’t know how to get ripped abs quickly. Let’s get that clear before we go any further.

I know clients that have wasted hours and hours researching on the web finding contradicting information! No one really has the time to sort through thousands of web pages?

Now, while abdominal workouts are easy to find, so much of the abdominal strategies are the same re-hashed rubbish from back in the 80’s or promote exercise that work your hip flexors instead of your abs. In fact, you can do 500 situps and not really target your abs the way you want to.

Are your hip flexors taking over you ab exercises? It’s very possible….

Also, I’m guessing you haven’t spent over a decade studying physics, biomechanics, anatomy and exercise physiology like I have. Very few trainers know about this, because most of them get their info from simplistic training certifications or uninformed “gurus” who simply copy the next “guru”! It’s the blind following the blind and a big mistake.

Unless you fix this problem, you’ll be able to crank out 500 situps a day without a single one of them truly targeting your abs – which means you’ll have a sore lower back, poor posture and “ab development”.

WARNING: “Hip Flexor Dominant” Workouts Will RUIN Your Abs

Can you say for certain if your ab routine is focused on building your abs or your hip-flexors?

If you’re scratching your head wondering why your abs aren’t more developed or show more than it’s because the so-called ab exercises you’re following do not really work the abs at all. You’re following “conventional” ab exercises that are not primary abdominal exercises but instead work the iliopsoas muscles – the hip flexors. And remember, just because you feel a “burning” in your abs does NOT mean you’re working them, in most cases they are just acting as stabilizers!

Choosing exercises that make your abdominals act as a stabilizer instead of the prime mover results in bad lifting habits and as you know, bad habits die hard. The longer you do hip-flexor dominant exercises the harder it will be to target your abs precisely, which will prevent you from ever bringing out the full shape and separation of the abdominals.

In my Pilates sessions we complete series of exercises that target all core stabilisers and with a 3D approach use more muscles than most sessions.
Try out June challenge. – see how you get on!


Mission Visible Abs – At Any Age!

June 11th, 2014
RE: 4 Simple Workouts To Get Ripped Abs In Minutes A Day

ATTENTION: Men who already have shredded abs are NOT invited to read this short article.


Did you know that 99% of “conventional” ab workouts and exercises target the hip flexors more than the abs? It’s true. “Hip-flexor dominant” exercises and technique is at the heart of inferior ab development. Not knowing how to de-emphasize your hip flexors will cripple your ability to reveal the full shape and separation of your abdominals — not to mention you’ll end up with life-long lower

Did you know over-powering hip flexors ALSO result in weak lower abs? This is bad news considering the lower abs are very stubborn, hard to define and are usually the most under-developed part of the mid-section…


Did you know that, 9 times out of 10, when your abs are “on fire” during your workout it’s because they are only STABILIZING and NOT the prime movers? Can you imagine how much faster your abs would start popping when you learn how to minimize the use of your hips flexors and select the best exercises, sequencing and technique to target and isolate your abdominals primarily?

Most likely you’ve never heard what I’m about to share, that’s normal. Even when I was getting an Exercise Science degree from the University of Western Ontario and even after I took dozens of the “best” personal training certifications, they never taught this info. Nor did I come across any of this info watching amateur You Tube videos, scouring all corners of the Internet or reading the latest fitness mags… Which is why it’s CRITICAL that you learn these strategies NOW or else you’ll continue to waste your time in the gym and money on “ab gizmos” that belong in the circus…

#2 Reason NEVER to do Crunches!

Rock Hard Abs- at any age? Yes it is possible….
But probably not with the training you’re doing now



Nerve damage is another potential consequence of too many crunches. The crunch movement puts an unhealthy strain on the back right at its weakest point, which coincidentally is the section that contains the most nerves.
Damage to this weak area of the spine can result in serious, chronic pain that can last a lifetime and inhibit mobility and flexibility.

I often meet well developed clients that find Core exercises almost impossible- in Yoga and Pilates your core works all the time to stabilise and support every movement you make. In my Fatloss Fitcamps core exercises are vital and effective part of sessions.

REASON #2: Nerve Damage is Another Potential Problem


Your core is made up of much more than just abdominal muscles. It’s the connection between shoulders and pelvis, it stabilises and controls the many movements of your spine. It’s important to work and develop the complete core – your back, hips and chest and of course your BUTT.

Next post Reason #3 Avoid Spine Wear & Tear
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Thanks Jax.

Six Pack or Flat Abs with Pilates


Fitness Trends

Over the last few years one of the most popular words in fitness has been ‘Core Stability’, even though you usually get something  else entirely.  Without a strong core your body simply cannot perform properly. I know there is a lot of emphasis still put on sit-ups and crunches but honestly I think it is because they make you feel like you are working your abdominals. Your core is more than just abdominals, your back, butt and hips are involved as is your waist. So just moving in one or two ways cannot do the job properly or safely.


Crunches give you an “ab burn” and a little increase in your heart rate that adds to the overall perception that you’re working hard.  Too many and you could de-stabilise your core, leaving you open to all kinds of back, shoulder and hip problems.


Pilates Style Training

I know you can accomplish that very thing with a good Pilates style core workout. You can also avoid overloading your vertebral discs with unnecessary stress, protect your neck and avoid using your hips, all the problems crunches bring with them.


Effective Core Routines

The key to making Pilates core workouts effective is to choose the right exercises and to push yourself by progressing your exercises. Don’t be satisfied with doing the same exercises over and over, your muscles become used to them in a couple of weeks.  If you always work at the same speed, can finish every repetition and stay inside your comfort zone you’re cheating yourself and missing out on great results.


Progressive Pilates

When I plan a Pilates abdominal sequence I think about levels of progression so I can challenge everyone in that group.  I think about body position, angles, stability and support.  I’ll try to change the work for core muscles from active to passive. Sometimes you have to put effort into keeping your torso static while you move your arms and legs, while another exercise might move your body while stabilizing your limbs.  This variety, mixed with twists and rotations gives you the opportunity to strengthen and define muscles, while staying long and lean.  True 3 D core training is different and envigorating. For something challenging try a Pilates Fitcamp – it’s faster, intense sequences require effort – you may even sweat.


Pain Free Posture

I know that Pilates offers everyone the chance to develop pain free posture without crunches and sit-ups. I’d go further and say that if your trainer asks you to do crunches, hooks your feet under a bar or weight to enable you to sit-up, or holds your legs down while you work out…. 


Does your gym have Ab Curlers or Ab Cradles?

They just don’t work – you’ll do hundreds of repetitions, eat up your precious leisure time – and time is your only truly limited resource. Don’t waste it on exercises that won’t help your body in any way. You’ll get that little muscle burn and not much else.


You must ask yourself a few important questions……

Perhaps next time you train you’ll wonder

Why am I paying for this?    

Am I getting results from this Gym membership?    

When did my trainer qualify?        

Have they kept up to date with current understanding of how my body works?

I would suggest – No!. 


Big Gyms Love Equipment

– and lots of it.  Impressive and expensive, it keeps you busy and you can watch TV and keep your headphones on…. Or would you rather actually meet the new friends you were promised when you joined or have a laugh while you train ?


To do that you’d need a skilled instructor that can teach, entertain, keep you focused on how the exercise feels, correct your form and lead you towards a strong, lean and healthy body. 


It’s Time To Choose

But, it’s your choice – keep doing the crunches – keep paying your gym membership and make friends with a physical therapist and I’ll see you in class when they refer you to a Pilates Instructor for ‘Proper Core Training’


JaxAllenFitness xx

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