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Week Two of Resolution Solution

January 11th, 2009 by Rebecca Harper Editor

For the second week of ExerciseTV’s Resolution Solution, trainer Holly Perkins is back with some new tips as we focus on our abs and core. You can check out the exercises from the Resolution Solution show page, where you’ll find eight fitness routines, including a Core Blast, Plank moves, and an exercise you can try with a stability ball.

Holly is a Fitness Ambassador for New Balance and a personal trainer who has worked with stars like Adrian Grenier, Natasha Richardson and Howard Stern. She’s working with ExerciseTV to produce three new workout videos for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

To get started with the Abs and Core workouts featured in week 2 of the program, you will want 3- to 5-pound dumbbells, a 65-cm stability ball, a chair, and an exercise mat or comfortable flooring. The exercise videos are suitable for all levels — beginners should start slow, learn the exercises and progress over a few weeks, while advanced exercisers can add 5- to 10-pound dumbbells when appropriate, and complete additional sets of the workouts and exercises. Any first-timers should check with their physician before beginning any new exercise regime.

Hulu: How do these exercises work to strengthen abs and core?
Holly: When training the “core” and abdominal areas, it is important to do a variety of exercises. Crunch, twist and isometric exercises are all important to strengthen the four abdominal areas: rectus abdominus, internal obliques, external obliques and transverse abdominus. You will find a great variety in all of the featured videos and exercises. These exercises strengthen the ab muscles, thereby creating a stronger foundation for the back. Not only are these videos great for your abs, but your back with thank you, too.

Why is a strong core important to your overall health/fitness?
These days, many people think that the “core” is simply the abdominal muscles. In truth, the core refers to all the muscles that surround the spine and give it support and protection. Therefore the core includes your back muscles, your hip stabilizers and your abs, which include the obscure transverse abdominus. It is incredibly important to strengthen all areas so that the back and spine are healthy. A strong core will also increase the precision and efficiency of your movements, so that every body movement is effective and properly aligned. Your overall fitness level and ability will improve as you increase the strength and stability of your entire core. Also, you will be less likely to get hip, back, shoulder and knee injuries when your core is rock-solid.

If a user is short on time but still wants to do some ab work, what are the top three exercises in this routine?

Tight Torso, Ball Abs and Core Blast. [The Tight Torso routine is pictured below.)

How often should we plan to focus on abs and core?

Three to five times every week.

If you don’t have a stability ball, which exercises should you focus on?
Tight Torso, Core Blast and
Quick Abs, but stability balls are a great tool when training the core — you should buy one!

How does the plank exercise work? What makes the plank so effective in toning abs/core?
Plank exercises can either be static, holding exercises or dynamic, moving exercises. Both strengthen the core by collectively activating all of the abdominal muscles at one time. Most importantly, plank exercises activate the obscure transverse abdominus muscle. This muscle contracts in a horizontal fashion and brings the abdomen in towards the spine. Physical therapists and sport coaches agree that this is probably the most important “ab” exercise of them all. Notice that you do not “crunch” and flex the torso as you do with most traditional ab exercises. This type of contraction (isometric) causes a powerful stimulus to the core and teaches all of the associated ab muscles to work together to protect the spine.

How do you recommend mixing in exercises from week one with those found in week two?
Select two or three exercises from this week and add them in to your Week 1 workouts. Most of these exercises can be done every day and will work well with the strength exercises from week 1. Alternately, you can complete one day of training from Week 1, then complete Week 2 exercises the next day when you do cardio. You can alternate Week 1 and Week 2 exercises every day for six days, then take the seventh day off!

From the Week 2 videos, which workout is one of your clients’ favorites?

I use a version of Tight Torso with Chris Weitz (director of Twilight 2: New Moon and The Golden Compass) all the time. I’m not sure that he would agree it is a “favorite” exercise, but it certainly helps to create stronger abs and a more stable spine.

Holly provided lots of great info this week, and she’ll be back again next Monday as the Resolution Solution workouts go on to focus on total body conditioning. In the meantime, start working those abs!

Rebecca (),
Editor

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