A Fantastic Selection of Ab Workouts and Core Exercises for Men and Women to be performed at Home or at the Gym. All Preloaded on the New FX-Sport VRX Headphones with Your Own Music, using the Built In Premium Mp3 Player. Hundreds of other Workouts and Programs also Preloaded.

Ab exercises? Core exercises? What’s the difference?

By Sally Wombwell. Fitness Trainer, IFBB Pro Fitness Certified.

Skip Straight To All Abdominal Workouts?

What exactly is your “Core”?

Your Core is NOT only your “abs”. The core refers to any muscle that attaches to the spinal column or the pelvis i.e. Diaphragm to Pelvic Floor (top to bottom) and Abs to Spine (front to back). The hoop like tension around the mid section acts like our body’s natural weight lifting belt. Many of these muscles are hidden underneath the exterior muscles people usually train. These deeper muscles are often more important for our true core strength.

The core muscles can be divided into two groups according to function and attributes:

  1. Deep core muscles called local stabilizing muscles. These muscles include the transversus abdominis, lumbar multifidus, internal oblique muscle and quadratus lumborum. They are mainly responsible for spinal stability.
  2. Shallow core muscles, also known as global stabilizing muscles. These include the rectus abdominis (the visible “six pack”), internal and external oblique muscles, erector spinae, quadratus lumborum, and hip muscle groups. These muscles are not directly attached to the spine, but connect the pelvis to the thoracic ribs or leg joints to enable additional spinal control. They counterbalance external forces impacting the spine to also maintain spinal stability.

So our “Core” acts like a stabilizer?

Yes, but our core has many functions and the benefits of a well balanced, strong, mobile and conditioned mid-section will promote good posture and dynamic performance as well as a strong and stable spine. Our core most often acts as a stabilizer and an area to transfer force, rather than a prime mover. If we have a strong core, we have the ability to produce force with respect to stability and be in control of that force. It has functional movement in all three planes of motion.

Andy Waldhem in his article “Assessment of Core Stability: Developing Practical Models”, elaborates on this, saying there are “five different components of core stability: Strength, endurance, flexibility, motor control, and function”.
Research also shows that athletes with higher core stability have a lower risk of injury: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3806175/
In addition to movement, a strong core will also aid with digestion and breathing.

Posture and Performance.

Imbalances in the core will affect both posture and performance and can create a general dysfunction throughout key pathways of various body systems.


Maintaining good mobility & posture through your joints will help keep muscles in balance. Repetitive strain or over-use in the work place in activities and sports will also contribute to these issues.

Of course trauma or injury will also send the body off kilter but this is where the core plays a vital role. Stability starts from within and moves outward towards the external extremities.

When imbalances occur it creates weakness, lack of power, instability, possibly soreness, stiffness and even pain. A high proportion of back problems start with core issues. When back pain strikes, a common remedy is a routine of progressive core exercises to strengthen & lengthen the supporting muscles, reinforce good posture (sitting, standing and kneeling) as well as improving techniques & strength during lifting, carrying, twisting, reaching overhead and balance.

So core strength training can reduce chronic low back pain?

According to: Rozenberg S Rev Prat. 2008 Feb 15; 58(3):265-72., chronic low back pain is “the most frequently reported clinical symptom of orthopedic diseases in Europe and the United States”.

The study linked here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4395677/ suggests that core strength training is more effective than typical resistance training for alleviating chronic low back pain. It also says that “All of the core strength training strategies examined in this study assist in the alleviation of chronic low back pain”.

So it does appear that a regular schedule of core workouts can help relieve chronic back pain.

I want a strong core and a chiseled six pack!    Well…it’s time to trim that body fat!

It’s no secret. A well defined six-pack is down to the REMOVAL OF THE AB FAT [70%] and exercising the Core [30%].

Genetics plays a small part for the individual layout and shape of the abdominals, but we all have those abdominal muscles!

How do we train the ‘Core’ effectively?

Condition, Strengthen & lengthen…

A healthy core is a functional one and is essential for stabilization and control through a movement or series of movements. An aesthetically pleasing six pack, or Rectus abdominals (R,A), is also functional if balanced with all the other core muscles. However, the body can become dysfunctional if it is overworked and creating tension in other areas of the core. A tight muscle is a ‘tired’ and weak muscle. Muscles work in opposition. So if the R.A are tight, then the opposing erecti spinae will be long or over-stretched and relatively weak. A lack of conditioning at these ranges of movement is what causes it to be weak.

Movements involving the core are any exercises and activities involving weights or force which can involve:

  1. Dynamic movements.
  2. Isolated isometrics.
  3. Balancing.
  4. Bending
  5. Rotating movements.

Can’t I just do a lot of sit ups?

Most dynamic or multi joint movement covers a lot of the core as the body works as one complete unit when stabilizing the body. The body also works as one unit when creating power, resisting and assisting force or moving in multiple planes with control. Having the ability to do a lot of “crunches” does not necessarily mean your entire core is strong. Likewise if you have a lean physique, showing off a set of beautiful washboard abs does not mean it is necessarily strong either. However you can still have a strong core if you have a layer of fat surrounding your abdomen covering your abs.

Find a balance that works for you. Your diet is a science as well as a process. Be prepared for trial and error and do more of what works. Try incorporating some core moves each day and if overweight, reduce your daily food intake by 250 calories. Be realistic to your lifestyle and be consistent. Then the results will leave you walking taller, feeling stronger and looking leaner.

Devices used to imitate the ‘Core’…Is the weight belt needed for the gym?

There is a time and place for this equipment, but in short, anything used to imitate the core will in the long term weaken the core or encourage these muscles to become lazy. Belts should only be used if providing extra support for heavy loads when training in a more advanced way [heavy squats etc]. Another use of a belt would be for the rehabilitation of injuries. However, the floor or a bench or seated machines can also support the core to make an exercise easier and restrict full range of movement.

Movements using different planes to support core conditioning are:

  1. Rotation/bending (twisting, leaning).
  2. Resistance/force (pull /push).
  3. Multi-joint (Run,leap,jump,hop)
  4. Isolation/isometric (hovering with balance – eg plank).

What are the best exercises for the core?

There are many exercises to choose from, but incorporating different types of exercising will get even better results. Mixing things up also keeps your routines interesting.
Categories of exercise include :-

  • Isometric (Static)
  • Isolated (Specific muscles)
  • Multi joint (Compound moves)
  • Dynamic (with movement)
  • Power (Strength & Speed)
  • Functional movement.

A good strategy is to choose a basic exercise then add a progression.

A few examples are :-

  • Floor Plank. Progress to Mountain Climbers. Opposite knee to elbow
  • Push ups. Progress to Burpee with jump forward.
  • Diagonal crunch. Progress to Wood chop
  • Crunches. Progress to Halo’s
  • Sit-ups. Progress to Turkish Get-ups.
  • Double Kettle Bell Swing. Progress to Single Arm swing
  • Traveling Walking Lunges [with good posture]. Progress to adding a weight over head or at your sides.

Note:

  1. All exercises need to be performed correctly in order to be effective.
  2. You want to feel a mind – body connection with all movements and have a sense of the area you are working.
  3. ALL movements can be modified to suit intensity, fitness and limitations (if any) to provide a challenge without jeopardizing technique.
  4. Intensity and fatigue are what will develop muscular strength and endurance.

Most dynamic, multi joint movements cover a lot of the core as the body works as one complete unit stabilizing the body, controlling the movement, creating power (strength + speed) resisting force (push & pull) and moving in multiple planes. A more functional approach like this will:

  1. Assist everyday life.
  2. Increase performance in specific activities, jobs and sports.
  3. Reduce the likelihood of injury & improve overall confidence and self esteem.

We all have Abdominals!

If we are standing upright, walking and moving we have an active core. Abs are made visual in the kitchen [diet] and in the gym [or working out at home], but it’s important to realize they are crucial for functioning in everyday life.

Remember, if you put your mind to it and commit to getting that “six pack” and strong core…YOU CAN DO IT!

The Ab workouts below solely target the abdominals and core.

These increase in difficulty with 1 being the easiest and 9 the most challenging. They are great as a workout in themselves, or as a finisher after your cardio session.
Click on the workout to see more details.

ALL PRELOADED ON VRX HEADPHONES

  1. Abdominals workout 1. 2 sets of 4 exercises. 30 seconds on, 30 seconds rest. 8 minutes total [Beginner]
  2. Abdominals workout 2. 3 sets of 4 exercises. 30 seconds on, 30 seconds rest. 12 minutes total [Beginner/Intermediate]
  3. Abdominals workout 3. 2 sets of 4 exercises. 40 seconds on, 30 seconds rest. 9.5 minutes total [Beginner/Intermediate]
  4. Abdominals workout 4. 2 sets of 5 exercises. 30 seconds on, 30 seconds rest. 10 minutes total [Intermediate]
  5. Abdominals workout 5. 2 sets of 5 exercises. 40 seconds on, 30 seconds rest. 12 minutes total [Intermediate]
  6. Abdominals workout 6. 3 sets of 4 exercises. 40 seconds on, 30 seconds rest. 14 minutes total [Intermediate]
  7. Abdominals workout 7. 3 sets of 5 exercises. 30 seconds on, 30 seconds rest. 15 minutes total [Intermediate/Advanced]
  8. Abdominals workout 8. 3 sets of 5 exercises. 40 seconds on, 30 seconds rest. 17.5 minutes total [Intermediate/Advanced]
  9. Abdominals workout 9. 3 sets of 5 exercises. 40 seconds on, 30 seconds rest. 17.5 minutes total. Includes a tougher type of sit up. [Advanced – tough but no acrobatics!]

The Ab workouts below are directly from the trainers we work with and are voiced by them.

These also solely target the abdominals and core.

Click on the workout to see more details.

The Workouts below are fat burning HIIT CIRCUITS. They involve a variety of exercises with Ab exercises included.

REMEMBER, if you want those six pack abs, you HAVE TO LOSE FAT as well as building your abdominals!

For a real fat burning session, maybe try a circuit after your standard cardio workout!

Click on a workout to see more information about it. ALL the workouts below are preloaded on the VRX headphones, as well as many other workouts in different fitness categories.

ALL PRELOADED ON THE VRX HEADPHONES

The workouts below are also fat burning HIIT circuits, but are directly from the trainers we work with and are voiced by them. They involve a variety of exercises, with Ab exercises included.

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