So my blogs have been sparse this busy month and all over the map with subject matter; from pillow reviews to fasting techniques. I’ve got mad ideas for blog topics but right now, it’s about the questions I’m getting most frequently and situations that just keep coming up.
Let’s talk Kangaroo…
The “pooch” or pouch for the baby kangaroo in the above pic is natural for the animal to have. But if you have a suspicion that your pooch could be worked on (and not surgically!) and improved well, let’s get into some background and finally some solutions. Not the easiest thing in the world for a male trainer to talk about as this subject, for the most part, I’ll never face it, nor will my guy clients. We like to pack spare tires instead.
Situation 1: Pregnancy-Induced Pooch
Now, if you had the flattest tummy pre-baby poppin’ I VERY much suggest you listen to me when I say that doing endless crunches or other exercises may actually make the problem worse!
If that is the situation, I would point you to this excellent post I discovered which talks about a unique situation called diastis recti. The author of the blog post speaks and demonstrates from experience a method of improving such a situation. Go read that here: http://www.momaroo.com/758365915/rehabilitation-of-my-abs-post-baby/
Situation 2: Lower Abdominals That Don’t Respond
This is a little more common. There are a few reasons: lack of body awareness and how to activate those muscles; hip flexing musculature taking over; lower and/or thoracic spine inflexibility/stiffness; and lack of activity in that area. Think about it, it’s not natural to engage and “flex” your lower abs when you sit on your butt. And how long in a day are you sitting? The longer you’re sitting, the greater the chance of the pooch creeping up on you.
First, the stuff you can pinch with your fingers has ZERO to do with the lower ab musculature. Fat is fat, it needs to be burned off. Skin elasticity is a separate issue and I know nothing about how to improve that, consult a dermatologist instead. We’re talking about when you poke through all that jiggle, the wall you run into is your abs.
Firming, tightening and in many cases: improving the size and thickness of the abs, in particular, the rectus abdominus (the “6 pack” muscle) can make a dramatic difference. Here it is in red:
If when poking and feeling around that muscle in red you don’t feel the lines between the “ball” type structure of the abs, it’s a good sign you just need some old-fashioned ab strength work. Personally, I love cable crunches! I use them often with myself and I have sworn many a time that if I had only 1 exercise for the 6 pack muscle to be worked, it would be that one. I have a unique way of doing cable crunches that doesn’t actually involve a “crunch” but instead focuses on the bracing (static contraction) or anti-extension factor of using an absurd amount of weight to bully the weight down and control it up each rep. See that in the 2nd exercise of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGidiE2Isso
But, don’t let me get ahead of myself. I need to bring you back to the whole reason your muscles are poochy in the first place which could very well be either a very lordodic (excessive lumbar/lower spine curvature) and/or the inability to get the lower portion of the rectus abdominus to “feel” the contraction.
I address all of this and give you solutions on both improving quality of all abdominal exercises (SMR of spine and hip flexing group) to a solution of learning to activate/feel your lower abs, and lastly an exercise to directly target the lower portion of the abdominal musculature.
Watch that 25 minute instructional video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaMpvZEMN8o
As for the half foam roller, they can be picked up at many different sport stores but I recommend buying a black (max firmness) one which I personally picked up from Fitter First.
The Multi-Pronged Approach
For half of the stuff you can pinch (fat; skin like I said, I can’t help with) being active is number 1, which first and foremost means stop sitting so damn much! Number 2 is diet, get it clean, drop the wheat, mind your sugars. Some fasting may be a good option if you read this and find it could work for you (heed the warnings in the blog post!). Some high intensity cardio is a VERY good idea for burning off some excess fuel stores. And women, you need weight/resistance training. Seriously…did you know an extra 5lbs of muscle equates to roughly 300-500 extra calories burned each and every single day!! Can’t get to a gym, do this (watch the instructional video for this too) or some of the other videos I have for you on my YouTube channel.
Any questions on abdominal training, feel free to ask!