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Posts Tagged ‘abdominal’

Yes, I cheated yesterday & I’m back up to 168lbs.  Yes, I am not makingaaa girly_girls_lift_weights_tshirt-p235039136489522999gsv1_325

 progress yet, but I’ll get to that in a moment.  So, I’m all excited about the running and then, wait. not so fast…

Here’s the deal with the Dr.  Seems I didn’t mess up my back last month – my back’s been messed up since birth.  Pars defect of spondylolisthesis.  This seems pretty crazy given the fact that my back has always been so strong.  But He’s got the fancy doctor’s office with the PA, nurse, waiting room & all, so I’ll have to acquiesce.

A genetic defect in my spine that I’ve had forever.  This was good & bad news, but mostly good.  Good – no spine fracture.  Bad – vertebrae slippage.  Good – treatment only requires at-home PT.  Bad – no more running.

aaa 0904_woman_with-weight_preview“No Running For You!”  From the exercise nazi.  ( a Seinfeld reference, yeah.)  Remembering I am in a positive place now, no hard feelings.  Deep relaxing breath.  I am so glad I didn’t blow that $165 on those running shoes.  Moving on from here I just need to figure out where to go instead.  I was excited about the running because it was making an impact on the weight loss.  But I think the impact on my spine in future years will be too high a price to pay.  Hmmm, what to do instead.

High repetition weight training.  Core work outs.  Notice how we intuitively gravitate towards what isaaa strength best for us?  My favorite form of exercise has always been weight-training.  Seems with the situation with my spine, this was probably the best, aside from maybe swimming. (I hate swimming in chlorine)  Now, back to the problem I was having a few months ago – why has it become so hard to go upstairs to the gym in my house and weight train?

Well, it seems for now, I have the PT exercising to do as I prepare for my long rides starting next week (OMG, so soon?)  That will keep me busy to begin.  Then I’ll just have to resort to forcing myself through the first few days.  Maybe I can do it like the cycling & give a beginner weight-training class.  Seems like when I have people show up for something, I seem to get the work done. 

IMG_2525-1 reversedMaybe I’ll get back to serious practice with the fire-spinning & belly-dancing. (yes, that’s me in the picture!!)  I guess I just worry that the calorie burn won’t be high enough.  To off-set it, I’ll have to dramatically increase my lean muscle mass.  I gotta tell you, it is hard to ‘feel-the-burn’ when doing hip-shimmy’s & belly-rolls.  Sorry this is such a whiny, boring post today.  Get this off my chest & tomorrow head in a new direction.

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Weigh-in 165lbs. Today, I set a new priority.  Although I’m doing well with the biking & the running, I have put off the weight training & core work outs for as long as I can.  I am 44 days away from the ride/surf trip.  And we know what happened last time:  <Cass & I haven’t surfed in a long time.  Last time we went, I couldn’t get up.  My arms weren’t strong enough to hoist my weight up to stand.  [whine alert]  It was a sad & dismal day.  I remember standing on shore, watching her out in the breaking waves, thinking ‘why did you let this happen, how much more are you going to give up because you have no self-control’.  I was 15 lbs lighter than I am now.  Sad.> my new board

So, here I am today, 15lbs lighter than when I wrote that.  At the same weight I was when I couldn’t get up on my board.  What is going to make it different this time?  I am going to have to do my weight training & core work outs EVERY SINGLE DAY.  So, every day, after posting my weigh in, I will post that I either did or did not do the weights & the core w/o.

I want to start by learning about my core.  Your body core is the midsection of your body, from your groin to your shoulders. This includes the pelvis, abs, back and chest muscles. It is this core that offers stability, balance and flexibility.

Transverse Abdominal (TVA) is a very important stabilizer of the lower back. It is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and the only one that runs horizontal.

Rectus Abdominisis located along the front of the abdomen, this is the most well-known abdominal muscle and is often referred to as the “six-pack” due to it’s appearance in fit and thin individuals. Erector Spinae is the group of three muscles runs along your neck to your lower back.

Multifidusis located under the erector spinae along the vertebral column, these muscles extend and rotate the spine. External Obliques are located on the side and front of the abdomen. Internal Obliques are located under the external obliques, running in the opposite direction.

Hip Flexors are located in front of the pelvis and upper thigh. The muscles that make up the hip flexors include: psoas major, illiacus, rectus femoris, pectineus and sartorius. Gluteus medius & minimus are located at the side of the hip. Hip abductors are located at medial thigh.

I find it helpful to know about all the muscles so when I’m preforming exercises so I can isolate better.   Working your core effectively uses isometric force.   Isometric exercises are important because they solve several problems. Weak muscles will not contract with most strengthening exercises because dominant muscles will compensate, and muscle imbalances may occur through repetitive use of the same muscle causing the body to go into “protective” mode.aacrossover situp

The first exercise is critical in re-establishing good communication between the brain and the key stabilizer muscles (TVA). Lie on your back and cross your left leg over right leg. Your left heel should be next to the right knee. Rotate right approx 30 degrees your left hip will come off the ground several inches. Push knee into the wall 6 times for 6 seconds. Start lightly and increase pressure each time. If you feel cramping in the inner thigh you are pressing too hard. This exercise will activate the TVA and should be followed up by regular abdominal exercises.

aabicycle crunchBicycle Crunch is the best exercise for strengthening the Rectus Abdominus. Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Put your hands beside your head. Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle and slowly go through a bicycle pedal motion. Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. Breath evenly throughout the exercise.aareverse crunch

The Reverse Crunch is great for strengthening the Obliques. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place hands on the floor or behind the head. Bring your knees up towards the chest so they bend about 90 degrees. Contract your abs and lift your hips off the floor in a very small movement. Lower and repeat.

aaplankThe Plank exercise is effective for developing static strength to hold the body in a straight line posture. The value gained from doing the plank exercise is specific only to holding the position. This is what we need to hold our stomachs in & our backs straight.   Start in the plank position with your forearms flat on the floor and your toes on the floor. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds to start. Over time work up to 30, 45 or 60 seconds. Then increase the repetitions.

Leg Lifts are great to isolate your quadriceps but they also strengthen your hip flexors while increasing your balance. You can do a full set of these, or you can aaleglift 2alternate between front and sideways to mix it up. Start by laying flat on the mat and lift your legs up.  Bring back to start and repeat many times.  Inhale on lift, exhale back to start.  Push your spine into the mat.  Stabilize your back & ab muscles.  Only do a few at fisrt, this is taxing on your back muscles.  An alternate move is to do this standing, holding onto a chair.

Lastly, the only concentric exercise to strengthen the TVA. It’s called The Beach Ball. Use a 13″ diameter beach ball and a about a 6″ piece of 1/8″ diameter plastic tubing (gas aabeachballline)inserted into the valve of the beach ball. Now attempt to inflate the ball with as few breaths as possible. Blow till you can’t exhale anymore.

The narrow tube and the ball create resistance, especially on the last breath. The longer the tube, the more resistance also. Each exhale takes about 15 LONG seconds. So for 4 breaths (inhale plus exhale) your looking at about 75 seconds.  This exercise will change your life.

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