I’m sure you would agree that when it comes to the human body, nothing beats the look of a great set of abdominals!

I’m sure you would agree that when it comes to the human body, nothing beats the look of a great set of abdominals! Not only do they look great, but they are valuable muscles that assist your body with balance, speed, strength, mobility, and protection of the spine and lower back. To begin, I have a few program questions for all fitness enthusiasts to ponder. How are the abdominals developing this year? Is abdominal and lower back training included as a priority in your fitness program? Can you see a two-pack, four-pack, or six- pack developing? Do you sit up tall and straight as you go through your day, or do you catch yourself hunching over? Well, depending on the amount of training you include for the abs and low back the answers to those questions may be very good or very bad. If you haven’t guessed, it is very important to include abdominal and low back training into your regular routine just like every other muscle. If you are working your abdominals on a regular basis, great job, keep up the good work! If not, I challenge you to get started today, because the benefits of building a strong lower back and abdominals are worth their weight in gold!

The most important thing here is to start slow with low impact exercises that involve decreased range of motion, maximum back support, smooth and controlled movements including peak contractions coming from the abdominal area alone. While performing abdominal work, it is important that we refrain from fast movements involving pulling on the neck and using the low back with momentum. We need to work on eliminating these “abdominal enemies” because it not only takes tension off the area and decreases effectiveness, it places unnecessary strain on the neck and back, which increases chances for injury!

Now that our form guidelines are in order, we are ready to challenge the “abs” like never before. To develop a set of great “abs” it is important to include regular cardio into your fitness program and work on developing all major muscle areas of the midsection. Training should include exercises for upper, lower, and both sides of the abdominals (obliques), followed by low back training so that a strength imbalance is not created. Your strong set of “abs” should always accompany an equally strong lower back. That will happen with regular training, proper rest and recovery for both areas.

Another important and necessary component of a trim and shapely midsection is your nutritional intake! That’s right you may have the strongest most developed abdominals in Shawnee, but you will never be able to see them if you don’t get on a good nutrition plan and take your vitamins so you can eliminate the fat covering them up. Typically building great “abs” will consist of providing your body necessary protein to build and maintain the muscle, moderate to low carbohydrates to promote energy and feed the brain, and a small dose of the good fats! Using this concept and decreasing calories slightly and progressively will start the process for you! As a guideline stay around 1200-1500 calories for women and 1500-1800 calories for men, so that you don’t create any nutrient deficiencies. For the senior population or someone dealing medically with health concerns, any modifications to your nutritional intake should go through your health care professional first!

For optimal abdominal development I encourage you to challenge your “abs” just like you would any other muscle. Use a variety of repetition and resistance schemes to promote endurance, strength, and definition.

These are a few guidelines to help you get started down the path to a thinner midsection! The rest is up to you, and I know you can handle the challenge.

Until next week’s column, good luck with developing your super set of chiseled abdominals”! They will look great when you’re done! To get started on healthy weight loss and nutrition products stop by Reggies Personal Training and Nutrition, 104 E. Main, Shawnee, call (405) 613-0237, or email to reggiesnutrition@hotmail.com, or check out products at www.yourhealthmatters.truewealthathome.com.