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Set Aside Those Sit-ups

Bryce Taylor - Monday, March 07, 2011

Did you know that many of the traditional exercises that are/were performed to strengthen the abdominals may not necessarily be the best exercises?  New research is finding that not only is the abdominal crunch or partial sit-up too compressive for your lower back, but that several other exercises utilize the abs even better than the crunch. 

It's been a funny journey through fitness over the last 3 decades--early weightlifters were probably doing the right exercises incorrectly, then shifted to doing the wrong exercises correctly, and now are returning to the earlier exercises correctly with the additional of some stability equipment.

 The Swiss Ball, otherwise known as the stability ball was introduced to physical therapy in the 1960's from Switzerland and has evolved into perhaps the most versatile rehab and fitness equipment that exists.  We can use the stability ball to sit, practice balance, lift weights, perform body weight suspension training, throw it around as extra weight, bounce, or even perform your favorite Pilates or Yoga exercise on it.

 Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy highlighted a recent article titled "Core Muscle Activation During Swiss Ball and Traditional Abdominal Exercises.  In this study, EMG (measure of muscle activity) recordings showed core strengthening exercises with and without the stability ball  Most of the body weight core training exercises with a stability ball showed more muscle activation than without the ball.  The roll-out and pike with the stability ball were the most effective exercises in activating the rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques, and latissimus dorsi, while minimizing lower back and hip flexor activity.  So...get your ball out of the corner and try some moves and while crunching sparingly.

The invention of the Halo Trainer has not only brought about a new tool for variable core resistance and stabilization but also a system to instruct nearly any level of fitness through a progressive series of exercises.  The goal of this training is not to increase the size of your abdominal muscles but rather engage the core muscles while strengthening the rest of your body.  Get your Halo today and see what the hype is all about.

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