THE WHY OF ABS

TIM RO­BARDS LAYS OUT THE RA­TIO­NALE FOR MAK­ING A ROCK-SOLID CORE THE CORNER­STONE OF YOUR FIT­NESS REG­I­MEN

Mens Health (Australia) - - Classifieds -

Dis­cover how a six-pack could be the key to boost­ing per­for­mance and pre­vent­ing in­jury.

THE OP­TICS OF A SIX-PACK are just one rea­son to pur­sue a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence. The man be­hind the TRM 12-Minute Abs Chal­lenge ex­plains how start­ing at your mid­dle and work­ing out­wards will keep you on your game – and off the physio’s ta­ble.

EX­CEL AT SPORT

It’s time to stop think­ing of your core as just another mus­cle group, says Tim Ro­bards. “It rep­re­sents noth­ing less than the foun­da­tion of your body. If you want pow­er­ful arms and legs, then you need a strong mid­dle to sta­bilise them.” It’s true: try­ing to get the most out of your body with­out a sta­ble core is like fir­ing a can­non from a ca­noe, adds Ro­bards.

“With­out a strong core you will strug­gle to com­pete at a de­cent level in any sport,” says Ro­bards. “Whether your game re­quires rapid ro­ta­tion of the hips or ex­plo­sive power in your up­per or lower body, all those things start at the trunk.”

Make your core work­outs a YOUR MOVE: com­bi­na­tion of iso­met­ric (eg, the plank) and dy­namic moves to make gains read­ily trans­fer­able to com­pe­ti­tion. See the ex­er­cise, right, as a stel­lar ex­am­ple of the lat­ter.

PRO­TECT YOUR­SELF

Re­mem­ber, your brain is highly at­tuned to any weak­ness around the spine. Sens­ing a prob­lem, it will es­sen­tially shut down the limbs (es­pe­cially the legs) so as not to risk over­load.

“It’s a bit like trac­tion con­trol in your car,” says Ro­bards. “If it senses any de­gree of in­sta­bil­ity or slip­ping it will take the power away from the ac­cel­er­a­tor au­to­mat­i­cally.”

Just as a strong core and sta­ble spine al­low for su­pe­rior bal­ance and pro­pri­o­cep­tion, “a weak core will re­sult in the op­po­site, putting you at height­ened risk of twist­ing knees, rolling an­kles and strain­ing your ro­ta­tor cuffs,” says Ro­bards.

Don’t fall into the trap of treat­ing YOUR MOVE: you core as sim­ply your abs. A com­pre­hen­sive core work­out will also tar­get your obliques, glutes and lower back.

SHOW YOUR STYLE

Ro­bards doesn’t mind ad­mit­ting that six-pack abs look darn good and make an em­phatic state­ment about how you ap­proach your health.

True, he says, not ev­ery­one who has vis­i­ble abs is healthy and strong, like those who cut out es­sen­tial food groups or con­stantly over-train. But, gen­er­ally speak­ing, a rip­pling set of abs in­di­cates clean and ac­tive liv­ing.

“To put it sim­ply, if you train reg­u­larly in mul­ti­ple dis­ci­plines and main­tain a bal­anced, non-ex­ces­sive diet, you will gen­er­ally have lit­tle ex­cess fat and a high chance of show­ing mus­cu­lar def­i­ni­tion,” says Ro­bards.

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