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