Abdominal Training Tip
Slow Down to Really Work Your Abdominals
Slowing down your ab workout is a simple but effective abdominal training tip. So many people simple rush through their ab workout without paying attention to form and tempo, but a few good sets are more effective than 1000's of bad sets.
When I am walking around gyms, one of the most common ab training mistakes that I see is the use of momentum to get through ab workouts. Actually, using momentum is a common mistake during many exercises.
Our muscles have a spring like quality (kinetic energy). When you stretch it really fast, it springs back really fast.
However, when you slow down you decrease how much your muscles will spring back into the next movement. If your don't use momentum, then your abdominal muscles must work harder to reverse directions.
Slow Down Your Tempo
You can use a slow or moderate tempo to avoid using momentum and really get a good burn in your abdominals.
A slow tempo is 4/2/2 and a moderate tempo is 2/0/2. The first number is the eccentric or lengthening phase of the exercise. The second number is the isometric or holding phase of the exercise. And the third number is the concentric or shortening phase of the exercise.
Let's take ab crunches as an example. In a 4/2/2 tempo, you would crunch up for 2 seconds, hold at the top for 2 seconds, and lower for 2 seconds. This is a really slow tempo and it's best for developing endurance in your abdominal muscles.
If you used a moderate tempo of 2/0/2 for your ab crunches, you would crunch up for 2 seconds and then lower for 2 seconds.
Abdominal Training Tip Summary
You can use these tempos for any ab exercise. I guarantee that slowing down your tempo will really make your abdominals burn, and it will ensure better form.
Remember that a few good sets with proper form is far better than a ton of sets with improper form. Don't allow momentum to take over. Slow down to really make your abdominal muscles do the work.
Pick an exercise from the Abdominal Exercise Directory and try a slower tempo in your next ab workout.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles PT/PT
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