If you’re desiring more toned abs, Physiotherapist Andrew Ilief (@befit.physio) explains some of the best ways to flatten that stomach, and even better, the strategies are backed by actual evidence from Dr Stuart McGill (@backfitpro).
What type of program is best?
McGill found that an isometric program is superior fore core strength compared to a dynamic program. Isometric refers to exercises where the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction. These exercises are in contrast to dynamic – where joint angle and muscle length changes. McGill found that an isometric program effectively increased core stiffness immediately after the workout and over entire period of the study..
Isometric exercises seem less strenuous so why are they so effective?
Isometric exercises promote greater core muscle strength gains as the muscle is engaged for longer (time under tension principle), and while dynamic exercises may be “more challenging” that does not guarantee they are more effective. McGill also proved isometric exercises enhances speed and power; McGill explained greater core stability and stiffness increase limb athleticism. So therefore having a stable base allows us to perform better.
How to get started with Isometric exercises for a stronger core.
Start by doing 4 key core exercises (get on YouTube for a demo). These should be done daily as part of your spinal health regime like brushing your teeth. Once you have mastered these basics you can looks at adding more complex exercises.
- Side plank
- Core sit
- Standard plank.
The core is active in all sorts of movements such as the dead-lift, squat, farmer’s carry and medicine ball carries. So start by using these 4 core exercises and then also apply those principles in a training setting to other exercises.
Doing some core exercises before a training session is the right way to go as it increases core stiffness and improves performance for your whole training session.
Andrew Ilieff has experience across cardio respiratory, rehabilitation, sports physiotherapy and aged care – spending an extensive period of time in private practice. For credible information on training and injury prevention check out Andrew’s Instagram page here and website and services here.