If there’s one thing all athletes and many of the rest of us have in common – it’s that they want a strong core.
But you shouldn’t simply want a strong core for the aesthetic value of a six-pack (although that’s nice, too). Both men and women should be working their core for all the benefits it brings to your workouts and athletic performance.
Why have a strong core?
Because you need one. Your core is involved in a lot more exercises than you think – not just planks. You use your core for everything – deadlifts, bicep curls, bench press, and everything in between. By focusing on your main lifts and neglecting your core, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Incorporating more ab exercises improves every aspect of your training and gets you closer to your goals. A strong core improves your balance, stability, and form – which are fundamental to athletic performance as well as every other exercise. It may also improve posture and reduce back pain, according to Mayo Clinic. Harvard Health also published that strengthening your core shouldn’t just be an athlete’s concern – a strong core makes everyday activities easier, like housework and gardening. The good news is that you don’t need to dedicate entire days to this multi-tasking muscle group. All you really need is a few simple moves after your main workouts for no more than 20 minutes.
If you want to become a better overall athlete, here are some ab exercises to try out after you hit the weights:
For this exercise, you’ll need a weighted plate or medicine ball with which you sit down, cross your legs, and lift the plate or ball up.
From there, there are a couple of variations you can explore:
- Tucked-arm: For the energetic and rapid, this one’s for you. This Russian Twist variation calls for tucking the plate/ball close to your chest, and moving it from to side-to-side quickly, touching the floor by your hips. Challenge yourself and see how many you can squeeze in a minute.
- Extended-arm: For those who take it slow and steady, you may give this a try. Instead of trying to fit in as many reps as possible, set a fixed amount of reps for extended-arm Russian Twists. Instead of crunching in your arms, hold them out straight with your plate/ball in hand. Keep your arms extended and parallel to the ground while you twist 90 degrees from side-to-side. Don’t rush this one – complete about 5-10 twists each side with a three second hold after each twist.
You can’t go wrong with this staple move. If you’ve ever walked into any fitness facility before, there’s a 99% chance you’ve seen someone doing classic forearm planks. The classic version of this exercise consists of getting in the ‘up’ of a push-up position, then placing your forearms on the ground for support while keeping your body parallel to the ground.
If you’re more of a rebel, you can try adding these variations:
- Alternating planks: Make sure you find a comfortable surface to do these on. For these, start in that ‘up’ of a push-up position. Then one-by-one, you’ll switch your arms with your forearms continuously from 30 seconds to a minute. Hence the name ‘alternating’ planks – simply alternate from the ‘up’ position to a forearm plank position.
- Wave planks: Begin in the classic forearm plank position. Instead of planking still waiting for the time to pass, dip your hips down from side-to-side without arching your back. This works your obliques and not just your front abdominal muscles.
Yoga Ball Exercises
Large yoga balls are flexible pieces of equipment used for building a strong core, and every other muscle you can think of.
If you get your hands on one of these, be sure to break in your new ball with these exercises:
- Swiss Ball Crunch: If you remember the proper way to do crunches from your middle school P.E. exam, you should get the hang of this one right away. Lay down on a ball with your knees at a 90 degree angle and your back parallel to the ground. From there, just pump out your average crunches. By doing these on the ball, you can target your core more efficiently.
- Knee Tucks: Probably the most challenging workout on this list, this exercise will definitely strengthen your core. Place your hands on the floor, and your feet on the ball (your soles should be facing the roof). Next, just tuck your knees into your chest, bringing the ball forward. As simple as it is, you’ll feel the burn after just ten reps.
It’s okay to go all out at the gym – as long as you’re not overlooking your core. There are countless other core exercises that you can learn from the personal trainers at Thrive Fitness. Email us today at email@example.com to get started on shredding your abs and building a stronger core.
When you want to take your fitness seriously, trust the education and experience of personal trainers. Beyond guidance and motivation, certified trainers have invaluable knowledge in biology, biomechanics, anatomy and physiology that will help you succeed.
Whether you’re a beginner or elite athlete, ask yourself:
- What do I wish to achieve?
- Who inspires me?
- Why take the long road or veer from the path, when you can take the highway?
Losing weight, building muscle or getting in peak physical condition requires hard work, focus and dedication. Challenges will arise along the way. If you leverage the power of a personal trainer to help set goals, create a plan and navigate through the challenges – you’ll find it’s well worth the investment.
From perfecting your form to deciding the best food to fuel your training, trainers are also life coaches, mentors, and friends. They will provide the framework that beginners need as well as the insider knowledge to take advanced athletes to the next level.
Wherever you are in your fitness journey, here are a few reasons anybody could benefit from a personal trainer.
At Thrive Fitness, all of our personal trainers are certified, specialized and also skilled in creating the perfect program for each individual. Without an expert there to guide you, you may limit your progress or develop bad habits without ever knowing. Having a personal trainer by your side can keep you on track, help avoid injury from improper form or over training, and ensure you get the most out of each workout. In addition, training evolves over time just as your body does. Your trainer will outline a program and expertly guide you through each stage of your progress.
Personal trainers boost your confidence
Motivation is an invaluable part of getting and staying in shape. Personal trainers give you that extra push you need at the end of a challenging circuit. Through developing the right plans, they can show you what you’re really capable of. They can boost your ego just enough to help you tackle your goals by providing their unconditional support.
Personal trainers hold you accountable
We all know that feeling of wanting to skip out on the last few reps or just spend the entire day in bed (which sometimes, you need to). Having a trainer by your side is sometimes the only way to make sure you don’t cheat yourself out of an effective workout. By having a partner and sharing your goals – personal trainers leave you no choice but to stay on track.
Personal trainers tailor your workout
Thrive personal trainers take into account each athlete’s goals and personality to build an exercise plan that’s actually sustainable. With an extensive amount of equipment like cardio machines and every weighted prop you can think of – each workout is different for everyone. Not only that, but personal trainers can help you outside the walls of the gym to propel your nutritional needs. At Thrive Fitness, our on-staff nutritionist will help create a customized nutrition plan that perfectly compliments your workout plan.
Personal trainers are make your workouts exciting
At the end of the day, fitness shouldn’t be a chore. Personal trainers are always finding new ways to bring color to your workouts – because they know that people don’t respond to boring. Although exercise can be exhausting, it should never be dull. Training with the right personal trainer or even training in groups can make that five-mile run or 20-minute HIIT circuit fly by much faster than if you’re alone.
You can find out which one of Thrive Fitness’ multiple personal training options is more geared toward your goals by checking out our services here. See what our satisfied training clients have to say about Thrive’s enthusiastic, engaging personal trainers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org today to find out more information about out exercise and nutrition services.
Transformations can’t and won’t happen overnight. Instead, weight loss transformations are the product of little victories conquered over weeks, months, and years.
Setting goals is the easy part – sticking to them is the hard part. Just ask any resolutioner.
The solution is imagining S.M.A.R.T. goals. To nail your dream #TransformationTuesday post, your weight loss goals should follow these simple, but underestimated criteria:
Specific. Everyone wants to get shredded, but what steps are you taking to get there? Without specific goals in mind, you’re bound to grow frustrated not from a lack of progress – but from a lack of certainty. You can’t build a house without a blueprint. Visualize your start and finish line – and fill in the blanks with specific steps. This can be creating a meal plan you enjoy or attending two training sessions a week.
- Measurable. Quantify – and qualify – your goal. The scale can be a tremendous tool, but it can often be misleading. Those three pounds you literally gained overnight does not equate to three pounds of fat. Taking pictures of yourself as you tread along your journey can also be a useful tool. Pictures offer you a valuable glimpse of how your body is changing. Tape measures are also a useful tool that can quantify your weight loss even when the scale seems deceiving.
Achievable. Some goals are simply unattainable – and that’s okay. If your goal is to hit the gym seven days a week for five hours, your body won’t appreciate you very much. Sustainability and attainability go hand-in-hand. When you go on someone else’s extreme diet or rigorous workout plan, add your own modifications so that you’re not exhausted after three days. By all means, don’t pick the lowest-hanging fruit – but make sure the fruit is still on the tree.
Results-driven. Make sure your goals are yielding results. If they’re not, it’s time to tweak them. If your cardio-only goal isn’t giving you the transformation results you want, try adding some weightlifting into the mix. If your diet isn’t giving you the results you want either, shock your body and switch it up. Fitness is all about trial-and-error when it comes to finding what gives you results.
- Time-bound. Performance under pressure is a game-changer. Try adding a sense of urgency to your goal by applying a reasonable time-frame. Make a timeline – losing half a pound per week is much less of a burden than ten pounds per day. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
If you’ve set a goal for yourself, congratulations! You’re already halfway there. The next step is to tweak your goal to make it S.M.A.R.T. Your body transformation starts with transforming your goal.
The elite training and nutrition team at Thrive Fitness are able to guide you towards creating the right goals. We offer one-on-one and small group training to provide the optimal training environment. Email us today at email@example.com.
Let’s face it, eating healthy can be a challenge in our daily busy lives, especially if you’re a working parent, busy executive, or have serious weight loss or training goals. When you’re on the move, your diet shouldn’t suffer. It’s time to get on point with your nutrition!
This spring we’re happy to announce Atlanta Meal Prep now at Thrive Fitness! It’s the perfect solution, whether you seek to lose weight, eat healthier, or to give your body the serious nutrition it needs.
If you’ve never tried healthy meal services, (and even if you have), you’re in for a real treat! Atlanta Meal Prep prepares delicious gourmet dishes that are customized for your unique dietary needs using only the freshest ingredients. Choose from a variety of favorite dishes and inspired recipes, each perfectly balanced with lean proteins, crisp greens, and healthy carbs and just the right count of calories, macros, sodium, sugars and healthy fats.
Say goodbye to ingredients you can’t pronounce, preservatives, artificial flavors, sweeteners and colors. Say hello to healthy!
Atlanta Meal Prep is perfect for:
- Transformations (weight loss)
- Building muscle
- Gaining healthy weight (for sport or health reasons)
They also prepare custom meals for individuals with dietary considerations including lactose-free, gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian diets or those who suffer from Chron’s / Colitis, digestive sensitivities and ailments. Visit their website to choose your number of meals from a delectable assortment of dishes including: Buffalo Shredded Chicken Salad (paleo), Cheesy Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna (vegetarian), Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp & Veggie Hot Pot, Nigeria Jollof Rice (vegan) and many more.
Thrive Fitness also has an on-staff certified nutritionist who, along with your trainer, can help guide you to understanding your nutritional needs and create your very own perfect recipe of diet and exercise.
Learn more about Atlanta Meal Prep at www.atlantamealprep.com or call (404) 805-4726. To make the most out of every meal, we invite you to meet with Thrive Fitness’ nutritionists and trainers to put together a smart plan for your optimal health & fitness. Call us at 404-431-2639 today.
A body in motion will age better than one on the couch, yet many within our baby boomer population grew up with little emphasis on the importance of active living, sports and exercise. As a result, we’ve seen an increase in arthritis, disease, premature aging and more.
New in 2018, Thrive Fitness announces our Functional Aging Programs designed for those 55 years and older, and customized to your body’s unique capabilities and needs.
There are countless studies that prove the important health benefits associated with exercise, and it becomes more important as we age. Here are some of the many benefits of exercise for Baby Boomers & Seniors:
- Improves Mobility
- Reduces Inflammation & the Side Effects from Arthritis
- Improves Circulation and Heart Health
- Improves Brain Health, Memory & Cognitive Function
- Improves Digestion
- Slows Aging
- Improves Mood & Confidence
- Boosts Immunity, Helping to Fight Disease
- Reduces Risk of Falls and Injury
- Enhances Social Interaction
- Boosts Energy & Libido
- Improves Sleep
Through certification by The Functional Aging Institute, Thrive Fitness has developed individualized exercise programs for Boomers & Seniors that include:
- Stretching and Flexibility Exercises
- Balance Techniques
- Low-Impact Aerobics
- Cardio Conditioning
- Bone Density Building
- Strength Training
- Mind/Body Connection
Our specialized, certified trainers provide individualized instruction to account for joint stability, respiratory or cardiac conditions, physical limitations and proper technique to avoid injury.
We invite you to take the first step towards improving your health, and trust us, you’ll love doing it!
Call Thrive Fitness Centers today to get a free, no obligation body diagnostic evaluation and personal training session at 404-431-2639.