Get your abs ready for summer!

April 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's time to get rid of our little pooch. We're going to work out our abs and get them nice and flat! Back with more fun exercises you can do at home is fitness expert with Crunch, Stella Sandoval.

Core Muscles:

Transverse Abdominals
The deepest of the abdominal muscles around your waist. It acts like a belt, wrapping around your spine for protection and stability.

External Obliques
These muscles are on the side and front of the abdomen, around your waist.

Internal Obliques
These muscles lie under the external obliques, running in the opposite direction.

Rectus Abdominis (The six Pack)
The Rectus Abdominis is along muscle that extends along the front of the abdomen.

Erector Spinae

Low backmuscles
Basically, your core muscles are your base of supp port (Tree Trunk) that gives your body a strong foundation to support to your spine for just about any activity. A weak core can make you susceptible to poor posture, low back pain, and muscle injuries.

Why is it important to workout your core muscles?

  • Increased protection and "Bracing" for your back.
  • Controlled movement
  • A more stable center of gravity
  • A more stable platform for sports movements

    Benefits of working your core!

  • Good Posture
  • Reduced Back Pain
  • Strong Abs
  • Increased overall strength

    (The core supports everything. You are only as strong as your core) So now that you know what your core muscles are, now you can do some simple yet effective core exercises to help you achieve a strong core.

    Core Exercises Using the BOSU Balance Trainer:

    1. Plank
      Modified - Knees on Bosu and Elbows on Floor making sure you pull in your Transverse Abdominal Muscles. Hold for 30 Seconds while breathing with control and ease.
      Muscle focus: Transverse abdominal
      Advanced - Feet on Bosu and Hands on Floor. To add more of a challenge life one leg and extend out to side.

    2. Spine Twist
      Knees on Bosu pulling up through your torso and tucking the pelvis while arms are out to the side. Twist for three counts to right and hold in the center; repeat to the left side for 6 reps.
      Muscle Focus: External Obliques

    3. Standard Crunch
      Middle back on top of bosu ball legs in table top position and hold for 8 counts. To add more of a challenge lift head and shoulder (slight chin nod) for a crunch while trying to stabilize the body.
      Muscle Focus: Rectus Abdominal

    4. Wood Chops in supine position (if you do not have bosu)
      Lying on your back with knees bent and feet firmly planted on the floor. Extend arm diagonally like you are chopping wood while lifting head and shoulders off the floor
      Muscle Focus: External Obliques
    The Bosu Balance Trainer is a great tool for strengthening the abs, but is also heps you reach those hard-to-get muscles (such as the TVA and erector Spinae) as well as improving your balance and overall coordination.

    When doing these exercises keep in mind:

  • Focus on quality of movement rather than quantity
  • Breathing during these exercises are important. You do not want to hold your breath
  • Keep in mind that strengthening workouts-even core strengthening-are just one part of a complete fitness program. Include aerobics exercise and flexibility training to round out your regimen.

    LINKS:

    Crunch website: www.crunch.com

    Stella Sandoval's website: www.stellasandoval.com

    Workout videos by Stella:
    Dance of the Inches: Sizzling Salsa
    10-minute Solution: Fat Blasting Latin Dance Mix.

    You can purhcase videos at:
    www.collagevideo.com
    www.amazon.com

    Stella Sandoval's Biography Stella is the Regional Group Fitness Director for Crunch in San Francisco, and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise and Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Her extraordinary talent, expertise and ability to inspire enthusiasm in her students has made her one of the foremost fitness instructors in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    She has presented fitness workshops and master classes at conventions in Argentina, Spain, Mexico, and Ireland as well as Cardio Classic and Body Revival.

    Stella is a former PowerBar Fitness Elite Sponsored athlete and a competitive aerobics athlete, with a background in dance. She choreographed and staged the opening program of The 2001 Ms. Fitness USA and Ms. World Aerobics Competition held in Las Vegas, Nevada, which aired in January of 2001 on Fox Sports Net. She was also invited to perform her dance fitness routine on the Don Francisco show Sabado Gigante.

    Stella is a fitness consultant on exercise photo shoots for Cooking Light Magazine, is the lead instructor on several Butterfly life fitness workout videos and has recently completed two dance workout videos; Dance of the Inches: Sizzling Salsa, and 10-minute Solution: Fat Blasting Latin Dance Mix.

    Stella's inspiration to choose fitness as a career came from her own personal struggles with weight as a teenager. Diagnosed with hypothyroidism and needing to control the resulting weight gain, she dedicated herself to getting fit and living a healthier lifestyle. Today, this busy Latina mother of two focuses her energy and passion on bringing quality health and fitness information to the Latino Community and beyond. She has appeared on programs such as Mornings on 2, and Univision's Noticiero with Araceli Martinez addressing current health and wellness issues. She has lent her time and energy to such programs as Health Starts a low-income program for women in the Latino Community and Mission Girls, a youth out-reach program committed to the well being and empowerment of girls and women in the Mission. It is through her exercise videos, presentations and fitness classes Stella hopes to empower everyone to live a healthier, more fit and happier lifestyle.


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