100 Strength Training for Women




                DON’T BUCKLE UP
                   You see them in the gym in all shap...
Strengthening Your Core   101



STABILITY BALL STRAIGHT CRUNCH
Stability ball exercises work your entire abdominal region...
102 Strength Training for Women



                STABILITY BALL DIAGONAL CRUNCH
                The oblique muscles get ...
Strengthening Your Core   103



    1. Get on the knees on the floor with a stability
       ball touching the thighs.
  ...
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Abdomen Exercises

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Abdomen Exercises

  1. 1. 100 Strength Training for Women DON’T BUCKLE UP You see them in the gym in all shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. Every month there seems to be a new version. Women love to match them to their outfits, and men are leaving the old worn leather ones for the style and comfort of the latest model. Many think that weightlifting belts are a necessity for preventing injury in the gym, but some people use them indiscriminately and too often. The abuse of weightlifting belts may be increasing the risk of injuries instead of preventing them. Weightlifting belts are not new. Olympic weightlifters first used them to prevent trunk hyper- extension during overhead lifts. Marketers then promoted the devices to workers who lifted heavy loads daily in an industrial setting. Bodybuilders took the idea and ran with it. Once used for a specific purpose, the weightlifting belt has been turned into a fad by the bodybuild- ing community. The real purpose of a belt is to provide support for the back by increasing the intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) and the intrathoracic pressure (ITP). The IAP and ITP compress or prevent the pro- trusion of the abdominal compartment, which in turn reduces the force the low back muscles must exert to support a heavy load. Some researchers report that reducing how hard the low back muscles have to work may prevent disc compression injuries. But if the purpose is to increase IAP and ITP by compressing the abdominal contents, not supporting the back, then why is the widest part of the belt centered on the back instead of on the abdomen? The design of the traditional weightlifting belt is all wrong. Many studies have shown that the low back muscles are not taxed while the weightlifting belt is worn. While this effect may seem beneficial, it actually has a detrimental effect in the long run on your functional and sports activities. It may be fine to use the weightlifting belt in the gym, but what happens when you need to move a couch in your family room or pull weeds in the yard? Your abdominals and low back muscles must be strong. The constant use of a weightlift- ing belt during strength training can give you a false sense of security. You could then expose your spine to greater loads, increasing the potential for injury outside the gym setting in sports or other activities. Even the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) doesn’t recommend that healthy people use back belts. Studies have proven that weightlifting belts don’t decrease muscular fatigue or prevent injuries. One study has even shown that holding one’s breath properly during lifting increased the IAP more significantly than wearing a weightlifting belt. Although some of the best weightlifters in the world do not use weightlifting belts, there are certain competitive weightlifting and powerlifting situations in which weightlifting belts are appro- priate and beneficial. When performing a lift like the clean and jerk or the squat, weightlifting belts are effective in increasing IAP for lifts at 90 percent of the 1RM (one repetition maximum). This effect may translate into lifting heavier weights. If the lifter wears a belt in the gym with heavy loads, then she should wear it in competition (and vice versa). Abdominal Exercises Each of the abdominal exercises that follow provides variations for those who are beginners, intermediate, and advanced. Only after you’ve mastered one form can you progress to the next. Concentrate on keeping your abdominals as tight as possible throughout the entire movement. Curl and uncurl your body slowly, vertebra by vertebra.
  2. 2. Strengthening Your Core 101 STABILITY BALL STRAIGHT CRUNCH Stability ball exercises work your entire abdominal region. The inherent instability of the ball not only forces the abdominals to work, but also the low back, glutes, and entire leg. 1. Lie back on a stability ball with the low back and midback supported by the ball. Bend the knees and keep the feet flat on the floor. 2. Place the hands in the appropriate position, depending on the level of difficulty: • Beginner—Position the shoulder blades just off the a ball and cross the hands over the chest. • Intermediate—Place the hands behind the head. • Advanced—Place the arms straight overhead. • Advanced plus—Place the arms straight overhead holding a weight plate. 3. Crunch up straight to the appropriate level of strength (small range of motion for beginner level and full range of motion for intermediate and advanced) and slowly lower back down to the starting position, trying to place one vertebra at a time down on the ball. b
  3. 3. 102 Strength Training for Women STABILITY BALL DIAGONAL CRUNCH The oblique muscles get the emphasis in this exercise, but don’t think that other muscles are ignored. All of the trunk and lower-body muscles get a workout to keep you balancing steadily on the ball. 1. Lie back on a stability ball with the low back and midback supported. Bend the knees and keep the feet flat on the floor. 2. Place the hands in the appropriate position depending on level of difficulty: • Beginner—Position the shoul- der blades just off the ball and cross the hands over the chest. • Intermediate—Place the hands a behind the head. • Advanced—Place the arms straight overhead. • Advanced plus—Place the arms straight overhead holding a weight plate. 3. Crunch up diagonally to the appropriate level of strength (small range of motion for beginner level and full range of motion for intermediate and advanced). Aim the left elbow toward the right knee. 4. Slowly lower, trying to place one vertebra at a time on the ball. 5. Crunch up diagonally, aiming the right elbow toward the left knee. 6. Slowly lower to starting position. b STABILITY BALL PULL-IN This exercise is a dynamic way to strengthen the abs in conjunction with the lower body. Beginners will bring the ball in only halfway to their chests, whereas intermediates can concentrate on a full range of motion (ROM). Advanced exercisers should have one leg on the ball, pulling it in toward the chest, and one leg extended straight out.
  4. 4. Strengthening Your Core 103 1. Get on the knees on the floor with a stability ball touching the thighs. 2. Extend the body over the ball until the hands reach the floor. 3. Slowly walk the hands out until the shins rest on the ball. 4. Tighten all muscles and hold the body like a plank. 5. Keeping the back straight, pull the toes up to hold on to the ball and a pull the knees in toward the chest, allowing the ball to roll forward and underneath the body. 6. Hold for a moment and contract the abs. 7. Straighten the legs and roll the ball back to the starting position. b STABILITY BALL REVERSE CRUNCH This crunch is similar to the previous exercise, because you initiate the movement from the lower body instead of the upper body. 1. Lie on the back and rest the lower legs on top of a stability ball so that the ball is tucked underneath the knees. Beginners keep the arms at the sides; advanced place them behind the head. 2. Dig the heels into the ball and contract the abs to bring the knees to the chest. 3. To make it harder, lift the butt off the ground and bring the knees to the chest at the same time, while the arms are behind the head. 4. For the most advanced reverse crunch, do an upper-abdominal crunch simultaneously with the lower-abdominal crunch. a b

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