By Sensei Serge Sognonvi and Carmen Sognonvi
Originally published at http://www.urbandojo.com/blog
Have you ever noticed that almost every class at Urban Martial Arts includes sit-ups and crunches? That’s because strengthening the ab and core muscles is critical for martial artists. Whether we’re kicking, punching, or blocking, our strength comes from the center of our bodies.
While it’s important to develop your core, it’s also important to exercise them the correct way. Here are 3 common mistakes you should avoid:
Mistake 1: Flexing everything EXCEPT your ab muscles
Keep in mind that the whole point of working out your abs is… well, to work out your abs! That means you should focus on using your ab muscles — not your neck, your arms, or sheer momentum — to guide you through each movement. One good way to preserve proper form is by keeping your chin up, not tucked into your chest.
Mistake 2: Working out one set of abs only
Your abs are made up of three major muscle groups: the rectus abdominis (the six-pack), the obliques (alongside your waist), and the transverse abdominis (surrounds your abdomen horizontally). If all you do is a traditional crunch, you’re only working out one part of your abs. That’s why it’s critical to do a variety of moves, so that you can work out all the different muscle groups.
Mistake 3: Neglecting cardio and eating unhealthy food
You can work your abs until they’re strong as can be, but if they’re covered by a layer of fat, you still won’t have that six-pack result you’re looking for. So make sure you work on reducing your body fat through cardio exercise (running, biking, martial arts) and eating a healthy diet.
Working out your abs isn’t just about looking good – it’s about feeling good. Developing strong core muscles will improve your balance and stability, and enhance just about every athletic activity you take on.