Fit After 50: Wake Up Sleeping Abs!

Note: Remember to check with your health care practitioner before trying out any of the suggestions in this blog.

As I have shared in previous posts, I am uncoordinated: always have been and most likely will continue to be. I lack something called “body awareness.” Example: were you to ask me to clench my stomach muscles, I would clench something in an attempt to meet your request but there is a really good chance it would be my neck, butt, or other compensating area. If I were to do regular crunches with this level of unawareness, I would most likely pull up from my neck and shoulders. In my case, I am compensating with other muscles because I really do not know how to target my abs.

Ever do regular crunches and afterwards have a sore neck? You might have more body awareness than I do but guess who is compensating, too!

The real issue with compensating is that you not only are exercising ineffectively, you are leaving yourself open to injury. So, for those of you who, like me, can’t find your abs even with GPS–take heart. It is possible to do crunches without wrenching your neck or hurting your lower back. You just need to do a few remedial moves beforehand.

Begin by waking up the muscles you cannot easily target. For those of you who are abs-unaware, take your fingers and gently press them against your stomach about an inch above your belly button. Clench your abs–you will know when you are successful when you can actually feel the muscles underneath contracting. Check to see if you are also clenching anything else–the goal is to isolate and clench only your abs. Check your butt, lower back, neck, shoulders. If possible, do this in front of a mirror and see if anything else is moving. Nothing else should be moving. Relax all of the other muscles you might be using and try again.

The goal is to be able to do two sets of ten contractions targeting only your abs. When you can do that, then you are worthy of continuing on your journey toward regular crunches.

To be continued…

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