To correct bad posture, you need to learn what good
posture is and analyze the posture you do have. Your spine needs to follow a
certain curve pattern. In most of us, this pattern is disrupted. You may wish to
consult a chiropractor (one of the rare instances in which I think they can
help) or ask your family doctor for a referral to a posture expert.
To correct weak abdominal muscles, don't do sit-ups! This
exercise actually creates an imbalance, and causes the wrong stresses on the
connective tissue. Plus, it exacerbates posture problems. There are many
effective exercises for your abs. Here are some:
- Doing leg raises and crunches will help, but don't
limit yourself to these. That is a common mistake.
- Flexing your abs when you do your workouts really
develops these muscles. For example, when working biceps, I flex my core
hard to stabilize it. But, this takes a certain "feel" to achieve.
You can get this "feel" by sucking your gut in and flexing hard
during front squats. My abs are incredibly blasted after I do front squats.
- Front squats. My abs "kill me" after my squat
routine. If you are doing squats and not working your abs, you are doing
something wrong. Very wrong. Ask for guidance. Tip: Use abdominal
contraction as a natural weight belt when doing any weight training.
- Hanging leg raises. Be sure to arch your back on the
downstroke, for proper tendon alignment.
- Crunches. These are not quite as good as hanging leg
raises. Be sure to tense your abs while doing them. If you are doing these
right, you can't do very many in a row. I like to do four sets of 10.
- Deadlifts. Be careful with this exercise. Do it right,
and you add strength to your back (while also building your abs). Do it
wrong, and you hurt your back. Form is everything. Don't worry about
- Good mornings. An excellent exercise for the back,
spine, and abs--though it's aimed at the hamstrings. If you don't know how
to do this exercise, get advice. It's dangerous if done wrong.
- Vacuums. Suck in that gut and flex it. This improves
everything. Do two sets of 10 after each workout.
- Measure your body fat level and chart the trendline.
If you are not moving the numbers down, you are doing something wrong.
Not sure how to track your body fat? Pick up a set of Accu-Measure
calipers. They don't cost very much. In fact, we sell them here:
- Set specific goals. For example, "My body fat
is 12%. I will drop by 1% each month, so at the end of four months I am
at 8%." As you work toward your goals, you can adjust as needed.
Without goals, you are unlikely to make any progress. So, don't blow
- Reduce overall body fat. Eat green, not grain.
- Take a hard look at your hidden
calories. If you think you are dieting perfectly but the problem is
your genes or the alignment of the planets, taking this step is crucial
to your progress. Don't assume anything.
- Work your abs during each workout. If you are not
doing workouts with free weights, you have just identified a core
problem in your program. This subject used to be debatable, but all
honest and informed persons have reached the same conclusion on the
- Do specific abdominal workouts once a week--maybe
twice, but no more (this caution does not include vacuums). You need
sufficient rest, or you will have high levels of cortisol and that means
you'll store more fat.
There you go. If you follow these six steps, you will
have abs you can be proud of.