Transforming the health & wellbeing of SMEs through high quality out-sourced health & wellbeing provision 
Would you like to flatten your stomach and lift your chest? Have you been working away on your abs and chest to try and achieve this? Have the results been less inspiring than you hoped? Well think about this: the more you train your abs and chest, the more hunched over you will appear; the more rounded your shoulders will be; the lower your chest will appear and you will make your tummy look as flabby as it possibly can. Not exactly what you were aiming for I’ll bet? 
The reason for this is that as muscles are trained, they get shorter and pull their bony attachments closer together. For the stomach (the rectus abdominus or ‘6 pack’ muscle), this pulls the bottom of your ribs down towards your pelvis. When viewed from the side, this causes your back to become more hunched. For the chest, postural shortening of the pectoralis major and minor through lots of chest exercises, causes the shoulders to get pulled forward and the chest to depress. 
You don’t need me to tell you that this is not a good look! 
Try this: 
1. Stand side on to a mirror, place one hand on the base of your sternum (breast bone) and one hand 2-3 inches below your navel. Gently move your hands as close to each other as you can and then observe yourself in the mirror. Looking good? 
3. If you can, combine these 2 movements for the full picture!. 
Now try this: 
2. Turn to face the mirror. Keep the hand on the base of your sternum and place the other hand on the front of your shoulder. Now move your hands as close to each other as you can and observe yourself. 
1. Place your hands in the 1st position and move your hands as far APART as you can – looking better? 
3. Again, combine the 2 movements and admire the improvement! 
2. Place your hands in the 2nd position and move your hands as far APART as you can – looking better?. 
Getting this look permanently is actually fairly easy. In case you hadn’t realized yet, all you have done in the second part is to stand with better posture. Creating better posture is all about stretching short and tight muscles and strengthening long and weak ones. In this instance that means stretching the stomach and chest muscles and strengthening the long and weak ones – the extensor muscles of your back. The single most effective exercise to do this is the prone cobra which is shown in the picture below. 
Whilst correct identification of the short and tight muscles and the long and weak ones is vital in postural correction, of equal importance is training the muscles to obtain the correct response. For instance, in this example it is no good performing the exercise for 3 sets of 10 reps as this would not create a postural response. Most people perform all of their resistance exercises for a set number of set and repetitions (reps) – usually 3 x 10, 15 or 20. However, your muscles have no idea about how many reps you have done, the muscles respond to the time under tension that the muscle(s) is placed. To further explain this consider this: if you perform a 10 rep set as quickly as possible (say 1sec down and 1 sec up) you would get a very different exercise to one where you worked for 5 secs down and 5 secs up. You would also get a very different muscle response! 
To that end, you also need to make sure that you are performing your prone cobra for the correct time under tension. If you would like more information on the correct reps, sets and tempo and more detailed explanation on the exercise itself click on this link
Share this post:

Leave a comment: 

Our site uses cookies. For more information, see our cookie policy. Accept cookies and close
Reject cookies Manage settings