Insanity Says Tighten Your Core- Here’s How
If you’re churning through the “am I seriously doing this?” Insanity workout, you know the rallying cry is all about tightening the core. You’re constantly being told to “tighten your core” but unless you’re practiced and used to deflecting flurries of high speed Kung Fu punches with the power of your
abs gut armor, the order to keep things tight might as well be an order to describe how salt tastes.
Of course, tightening your core is an important component of any workout as it keeps strain off the back and provides strength and stability for Insanity moves across the board. And while you may be engaging sometimes without thinking about it, the times you DO need to think about it are the times we’re worried about.
Luckily, there’s a few ways to understand how to tighten your core:
See, the cough test is the way I’ve usually taught people how to recognize a braced core. Sitting or standing, place your first two fingers on either side of your torso just below the ribs. Now cough. Feel that flex? That tightening? That’s your core flexing its muscle. Practice a few times to get the feeling for how it feels and then try it without the cough.
Here’s where Shaun T. shows me up. And I guess that’s OK because it’s his program and well, I’ve got no problem deferring to a cool dude who hasn’t met a cardio butt-whoopin’ he hasn’t shown the what-for. Shaun T. uses a “laugh test”. It’s the same principle as the cough but much more smiley and less obnoxious. So go ahead and laugh. Or fake a laugh. That tightness you feel in your abs? Keep that when you’re not laughing. That’s tightening your core.
Shaun T. demonstrates his test in the following link which can be found exclusively at Team Beachbody.com (that free membership DOES come in handy!) Not a Team Beachbody member? It’s free, to sign up here. In the mean time:
Now comes the hard part– keeping your focus on tightening your core while also directing attention to your form and finishing Switch Kicks. It’s not easy or “normal feeling” right off the bat but with a few pr
actices and a determination to keep things tight, it’ll soon become second nature. You’ll also notice your back won’t be feeling it as much.
Less Back, More Abs
And speaking of feeling it as much… there’s a third way to test the core tightening while also helping your lower back out with Insanity Cardio Abs.
Cardio Abs doesn’t use crunches (it uses the C-Sit position)… but as you know, you’re definitely working the abs. A super common complaint when it comes to Cardio Abs is lower back pain or discomfort while doing the moves. Chances are… you guessed it: the core isn’t fully engaged. This leads to the back doing more work and we don’t want that because backs can get grumpy really quickly.
So here’s the trick: sitting on your booty, lean back. Back, back, back, more, more, more… until you feel the only thing keeping you from going back-flat to the floor is your abs. Don’t curl your back here… straighten it out a bit and let your abs catch. Feel that? That’s engagement and further, that’s where you’ll get your ab work instead of back work.
Once again, Shaun T. shows you how it’s done right here:
With a little practice and some patience, you’ll be engaging that core all day long– making you stronger, popping that six-pack and giving injury the stiff-arm all day long.