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It’s crunch time if you want your abs to be ready for swimsuit season

Are your abs showing yet? Are you eating better? Or is your cardio program still just scribbles on a sticky note that’s about to fall off the side of your computer screen?

It’s March already, and “way to go!” if you’re consistently working on your goals. You’ve stopped drinking soda and visiting places with drive-through windows. Muscle tone is peeking through what used to be just fluff.

For everyone else, there’s still a little time before swimsuit season, but you need to start now. Put down the sugary cereal and toss out those pastries. Hide the TV remote and get the exercise playlist ready.

Here are a couple of more core exercises to add to your routines. For the basics on working your abs, check out the previous core columns at www.lvrj.com/columnists/Chris_Huth.html.

Follow these principles when working abs: activation, stabilization and progression. Activate the core by drawing the belly button in. Think “mind to muscle” and force your brain to concentrate on your abs during all core exercises.

Do your ab exercise slowly or hold a position to stabilize your core. Progress the exercise by adding weight, doing it on one foot or doing it in a different plane of motion, such as sideways or diagonal.

Your core craves variety. The same old exercises will become easier with time because of the body’s ability to adapt. Keep your core guessing with a plethora of exercises. You’ll find your workouts won’t get boring that way.

It’s OK to spend time on your core every day. Your core is working daily anyway. Using heavy weights will build the muscles, increasing your waist measurement. Instead, train abs to stabilize and they will be strong without being too bulky.

This column covers the machine crunch and the Roman chair leg raises.

Most gyms have a crunch machine. It’s a good machine because you don’t have to lie down or get into an awkward position to perform crunches. With an adjustable weight stack, the right amount of resistance is a selector pin pull away.

You’ll find the Roman chair in most gyms. Their appearance can vary greatly from gym to gym. Some have pull-up bars attached or parallel bars for doing dips. Among the exercises you can do on the Roman chair are leg raises.

You will feel leg raises in your legs as well as your core. They work the tensor fascia lata and the rectus femoris in the front of the thigh. They attach at the top of the leg where your hip bends at the leg. The Roman chair uses body weight for resistance. The upper back and shoulders stabilize the body’s weight while the core is exercised.

Chris Huth is a Las Vegas trainer. You can contact him at702trainer@gmail.com. Before beginning any exercise program, consult your physician.

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