If there is one question personal trainers probably get asked more than any other, it’s, `How can I get a flat stomach?’ Let’s be honest, we would all love to have a set of those chiselled abdominals that are all over the covers of fitness magazines in your local newsagent’s. This is the main reason why there are so many fad diets, fat loss pills, exercise machines, news articles and adverts that promise us the perfect beach body for very little effort. If you’re thinking this sounds too good to be true, then you’re right. The truth is that most, if not all, of these products are big on promises but fall a long way short on delivery. At best, they don’t give us the results we want, while at worst they can actually increase our risk of injury, poor posture and back pain, leaving us with more problems than we started with.
The abdominal area has always been a hot topic, and more recently the trend has shifted towards training the ‘core’ of the body. Think about the way we move from day to day – getting out of a car, putting the bin out or swinging a golf club. These are all functional movements. But most abdominal training programmes do little to prepare our body for these movements; instead they focus on aesthetics and compromise function.
There is a lot more to training the abdominals than just looking good on the beach, although it is a nice bonus. The less glamorous side of abdominal training is about developing strength, and more importantly stability around the lower back and pelvis. Even fit and strong athletes can benefit from stability training. With over 8o per cent of us suffering from back pain at some stage in our lives, we can help prevent this debilitating problem and pre-empt future troubles.