How To Bypass Abs Brakes
When you do your workout, there are certain muscles that get tighter and weaker depending on what type of exercise you perform. One such muscle is your abdominal or belt muscles.
When you breathe in, your waist expands due to the tightness of your abdominal muscles. As you exhale, your abdomen compresses because those muscles are relaxed temporarily. This can make it difficult to find a comfortable position to sit or lay down!
This article will talk about another reason why your abdominals can become too strong. It’s called an abs brake and it works like a bear trap! The strong pull of the ab-brake makes it very hard to relax your stomach and work your core fully.
Removing this barrier allows for more effective workouts and helps people with lower body strength gain full use of their muscles. Here are some tips and tricks to help you strengthen your abs without developing an ab break!
Disclaimer: These exercises should be done under professional supervision as needed and only for individuals who have completed any of our fitness programs. Individual results may vary.
How to Use Leg Press Machines Effectively
Many gyms offer leg press machines where you can insert your foot into the machine and push off against resistance. Most common wisdom says that you should keep your knee bent all the way up during the exercise, but some trainers actually suggest keeping your knee slightly extended.
Decline dumbbell presses
The next move is to decline your chest press. You can do this by lowering the weights that you are using for a chest press. Some fitness experts suggest dropping the weight one set lower to see how many sets of 10 reps you can complete before being unable to.
The reason why we recommend doing this is because most people use their abs during the exercise. Taking breaks from the workout to use your abs will hinder your progress. If you are able to perform more than ten repetitions with the reduced weight, then try going down a pound or two until you feel comfortable performing less than that.
Once you have determined that your current level of performance equals the lighter weight, go ahead and add the extra weight back into the exercise. Once again, take your time to get familiar with the new weight so that it becomes second nature.
One of our favorite lower body exercises is triceps dip. You can do this with either dumbbells or weights that you hold in your hands. To perform this exercise, you will start by holding one weight up at arm’s length with your arms extended. Then set it down and pick it back up again using only your triceps muscles.
This is usually done as slowly as possible until you are able to do it faster and more efficiently. When doing triceps dips with weights, make sure to keep your chest high and push yourself away from the weight. This helps you use more of your leg strength instead of just your abs to lift the weight.
Another way to improve your triceps endurance is to practice lying on the floor and lifting your legs up so that your feet and knees are barely off the ground. This works your thighs even harder!
These two moves should be done for several sets of 10-20 reps each. If you feel any tightness in your shoulders or neck, then try to add some more cushion in those areas while performing the move. Your shoulder and neck should remain relaxed otherwise the exercise won’t work properly.
One of the most popular lower body exercises is the squat! With just your hands, you can do many different types of squats to work more than one muscle group. One of these is the exercise known as a front or box squat.
With a front squat, you start with your feet wider than shoulder width apart and then slowly push your knees and thighs back while keeping your chest up and tight. When you’ve reached full depth, your arms will be fully extended along the floor in front of you. You can perform this exercise using a weight that feels good for you.
There are two main reasons to add this move into your workout routine. The first is to strengthen your legs by working both the quadriceps (the muscles at the top of the thigh) and the hamstring muscles (the muscles below the knee).
Second, it works your abs heavily because you have to keep them contracted to maintain balance. This makes it a great ab exercise. Because there is no leg position that is stable without also engaging the abdominals, people often times donllenge their ability to relax their abs when doing other moves.
By adding the front squat to your workouts, you’re giving yourself a new way to challenge those strong abdominal muscles. Plus, since it’s such a common movement pattern, others can help you gain the knowledge of how to properly execute it.
Another way to activate your core is by doing what we call hip adductions. This is when you move your leg towards your opposite side, while keeping your knee closed. You can do this with either foot, as long as you are moving it away from your other foot.
This will strengthen your inner thighs which help keep your legs strong because they work in tandem with your outer thigh muscles. Plus, it’s pretty sexy! (Not that one doesn’t now…)
Hip abduction works similarly to knees up/knees forward movements, except instead of going down, your leg goes out. So if you want more definition in those over-used, probably dry inner thighs, try doing some hip abductions.
Another way to prevent your abs from working is by engaging in activities that limit hip abduction. This can be done through performing squats, leg raises, or calf exercises with weights. If you are already doing these workouts, try adding some more challenging moves into your routine to see how much impact they have on ab use.
Many people gain strength in their legs by lifting heavy weight up and down or squatting low. Doing this will stress the muscles around the hips and knees more than just using lighter weights or higher heights.
By creating more tension in the surrounding muscle groups, it becomes harder for your body to relax and let your abs work. Therefore, there is no need to waste money buying new equipment! You can achieve great results with free weight exercises if you make proper form a top priority.
Your feet should be about two shoulder widths apart, and your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders- this helps keep the momentum of the exercise moving forward. Your pelvis needs to be relatively parallel to the floor, and you can do a small crunch at the end to really activate the core.
These types of movements also help improve balance, so even though you are not able to fully focus on keeping your abs engaged, walking on balls of your feet and staying on stable footing materials may help mitigate that risk.
One of the most common ways to get your legs to work harder is by doing leg curls. You can do them with your feet in front of the foot rest, or you can lay down on the floor and do them there.
By lifting one leg up while keeping the other leg still, you create more resistance and require more effort from your muscles to relax. This makes your thighs work harder than before!
This works well for people who need extra help relaxing their thigh muscles. If you notice that your thighs are tight due to workout routines or daily stress, this could be something you try to apply relaxation techniques to.
Leg curls are also helpful if you find yourself having trouble getting the feet to move forward when walking/running. When done correctly, it can strengthen your hip flexors which hold your knee up.
The next tool in your belt for getting rid of abs brakes is leg extensions. These are thigh straps that go around your legs, slightly lifting them up. Your thighs will feel this pressure as they relax into the position.
Leg extensions can be used at home or during the workout. To use them at home, you just have to put one foot in the strap and then pull it back down. For using them during a workout, you would need two people to help you. One person could hold one leg while the other person could attach the extension to the second leg.
The best way to use these tools is by practicing before doing it for real. This way, you can make sure everything goes smoothly for you! It may take some time to get comfortable with it but don’t hesitate to try it out because things might not always work out.
You never know when you’ll run into an abs brake you didn’t know about until now! So, try it out if for no reason than to satisfy your curiosity. Then, once you’re able to easily release the muscle, you can move onto the next exercise.
The next one is definitely fun to do, but requires you to be able to move your legs easily! This exercise is called hip thrusts and all you need to do it get yourself into position for the push up position. Then lift one leg up so that your foot is just barely off of the ground- this is the relaxed state. Now quickly lean forward as far as you can while keeping your feet lifted in the air. When you’re fully leaned back, your body will form an arch with your hips and knees being the arched bones. At this point, your thigh should be parallel to the floor, and if you have done this correctly then your hands will be supporting most of your weight.
Now breathe deeply and slowly as you perform these exercises, the more breathing you use the better. Once you feel your muscles relaxing, repeat this step twice on each side. You may want to start with less powerful ones like doing 10 per side at first until you know how it moves.