The biceps curl is one of the simplest exercises yet one that is very often performed incorrectly.
The biceps muscle is the cable that moves the forearm, which is a lever. This action works in just about every position UNLESS the elbow, or fulcrum of the movement is directly under the weight. At this point, the biceps will relax since there is no direct load on it anymore.
IF this is the case, the most important part of the movement, which should be peak contraction under load, is either reduced or completely eliminated. In layman terms, that sucks!
The key to performing any exercise correctly is to keep the muscles under load throughout the entire set. When your elbows are forward, you’re allowing the biceps to “rest”, even for a brief moment and that makes for a very inefficient workout.
The next time you’re doing biceps curls, look in the mirror at your profile and see if you’re doing them correctly. Pull those elbows back and experience a whole new “burn” that you may not have been feeling before!
Today’s FocusOn session is dedicated to variations of the side plank. The side plank is a very effective core strengthening exercise that heavily recruits the external and internal oblique muscles pictured below: These muscles contribute greatly to core stability and strength. When coupled with a low body fat index, they also add to the appearance of a trim, well defined waistline.
Side planks can vary in intensity and complexity. The video will demonstrate the more popular variations in increasing difficulty.
Side Plank Bridge
Stationary Side Plank
Star Side Plank
Side Plank Runner
Side Plank with Elbow Rotation
Remember to stack the elbow or the hand directly over the shoulder and to make a straight line from your head to your feet through your midline.
Start off with the basic side plank bridge and work your way up the ladder to create a strong, stable and visually pleasing waistline!
Just a note, these Focus On segments will be an ongoing part of the blog. In them, I’ll focus on a specific body part and illustrate, explain and demonstrate how and why the exercises work.
Here’s a great, two part movement for really whacking your midsection, especially the Rectus Abdominus, commonly referred to as your “six pack”.
The Rectus Abdominus is an important postural muscle. It also helps in
keeping the internal organs intact and protected. It also aids in creating
intra-abdominal pressure such as when you’re lifting heavy weights. It’s one of
the most “visible” core muscles when it’s not covered up with excess
The two movements that I’m going to show you are the vertical plank and an
upper abdominal crunch with your legs elevated. Here’s a video demonstration of
how to perform the movements and what to pay attention to:
OK, that’s it for today! Try to incorporate this combo into your workout
and really concentrate on squeezing out the reps rather than using momentum. I
guarantee you’ll feel them, and they’ll go a long way into etching out your
very own six pack!