As you've learned by reading my previous tips, we don't move one joint at a time, nor do we activate (contract) one muscle at a time. Instead, multiple joints and muscles function together to create fluid human movement.
Therefore, it's common sense to train for strength, mobility, and stability in a manner that improves rather than weakens our human movement abilities.
So, how does this ab machine contradict all that we're discussing here?
- resting our butts on these types of machines signal the butt, the lower back, and even segments of the abdominal wall to take a back seat while we isolate the "6-pack"
- isolating a specific muscle area degrades the communication between other muscles that SHOULD be included in trunk exercises/movements
- isolating a specific muscle area also weakens the neuro-muscular connections, which is how the nervous system communicates with various muscles to produce complete contractions AND fluidity in our movements
How does this hijack real-world movement?
- when we bend over to pick up a crying baby, a 30lb box of books, or a pen from the floor, our untrained muscles in our trunk fire inconsistently (because we trained them in isolation) and what follows is that all-too-familiar jolt of back pain
- when we move on to squats/deadlifts/push-ups, our abdominals don't know how to activate in sync with our larger muscles (primary movers)
- the weekend athlete and more seriously, the elite athlete, become more susceptible to injury AND athletic performance will suffer due to these imbalances in core strength
Now that you know the deficiencies of such machines and how it relates to real-world living, look for my conclusion in part 4.
Make it a great day!