I have tons of great topics and ideas to post but for some reason I can’t quite get my thoughts together today.  I’ll blame it on the rain but honestly I’m pumped to go relax and finally watch Avatar tonight.  It’s hard for me to sit still and watch anything for more than 10 minutes so we’ll see how it goes.  In the spirit of blogging I am going to leave you with some of the recent things that have peaked my interest or caught my eye….Oh look something shiny…. which is not very hard.

  1. I’m going to be straight up with you all on this one, my favorite food group on the planet is chocolate.  I add it to my oatmeal, my shakes, yogurt, spinach, and cottage cheese.  Yeah, I said spinach.  Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.  But seriously I just wanted to clear up some of the confusion on the health benefits which you must realize that not all chocolate is created equal.  Packed with cancer fighting antioxidants and flavanols (almost twice as much as green tea and red wine), dark chocolate is said to relieve migraines, enhance your mood by increasing your seratonin levels, and decrease heart disease.  The darker the chocolate the better, so what you want to aim for is anything 80% cacao or higher.  My love for chocolate and passion for health has led me to the source.  100% cacao nibs, powder, or beans are natures gift to health fanatics and chocoholics like myself.  Post questions as I’m sure you may have some.
  2. One of the things I pride myself on in my training as well as working with my clients is developing a solid core.  I have posted as to why crunches are worse for you than exploding suppositories.  Ouch.  Here’s the link to that post for anyone who missed it: Monkey See, Monkey Do.  What I did not do was go over what the best ab/core exercises were.  Here is a link to explain all the science behind what those exercises are and why: Best Ab Exercises (Don’t be fooled by the name of the website, the authors of these posts are some of the best in the business, trust me).  One of the coolest new exercises that I found were the hardcore planks developed by the RKC team (Russian KettleBell) where your elbows are place closer together and further forward.  Truly badass to say the least.

The Winners

Based on this experiment, here are the top three exercises in terms of mean and peak activity for each muscle part:

Rectus Abdominis (six pack)

Mean: Chin Up, Hanging Leg Raise, Ab Wheel

Peak: Chin Up, Hanging Leg Raise, Swiss Ball Crunch

Internal Oblique

Mean: Ab Wheel from Feet, Ab Wheel from Knees, Bodysaw

Peak: Ab Wheel from Feet, Bodysaw, Tornado Ball Slam

External Oblique

Mean: Ab Wheel from Feet, Hanging Leg Raise, Bodysaw

Peak: Turkish Get Up, Hanging Leg Raise, Bodysaw

Erector Spinae (lower back)

Mean: Kneeling Cable Lift, Landmine, Reverse Hyper

Peak: Kneeling Cable Lift, Tornado Ball Slam, Lumbar Extension

Written by Steve