Get the reference now?

Happy 4th of July everyone!  I know I’m a few days late but I was off the grid all last week celebrating Lindsay and my honeymoon in Aruba and I can neither confirm nor deny working out.  We did use the hotel gym one day and did some Turkish Get-Ups, dumbbell snatches, lunges, pullups and ran on the beach once but that was about the extent of it.

We did however impress the passengers on the Jolly Pirate with our rope-swing-double-back-flips.  I even piggybacked on Lindsay as she swung us into the abyss with a standing ovation… we’re totally considering running away with the circus!  I guess all that core training over the past couple years has come in handy!

Before I get into today’s post I also want to share one of the coolest things we have ever done together.  We decided to do a bit of wreck diving and spent a day with the fishes exploring reefs, wrecks and having staring contests with moray eels.  This may become a new hobby!

Lindsay was wondering if she could squat the boat....

Lindsay was wondering if she could deadlift the boat…. she totes could!

Before you go into post holiday panic mode about the lack of workouts coupled with the mass quantities of grilled meats, chips, beer and other BBQ fare you indulged in last week I want you to remember one thing: it happens.  For your own sanity (and that of your trainers) you are not derailed nor did you gain 10 lbs of fat.  I promise.  Just get back to your normal strength training routine and eat something green!

Chances are you did something active over the weekend that burned just as many calories as a workout if not more!  The truth is that you only burn so many calories when you work out so in many cases that number is arbitrary.  If you have been following this site for any amount of time you should at LEAST know 2 things:

  1. Abs are made in the kitchen.  If you want to get lean you MUST train your diet by consuming the right amount of calories (usually less than what you are now) and nutrients (e.g. protein, healthy fats and vegetables).  This is non-negotiable.
  2. When you go to the gym, train to get better at something.  Think: get stronger, move better, counteract sitting at a desk all day, master an exercise, survive the zombie apocalypse.  Anything works here and no, you are not getting much done on an elliptical or doing bicep curls with 5lb dumbbells.

That being said, one of the most popular questions I get asked hands down is:

“What is the best exercise to train my core?”

Without making this a debate about what the ‘core’ and your core muscles actually are I think most of you can agree that a strong core will protect your back and help you move better.  Am I right?

Dead bugs are the answer.  Plus it is fun to go home and say “I did dead bugs today, I think I am going to bare-hand wrestle an alligator later.  Beast mode on!”

Key points:

  • keep your hips neutral
  • move opposite limbs simultaneously
  • tuck your chin into your neck…find neutral
  • keep your lower abs engaged (gently squeezed)….do this for your mid- back and other trunk muscles as well while your at it
  • slowly exhale when you are fully extended then SLOWLY <—–(pay attention to this) return to start
  • do NOT let the non-moving limbs more towards your center.  This is compensation.

The long title of this post is true for most people and even if you have done dead bugs before there is a chance you aren’t doing them right.  Read the rules above.

I always tend to see simple and basic exercises like this butchered worse than Lindsay Lohan’s career because people want to upgrade to the cool new progression on YouTube (usually crap) or speed through it thinking they need to burn calories with other ‘stuff’.

Try this regression to keep everything tight!

The truth is that when dead bugs are well done you will almost automatically feel better, move better, perform better and be able to do most other exercises better.  I put them in 99.9% of my client’s warm-ups and periodically stick them in  strength programs paired with pretty much anything.  They even work well in a cardio or metabolic circuit or whatever you want to call them.  They will make you sweat more if you are already sweating.  Promise.

Remember, we do core exercises to move and feel better (e.g. protect your lower back).  If you want a 6-pack train your diet!  Don’t worry, I will keep reminding you. 🙂

Written by Steve