Archive for the ‘Stomach and Core FAQ's’ Category

Tracing the Marathon’s Millions.

Monday, April 12th, 2010


If you have’t yet seem the Dispatches Programme on Channel 4 on where exactly the money you raise for the marathon goes, then I strongly suggest you click on the image above and take a look.

I have long known the extortionate amounts of money that the race organisers charge every charity for a place and now it appears that Dispatches have a few questions of their own to ask.

As always there are always two sides to every story, so take a look at the Dispatches Programme, still available to view on the Channel 4 website, then take a look at The London Marathon Press Release in response to the programme and let us know your thoughts on the subject.

Did you have any idea of the facts in the Programme?

Disgusted with how much of you hard earned money goes to the Organisers?

Or is this just business and have Dispatches only given us a one eyed on the matter?

Post your comments below and let us know where you stand.

The Bickering at FitFAQS HQ Continues

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

brooks logo.jpg

Just to keep you posted, we have just about managed to choose our top three captions for the Brooks Giveaway competition – but it wasn’t easy!

Choosing a winner is now the tough part. To be honest, we just can’t agree, so the only solution is to let Brooks decide. We have emailed them the top three captions and once they get back to us with their favourite, we’ll let you know.

However, our top two captions we have submitted to Brooks (along with all the others, so it could still change) are:

“Gordon leads the way in the cabinet’s annual barn dance” posted by Jon

“David had a very Conservative approach to his training regime” posted by Chris Ball

We’ll keep you posted!

Core Training and Running

Friday, February 6th, 2009


“Core Strength” and “Core Stability” are buzz phrases in the fitness industry at the moment, yet still very few personal trainers and fitness instructors understand much about it.

The subject of core training is extremely complicated and explaining it in detail in a single post is impossible, but keep the fitFAQS blog bookmarked and over time we’ll post a load more information up about the importance of the core and how you can train it effectively.

The Core and Running

As much as a paradox as this may sound when you are training for a running event, a strong core is essential to keep your body stable during a running motion and helps avoid placing stress on your skeletal structures. By keeping your core strong during your training you significantly improve your chances of remaining injury free, so it is a good idea to incorporate a selection of core strengthening exercises into your training.

Core Exercises

Exercise disciplines such as Pilates, place a lot of emphasis on core strength and although the majority of your training should naturally be in the form of running, the occasional Pilates class will hold you in good stead to help keep the major core muscles strong. If you have difficulty finding the time, try these simple exercises to help strengthen your core.

The Plank

The Plank
  • Adopt a press up position but rest on your forearms rather than your hand
  • To keep good posture, make sure that your head, upper back and butt are in alignment, so that if you placed a pole on your back, it would touch all 3 points.
  • If the position is uncomfortable, drop to your knees but keep the back straight.
  • Keeping your back straight, hold this position for 30 seconds
  • Repeat the exercise 5 times, increasing the duration of the exercise as your core strength improves.

To further challenge the core muscles, use a stability ball.
If you feel discomfort in your lower back, cease the exercise immediately.

The Plank on a stability ball (see top picture)

Performing the plank on the stability ball can be very extremely taxing and care must be taken. Feel free to rest on your knees rather than your feet if you find it too difficult. Like the plank, make sure the back of your head, upper back and bum are in alignment, so that if you were to place a pole on your back it would make contact with all 3 points.

As your core muscles become stronger, try the following progressions. Always, keeping you body still and only moving the arms:

  • Move the ball forwards and backwards
  • Move the ball side to side
  • Draw circles with the ball
  • Write your name with the ball.
  • Write the alphabet.

The importance of keeping your core muscles strong throughout your training should certainly not be overlooked but there is no need to get carried away. Performing these exercises twice a week is sufficient to maintain good core stability and keep your back strong.
There are a wide range of other exercises which help strengthen you core, so if you feel you would benefit from further advice make sure you bookmark the fitFAQS blog and keep an eye out for more advise on core training.

Are Sit-ups More Effective On A Stability Ball?

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009


The introduction of the stability ball has helped to revolutionise the fitness industry, particularly when it comes to abdominal exercises. Now a feature of health and fitness centres all over the world, the stability ball helps provide support for the lower back and adds variety to stomach exercises.

Out of the many questions I am asked about sit-ups and the benefits of the various abdominal exercises, the question of whether performing sit-ups on the ball is better than lying on the floor is often raised. The simple answer is that yes, sit-ups performed on a stability ball are more effective for the stomach muscles than lying on the floor and MRI scans have proved this.

The abdominal contraction while executing a sit-up on a stability ball has been shown to be far more intense than when lying on the ground, proving conclusively that your abs get a far more intense workout with this method. The exercise ball has the added benefit of helping to work a selection of other muscles such as your legs and the stabilising muscles of your core. These stabilising muscles can be recruited as much or as little as you like by narrowing your foot stance (maximum engagement) or widening it (minimum engagement).

So, what do you think of blasting your abs on the stability ball?

Better than on the floor or is the ball just another unnecessary piece of exercise equipment?