Anything abdominals-related used to be the bane of my existence at the gym. I avoided it like the plague. If I spent 45 minutes at the gym, it meant 45 minutes of convincing myself why I shouldn’t workout my abdominals at the end as I had previously planned. Thoughts like,
If I stay too long, I could be late for work.
All the exercises I did stem from my core anyway. Right?
Isn’t fat reduction a more important factor for seeing my abs? In that case, I’ll spend the extra time doing cardio.
Do What’s Hard. It Changes You.
The truth of the matter wasn’t that I believed these things, it was that abdominal workouts were hard to do and even worse, I was bad at them.
But what sense does it make to avoid something just because I’m bad at it initially? This philosophy is a sure-fire way of inhibiting my growth and development as a person. If we all avoid challenges because we aren’t good at them from the get-go, we’d never accomplish anything of substance.
In life, it’s important to leave your comfort zone. Try new things, even if they make you feel uncomfortable. It’s the only way we can create dramatic changes in our life.
For me, Russian Twists are the abdominal exercise that gave me the most trouble. However, I knew that if I wanted to strengthen my core, I’d have to embrace some of these abdominal exercises I’d been avoiding. Technically Russian Twists target more of your obliques, but you get the picture.
How did I go about making this change and ensure that I’d be strengthening my core every workout? By doing these exercises first. Here’s why I believe doing your least favorite exercises first can serve you well.
1. You are Fully Motivated to Try New Workouts
When you arrive at the gym you’re highly motivated and more apt to try new things. For me, this meant that I could easily commit to Russian Twists or any new core exercise I had discovered because I was chock-full of motivation to do so.
2. There’s Less Time for Excuses
This also gave me less time to talk myself out of doing these exercises. No more ruminating over the decision. Instead, I embraced the Nike philosophy to, “Just do it.”
3. You Have More Energy to Focus on Proper Form
I also found that saving the hardest exercise for last didn’t make sense from an energy standpoint. Typically at the end of my workouts, I find myself lacking energy, especially for the exercises I don’t enjoy.
When I transitioned to doing my least favorite exercise first, this wasn’t the case. I also found that I had more energy to perfect my form which is crucial for getting the most out of any new exercise.
With Practice Comes Perfection
Over time, I actually started to get pretty good at these exercises. V-ups. Not a problem. Exploding starfish. I got this. Side planks. No worries. I began to enjoy my abdominal routine as my form and core strength improved. Surprisingly, I even began looking forward to it.
I’ve since transitioned away from my abs first routine to make room for other dreaded exercises like power cleans. Now, my ab exercises are incorporated throughout my workouts as a form of “active rest” in-between all other sets to keep my heart rate elevated and optimized for burning fat.
Whether or not abdominal exercises are your least favorite, it’s important to identify exercises that could use some improvement. In my opinion, doing these exercises first is a sure-fire way to perfect your form, improving your strength, and grow as a person. Who knows, you might even end up liking those exercises after all.
How about you? Are there any exercises you avoid? How do you make sure you are always getting better at the gym?