May. 21, 2014
A Method Behind the Madness Post on Adrenaline Abs Interval Training by Chanhassen Personal Trainer & Weight Loss Expert Justin Yule, BS, CPT, MTE, FMS
If you’re after awesome abs, look no further…
Our Adrenaline Abs program is a fat-burning, belly-blasting experience that you will never forget. The brainchild of my friend BJ Gaddour, Adrenaline Abs has been a favorite of my Chanhassen Fitness Revolution members for years now. Like all of our group personal training workouts, it is researched-based and has proven results. Adrenaline Abs literally boosts adrenaline as a way of blasting the fat off your abs while using stability exercises to whittle your waistline.
First, the basics… Adrenaline is a catecholamine hormone. This means that adrenaline is a chemical in your body that enables you to either fight or flight when you perceive danger or engage in intense activity or exercise.
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When Steven Boutcher, a scientist at the University of South Wales, did a study on adrenaline and exercise, he found that more fat is lost during shorter, maximum intensity intervals than during slower and longer workout periods.
Obese women were divided into two groups with identical diets, but different exercise protocols for fifteen weeks.
The first group exercised three times each week for only twenty minutes. Their high intensity workouts consisted of intervals with eight seconds of max effort (on a bike) and twelve seconds of recovery.
The second group also exercised three times each week, but for forty minutes, and the intensity was steadier.
The results? In spite of the second group’s longer exercise periods, the first group saw a higher loss of body fat, especially in the belly, thighs and hips. The reason, according to Boutcher, was more catecholamine release in the first group. The catecholamines make it possible for more fat to be burned from under the skin and inside the muscles!
What is so important about the eight/twelve second ratio of intervals?
Boutcher found that longer intervals are too painful, but shorter intervals do not bring significant results. The eight/twelve ratio turned out to be the best for maximum benefit.
In an earlier study (2004), Boutcher found that short intervals not only burn more calories and disturb the metabolism at a higher intensity, but those engaging in them do not feel as though they are working as hard as people doing longer intervals.
The mode matters. In the research study, participants used a bike. However, a better way to turbo-charge adrenaline is with total-body exercises. These types of exercises result in max heart rate, fat burn and muscle building by engaging both your upper and lower body at the same time.
Swings and squat to presses are examples of the total-body exercises that are beneficial, as are the clean, the snatch and the jerk. Of course you can also run, leap, hop, jump and skip.
These moves also preserve and strengthen your Type II-B muscle fibers. These muscles start atrophying when you are in your 30’s and 40’s. Since they are the strongest and largest muscles that you have, you need them to maintain strength and good metabolism as you age.
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Stable Core: Don’t Leave Home Without It
This is crucial if you are going to have rockin’ abs. And in case you don’t know, crunches and sit-ups will only get you neck and back pain: NOT great abs. You can’t spot reduce, but you can set yourself up for some serious back trouble if you keep doing crunches.
Crunches only engage your superficial abdominals–the so-called “six-pack”–and cause extreme flexing of your spine. This can in turn cause bulging discs. In addition, sit-ups and crunches do not work your abdominal stabilizers, and unless these are trained properly, you will not have the health and stability that come from a neutral spine position.
To safely and adequately train your core, you need to stabilize it in three planes:
1. Sagittal (front to back and up and down)
2. Frontal (side to side)
3. Transverse (rotation)
The goal of stability training (ideal for the core muscles) is to train anti flexion, anti-extension and anti-rotation. This can be achieved by doing moves that stabilize the core such as plank variations (front, side and back), different types of hip extensions and a variety of bird dogs.
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Why do we recommend a ten-second hold for core stability moves?
Because quality beats quantity when it comes to your abs.
When you try to hold a stability move for longer than thirty to sixty seconds, you tend to fatigue and spend much of your time in less than ideal positions. This means that even though you may be holding a plank for two minutes, you really are not getting the benefit of a full two-minute plank.
But if you concentrate on holding that plank correctly for a shorter time, you are going to see much better results. The bottom line is that it’s better to hold several, ten-second planks with perfect form than to hold a messy, bad form plank for two minutes.
It’s actually very similar to what we learned in the beginning of this post: longer duration doesn’t always equal better results. Longer intervals didn’t bring about greater fat burn, and longer planks do not guarantee better core stability. If you are working in shorter periods, you will burn more calories and have much better form.
Gray Cook, a world-renowned physical therapist, also promotes a ten second hold for core stability. By the way, Cook is the creator of Functional Movement Screen (FMS), which we do here at Chanhassen Fitness Revolution.
Master Physical Therapist Dr. Kareen Samhouri has this to say about the ten-second hold idea:
“Your muscle takes 2 seconds to ramp up intensity. You can sustain maximal motor unit recruitment for 6 seconds. Your muscle will ramp down for 2 seconds. 2 + 6 + 2 = 10 seconds. The optimal isometric contraction is 10 seconds as a result.”
Does this mean that there is never a place for a longer core stability hold?
No. Athletes who are training for endurance or those people who are advanced in their core strength can find the longer holds beneficial. But for most everyone else, holding for ten seconds is the best strategy.
The ten-second core stability hold concept is still not widely recognized in mainstream literature, but you can expect to see more about it as more people learn how top trainers and coaches are finding such success with it.
Adrenaline Abs Game Plan
A few key points:
- I have increased the work times from Boutcher’s eight seconds to 10 seconds. In my experience in group training settings, the extra 2 seconds are needful in order to ensure that participants achieve enough muscle contraction, especially since we are doing resistance training rather than cardio.
- We are using a 5 second recovery period, because that is just enough time to move from floor to a standing position while transitioning between exercises. For Adrenaline Abs, in fact, you will be required to move from floor to standing and back to floor a minimum of about 60 times in 20 minutes! This will be very fatiguing and is beneficial training for both sports and everyday living.
- This 1 to 1.5 work to recovery ratio will ensure that we get the same fat burn as the participants in Boutcher’s study. Essentially, you get a 15-second rest in between each 10-second exercise. This permits max intensity, since the total-body and core moves do not compete with each other.
- You will notice a 1-minute recovery time between the 5-minute stations. This ensures a little rest to maintain peak performance as you move further into the workout session. You might also want to take a drink of water during this time.
- Finally, there is a finisher at the end of each workout. The finishers are work periods of 2 minutes of continual, total-body exercise. When added to the previous ten second work sessions, they really round out the workout. The added benefit is that they provide endurance training and deplete glycogen. This has the effect of kicking up the level of fat burn that you get for the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours. And finishers are good mental training as well!
Adrenaline Abs Program
- Total time: 20 min.
- Switch between 10 seconds of maximum effort for a total-body exercise and a core-stability exercise with a 5-second rest between exercises.
- Complete for 5 continuous minutes and follow with a 1-minute recovery/transition period.
- End with a 2-minute finisher of non-stop work of a total-body exercise.
Squat Chest Press
Bottom ½ Push-up Hold
Side Core Hold
Fighting Dead Bug
Curl + Squat + Press
Get ready for six-pack abs!
HAVE FAITH & TAKE ACTION!
Justin Yule, BS, CPT, MTE, FMS
Justin Yule is the President & Chief Fitness Officer of Fitness Revolution in Chanhassen, MN. He also runs an at-home weight loss & fitness training program – Fitness Revolution Inner Circle – providing the same great high-intensity intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts for all fitness levels as Chanhassen Boot Camp…
Justin holds a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with a Concentration in Adult Fitness. He is also a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and holds multiple specialty certifications including Metabolic Training Expert, Kettlebell Coach, and Resistance Band Training Specialist. Justin is also certified to administer the Functional Movement Screen.
Justin has been helping clients achieve their health and fitness goals since 1997, and became a Best Selling Author in 2011 with his contribution to Total Body Breakthroughs. In addition, he has been nominated as one of the top Rising Stars in the Fitness Industry, and was featured in USA Today as a member of the World Fitness Elite. To contact Justin for training, education or to have him speak at an event please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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