Final thoughts

long-term use, this can weaken the muscles of the trunk and actually make you more susceptible to back problems.

Another problem is that weight belts accelerate degenerative disk disease. Weight belts restrict the natural motion of the lumbar spine. When you bend forward during exercises like the Squat, 80% of the movement of the back occurs in the first two disks of the spine. When you tightly cinch your belt, you force these two disks to absorb even more stress, a scenario that can accelerate the degenerative process in these disks!

Rather than preventing back injury, weight belts can actually increase your risk of developing back pain. In certain individual cases there may be some justification for using a weight belt when squatting or doing other heavy lifts. If in doubt, consult with the appropriate medical professional about it. If you are presently using a belt, you will probably have to gradually wean yourself from wearing it by using it for weights in excess of 80 percent of your IRM at first, then 2 percent more per month. You would also do well to perform additional work for the abdominal muscles so they will be able to provide the necessary support that the weight belt has been compensating for.

Bowling ball shoulders and baseball biceps may look impressive, but abdominal training is an essential for every athlete. The important question to ask is not if the abdominals enhance our appearance, prevent injury and improve performance—that's obvious. No, the question is not "Do we need great abs?" but "How do we get them?" Part of the answer is a good diet and exercise program that keeps bodyfat low. The rest of the answer lies in selecting more effective exercises and the correct choice of reps, sets and tempo.

As with the other chapters in this book, I believe the innovative ab exercises presented in this final chapter will have an incredible impact on the results you see from your effort. It has been my aim since page one to bring you the best and most effective programs gleaned from my years of experience. However, keep in mind that new information is always becoming available, and with it new innovations. I will look forward to continuing to be a conduit between you and the newest strength training technologies and methodologies.

A While weight belts ore extremely popular, this fashion accessory may actually increase your risk of back injury. (Scott Wilson)

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5 Easy Rules for Hard Abs

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