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    How to Get the Most from Every Abdominal Repetition: Apply the Fundamentals of Core Exercise Execution

    1. Every repetition of every core muscle exercise has two distinct phases.
    a. Contraction Phase: From a fully stretched Beginning Position (5.5), contract your target muscles slowly as you initiate and then continue movement to an intensely contracted Peak Position (5.6). Pause.
    b. Extension Phase: From the fully contracted Peak Position (5.6), return slowly to the fully stretched Beginning Position (5.5). Pause.

    2. Pause momentarily at the end of each phase.
    The pause at the end of each phase provides an instant to focus upon contracting or extending your target muscles for the upcoming phase. In the contraction phase, because you must overcome inertia, initiating movement from a complete stop requires more muscular energy and builds more strength than bouncing from repetition to repetition. Ten repetitions with a pause at the end of each phase are superior to one hundred done with herky-jerky haste.

    3. Focus intently as you contract and then lengthen your target muscles throughout every millimeter of movement of every repetition. Strive constantly to feel these movements in your target muscles.

    4. The breathing pattern for every exercise is identical.
    a. Exhale throughout the Contraction Phase. Inhale throughout Extension Phase.
    b. In the Beginning Position, before you begin movement, inhale.
    c. As you start the Contraction Phase, begin to exhale. Exhaling as you compress your thorax prevents a Valsalva Maneuver, which can temporarily block blood and oxygen flow to your heart.
    d. Continue to exhale slowly throughout the Contraction Phase.
    e. Pause momentarily in the Peak Position.
    f. As you initiate the Extension Phase, begin to inhale.
    g. Continue to inhale slowly until you reach the Beginning Position.
    h. When you breathe in this manner, the rate of your bodily movements becomes synchronous with your rate of breathing, Slow and steady movement is ideal for developing strength in your core muscles.