Thursday, July 12, 2007

Switching up on the Abdominals

Generally, I don't like hype since I think most of it is bullshit and I'm not into that. I want hard facts and I don't really care if they're new or 100 years old. Still, I picked some different calisthenics for my abs that I don't normally do and combined them and I was stunned by the intensity of the workout and the results that I got. Here was the routine that I did:

1. Grasshoppers, 30-40 reps

2. Hanging leg raises, 8-10 reps

3. Mountain climbers, 30-40 reps.

4. McSweeney's ab contraction, 5 reps max tension

5. Powerflex Isos and/or classic isos

6. straight bridge, held for ten deep breaths

I repeated this whole set two or three times.

If you think about it, most of our abdominal exercises are variations of two calisthenics: The sit up and the leg raise. While there isn't anything really wrong with these exercises and their variants, they only work the abdominals in an up and down motion. You can vary them to get the obliques but still, it's an up and down movement. What I realized is that this misses one of the fundamental rules to exercising in the bodyweight world: working the muscles from all angles and directions. By confining myself to this one direction I wasn't training my muscles to their peak capability.

Plus, this side to side movement helps hit the troublesome obliques far better than trying to modify the leg raise and sit-up motion. Still, the side-side motion of the mountain climbers and the grasshoppers hits the abdominals in a new, and subsequently more difficult, manner. The straight bridge and the hanging leg raises demand much more out the obliques in order to stabilize the body during the workout.

Give this some thought and try seek out some ab exercises that have a side-side motion. You'll be surprised at the results.


Rodolfo said...

Hey Justin this is brigrade from the Transformetrics forums I just wanted to congratulate on your excellent blog and on reaching your goal of 180lbs in rock hard muscle I also know how hard it is to reach that kind of weight. I used to way a small 123lbs and worked my way up to 190lbs of muscle so I feel you keep up the great work with the blog and yourself of course. Peace out


Anonymous said...

hey dude.
i just stumbled across your blog, here. listen man, i was a hard iron powerlifter for a couple years, even competed once in college (1st place in the bench). unfortunately, pressing big weights ruined my shoulders. i havent worked out much in the last couple years because of the pain (and because im working on a phd), and ive gained alot of weight. to fix this, ive decided to begin a (mostly) BW routine with some serious cardio to rebuild my base fitness. please keep up the good writing. its inspirational.