Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Improving My Ab Wheel Roll-outs

A few months ago, after I built my T's, I had this urge to try what some would (and have) called insane: I wanted to do handstand push-ups on my T's. I tried to do some but I quickly realized that I didn't have the core and glute strength yet to pull these off. You need quite bit of core tension to do handstand push-ups. The need for core stabilization goes way up when you do them on T's.

So, after some thinking, I concluded that the core exercise that would best train me for the handstand push-up on the T's would be ab wheel roll-outs. So, I resolved to throw more of these into my workout. While I was at it, I wanted to improve my ab wheel work. Easier to said than done. Ab wheels are bulky and don't travel well.

So, I found worked with some other exercises that didn't need more equipment and were good stepping stones up to the ab wheel roll-outs. Three exercises came to mind that worked really well:

1. The Inchworm. This looks a lot like the ab roll-outs without the wheel. You simply lean down, put your hands on the floor, and walk yourself outward as far as you can. When you get out as far as you can handle, hold the position for as long as you can. Afterwards, you can either walk your feet up to your hands or walk your hands back to the start position. I prefer the latter.

2. Superman push-ups. This one is pretty well known. In case you don't know it, lay on the floor with your arms outstretched. Push your hands and feet against the floor and lift your body off the ground and lower yourself back down. That's one rep.

3. Straight bridge. Find two chairs of equal height. Place them far enough apart so one chair can support your head and the other can support your feet. Lay between the chairs for as long as you can. Moving the chairs closer together makes the exercise easier.

Once I got home, I worked the ab wheel more. These supplemental exercises really helped out how low I could go with the ab wheel. Now, I'm getting my body parallel to the ground and about a foot off of it. What I've found is that you can't rush this exercise. You've just got to be content with what you can get. If you try to push it, you could hurt yourself.

It all worked out. I can crack out 4 handstand push-ups on the T's. I'm not advising you to try these out. If you're not careful and prepared, your neck could pay the price. The ab wheel work is worthwhile though, even if you have no intentions of trying these insane handstand push-ups.

"I'm not saying that you should do this,
It's just what I do.
I take responsibility for my actions,

1 comment:

Matt said...

I recently came across a couple of ab wheel exercise that one can use kneeling that can help you progress toward full standing rollouts. I can not speak for their effectiveness yet personally, but I tried both with interesting results. I can do 50 or more kneeling ab wheel rollouts, but have not yet progressed to the full standing rollout. The exercises I saw referenced today I tried are
1) Kneeling rollouts using only 1 knee, with the other leg extended behind you. This requires more stabalization that using 2 knees

2) One arm kneeling rollouts. I found that my weakness was in the arms when doing standing rollouts, and doing kneeling 1 arms help tremendously.

In in about 3 minutes of trying, I could not complete a full kneeling rollout with either of these. Both my arm strength and core stabilization/balance were lacking.

If you are interested in progressing to full standing rollouts, I would give both of these kneeling (no additional weight) variations a go.