Ultimate ab training

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by max, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. max

    max Guest

    We use a couple of training aids here...

    - a rubber band
    - a strap used to secure (light) loads when transporting
    - hanging loops for hanging leg lifts

    As you might know, the abs do the majority of the work as you are
    reaching the end of the concentric movement. When you start a sit-up or
    a leg lift at the bottom position, hip flexors do most of the work.

    So it stands to reason to eliminate the bottom part of the movement
    altogether, since the abs have guite a short range of movement anyays
    cause the spine does not move all that much. Do only the upper 1/2, 2/3
    or 3/4 of the movement!

    Crunch-sit-ups work best when you do 2/3 of the upper range of the
    movement and leg lifts (which are otherwise relatively hard on you hip
    flexors) work best when you do only the upper 1/2 of the movement. You
    should only lower your legs to parallel or only slightly below. When
    you go higher tha parallel your pelvis starts to rotate upwards toward
    your chest, which is exactly what we want it to do. The abs connect to
    you pelvis, not your legs, so the abs do not lift your legs but rotate
    your pelvis so that your pelvis and chest towars each other.

    To put it simply, any time you flex at the hip the hip flexors do the
    movement. Simple as that.

    So, now that you know that the abs do the work mainly in the upper
    range of the movement, its makse sense to and resistance particularly
    in the upperand not the lower) range of motion! Right?

    At this point i will say this: the abs are a muscle just like any other
    in your body! So, the need to be trained similarly than any other
    muscle! how do you train your muscles if you want more power and/or
    more muscle mass? You use progressive reistance!

    If the resistance stays the same, so does your muscle size and power!
    Increase in power and/or mass is what I call progression and/or
    developement! Progressive resistance is truly the most basic rule of

    So, if (and when) you want a sixpack, what must you do? You must do two
    mutually exclusive things...

    - you must icrease the size of your abdominal muscles to make the
    "blocks" visible
    - you must decrease your bodyfat to uncover those blocks (which is best
    done by incorporating weight training for the whole body, aerobics and
    a strict diet)

    I should also mention here, that spot reduction does NOT work! Sorry!
    The fat breaks evenly for energy from all over your body and gets into
    you blood circulation to act as fuel for the muscles that need it. If
    it seems that it works, it is bechause your abdominal muscles get
    bigger and thus more visible even if the fat percentage has not

    And when I say evenly I do not mean that fat is evenly deposited all
    over your body. Unfortunately it isnĀ“t! And, it si individual! But
    fortunately, the more fat you have in one area of you body the more fat
    will also be burned from that area! If a thousand fat cells decrease in
    size as much as hundred fat cells, the visible results will of course
    be more noticeable!

    Abs are a small muscle and use small amounts of energy. you are much
    better off doing (for example) deep and heavy squats for burning fat!
    The more muscle mass you recruit and the harder you train (and the
    longer), the more calories you burn! So, if you could squat 500lb/250kg
    for an hour you would have used enough energy to move a train!

    So, now we have established that you should use resistance when
    training abs. this can be accomplished by two ways...

    - use additional weight (barbell plate or dumbell on your chest or
    attached to your annkles)
    - use a rubber band to provide resistance (or in some cases to lighten
    up the heavy weight at the start of the movement).

    The movements...

    - hanging leg lift
    - lying leg lift
    - crunch

    Attach the loops to the bar. Attach the weight (barbell plate or
    dumbell to your ankles with the load strap or attach the band to your
    ankles and secure it to a heavy enough oject (a barbell is good). Put
    yout arms all the way through the loops so that you upper arms are
    parallel and rest on the padded loops. Hang freely and lift your legs
    to the starting position, which is (nearly)parallel to the floor. The
    lift your legs as hight as you possibly can.

    Now, if you use weights strapped to you ankles you might ask how can
    this weight possibly be heavier in the upper range of motion? Well, it
    can't. But you can keep you knees bent and progressvely straighten them
    as your legs travel upward towards the end of the movement. So, the
    resistance does get heavier! Keep the legs straight and lower them
    slowly to make use of the negative ie. eccentric portion of the
    movement. Then bend your legs again.

    Notice, that you can keep your legs straight the whole time and even
    use additional weights strapped to your ankles if you secure a rubber
    band (to some hook etc.) above to lighten the load in the lower parts
    of the range of motion! This does pretty much exactly the same as when
    you attach the band to down. Exept now you can do assisted leg lifts if
    you do not have the initial power to do them unassisted!!

    The same applies to lying leg lifts. Do not lower you legs all the way
    down but to about 2/3 of the upper range. Be sure to lift your pelvis
    off the floor/bench towards the end of the movement! This is the key!

    In the crunch, if you use a weight on your chest (barbell plate or
    dumbell) there really is no viable way of making the weight
    progressively heavier towards the end of the movement. So, in this
    movement the rubber band is far superior! Just secure the other end to
    a heavy enough object (or something) and grap the other end and press
    your hands against your chest.

    This training, as the title suggests, is geared towards advanced
    trainers. If you have enough power to do the movements in the first
    place, then you can follow the advice.

    Caution! This type of training (most notably the excentric portion of
    the movement) will cause excessive delayed onset muscle soreness
    (DOMS)!! Be warned! Take my word for it.