Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ab Training, The Next Level

[dynamic plank, one arm]

Two great articles posted at the Staley Training Systems newsletter, both of which offer alternative approaches to ab training (sit ups are so 1970).

The Next Level of Core Training: Dynamic Planks

By Jim Smith, CSCS

Author of "Combat Core - Advanced Training Secrets for Explosive Strength and Power"

When you think about the most basic abdominal exercise, the first one that pops into your head is probably planks.

Planks are where a person lays out into a push-up position but instead of being on their outstretched hands, they rest on their forearms. In this position, the athlete or lifter will remain for a specific length of time. If the time exceeds one and a half minutes that is considered pretty good.

The benefits of planks include rehabilitating a back injury, glute activation, developing proficiency for bracing the torso with intra-abdominal pressure and an isometric contraction of the abdominals and developing muscular endurance of the muscles that stabilize, support and engage movements of the torso.

But in accordance with the Principle of Overload and the Laws of Chaos, there is a progression for all resistance training means. Progression of an exercise will increase the difficulty, which increases the demand and work capacity of the lifter and in turn, provides more adaptation and benefits.

So what is the next training progression for planks? Here are some of the most common modifications...

Go read the whole article.

The next article is just as good . . . maybe better (these are personal favorite in my own workouts).

Flexed Arm Hanging Leg Raises To TRASH Your a GOOD Way....

By Nick Nilsson

The hanging leg raise is one of the most commonly used lower ab exercises you'll see in the gym. As tough as it is, it can be done much more effectively with a small modification. Instead of hanging down with your arms straight, do the hanging leg raise in the Flexed Arm Hang position!

This not only makes the exercise tougher, it has the added bonus of removing much of the tension from the lower back that can happen with the standard hanging leg raise.

All you'll need to do the exercise is a chin-up bar (or something else to hang on). The nice thing about this version is that the bar doesn't have to be as high as with the regular version. You can do it in a power rack using an Olympic bar. Just set the bar to a level just about at your forehead. The exercise itself will be done exactly the same.

So grab the bar about shoulder-width, with your hands in an underhand curl grip. Pull yourself to the fully-flexed arm position and hold your body there.
Read the whole post.

Watch a video: Windows Media or Quicktime. I feel obligated to say that I don't do the one-arm version, though now I'll have top try them.

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