Wednesday, 28 March 2012 05:43

The truth about abdominal training, and some forgotten ab exercises

Most of the modern day theories about training the abdomen aim at developing the trainee's "six pack", to get the desired "look". Whenever someone talks about a healthy midsection, the first thought that springs to mind is "does have a six pack"? Apparently these six muscles at the front of the stomach are the ones that determine if your in good shape or not. In fact, I've seen razor thin folks with six packs that were unable to do a single pull-up - and they were being referred to as "fit". Uh, not in my book though.   .   .

People have literally forgotten that "abdominal training" is NOT "six pack training". Further, REAL abdominal training is actually all about CORE training - a concept that is an alien to most people as pull-ups done to the chest are for those tugging away at the lat pulldown machines.

And so, we have a host of modern day exercises that claim to get the job done. When one talks about ab training, the first exercise that springs to mind for most people is the "crunch" - an exercise that supposedly "isolates" the abdominal muscles, and allows you to develop them to the fullest. Or you have folks talking about gadgets such as the "tummy trimmer" - this particular contraption was one I saw advertised on late night TV once - a semi-circular sort of instrument in which your lower back "rests" and you rock back and forth - supposedly developing the abdominals. The advertisement claims to have your "abs showing within 10 days without any other exercise". 

Uh-huh.  .  .

And note that while there's nothing inherently wrong with wanting the "six pack" look; most people mess up in that they sacrifice real core strength in favor of crash diets and thousands of crunches. It's OK to get a six pack as a RESULT of your training - but training FOR a six pack is usually a big mistake.

And this brings to me to another topic - forgotten ab exercises. Despite what the "experts" nowadays say, crunches are probably the worst way to train your midsection. They do NOT engage the core to any degree - instead they attempt to isolate certain muscles which defeats the purpose of training the abs in the first place. The old timers did plenty of situps - but those have somehow fallen by the wayside in favor of the "crunch", which is much easier to do - and given how modern day training theories work, that doesn't surprise me one bit.

And while situps are great, and will give you a good core workout, there are many, many other "forgotten" core exercises that will get the job done FAR more efficiently - and will bring even the strongest man to his knees ultimately. Here is a sample "core" routine consisting of some of the core exercises the old timers did: -

- Warm up

- Bear crawl for 30 seconds to a minute

- 50 situps

- Bear crawl for 30 seconds to a minute

- Hanging Leg Raises (shoot for 10 reps, and try and hold for at least 10 seconds on each rep)

- Crab walk for 30 seconds to a minute

- Table pushups

- Hanging "L" holds (10 reps, hold for at least 10 seconds on each rep)

- 50 situps

There, that's a "simple" 15 minute or so routine that should get your core quaking like an earthquake's hit it (along with your grip and shoulders as well). No crunches, and believe me, you won't NEED them once you are through with this.

And if these exercises sound like completely alien to you - well, that's because they've been ignored in favor of easier exercises that don't give you half the results these will. Do them in proper form - the way I teach you in Fast and Furious Fitness - and you'll reap dividends you won't believe.

And one last thing - diet is of paramount importance when it comes to ab training. Actually, any training for that matter - but especially when it comes to abs. You can exercise all day long, but you'll never completely burn the fat off (and keep it off) unless you combine a good exercise routine with a decent diet, such as what I advocate in the Simple and Effective Diet.

So, train the way the old timers did - and follow a good healthy diet along with it - and that's really all you need!

Ok, that endeth today's tip.   .    .

Best regards,