Questioning Proper Abdominal Training
Q: I've heard you mention that you don't need tons of cardio to burn stubborn abdominal fat. Okay, I can live with that, but you've also said that it isn't absolutely necessary to perform direct ab work either. What gives?
A: If you want to build a serious set of abdominals, routinely perform the following exercises and their variations: squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, and standing military presses. These multi-joint movements require a strong contribution from the abdominals to stabilize the core, particularly when heavy loads are used. It is not uncommon to hear clients complain of abdominal soreness a day or two after performing multiple sets with a decent weight of the chin-up or standing military press exercise - the ab prestretch will tap into fibers you never thought existed! And remember, your abdominals act as a natural girdle, or weight belt if you will, when performing all exercises, particularly squats and deadlifts. These muscles act as a bridge between your upper and lower body and are heavily recruited as stabilizers.
Sure, isolation exercises like pullovers, curls, and even triceps pressdowns also require a good degree of core stability; however, the loads used are relatively low compared to the big 4 mentioned above. In fact, according to Siff & Verkhoshansky, isolation becomes virtually impossible if large loads are used, and in many cases, the tension developed in the stabilizers will equal or even exceed that of the prime movers!* So, you see, the abdominals can be trained quite effectively as stabilizers - the physiques of top Olympic weightlifters will attest to that.
Q: I have been training for years and I can't seem to feel any soreness in my abdominals anymore. Is there something I can do to wake these guys up?
A: ABSolutely! If you've been doing tons of reps of wimpy little abdominal exercises like most people, then it's no wonder that you're stuck in a rut. Remember, the abdominals are composed of primarily fast-twitch fibers. Here's what I suggest to tap into those "guys":
* pick big (i.e. multi-joint, compound) movements
* train in a full range of motion (get the prestretch when working abdominals)
* perform explosive concentric & slow eccentric contractions
* do lots of sets of low reps using heavy loads
* make sure you get enough rest between sets
Okay, so here's the routine:
A1) Lean-Away Chin-Ups 6 x 1-3 @ 5-0-X-0, 120 secs.
* add weight to chin/dip belt, clear chin at top, lean back as you come down by pushing the bar away and make sure to go all the way down at bottom
A2) Standing Military Press 6 x 1-3 @ 5-0-X-0, 120 secs.
* clean the weight up to your shoulders, stand with your legs straight (yes, that means knees locked) and arch back slightly to maximize prestretch
B1) Decline Leg Raise/Plank 4-6 x 4-6 @ 5-0-X-0, 90 secs.
* this is similar to the move in Rocky IV, raise your legs until they are perpendicular to your body then shoot your hips up to form a bow from head to toe, slowly lower your body staying as rigid as possible.
B2) Sicilian Crunch 4-6 x 4-6 @ 5-0-X-0, 90 secs.
* laying supine on a Swiss ball, crunch inwards with the dumbbell resting on your chest then extend your arms out (completely outstretched, in-line with your torso) during the slow eccentric.
If you would like to finish off with a couple sets of wheel rollouts for as many reps as possible, be my guest. Make sure to work the legs and back/hip extensors during another workout. Rolling out of bed the next day should offer a pleasant surprise!
John Paul Catanzaro is a certified kinesiologist and professional fitness and lifestyle consultant with a specialized honours Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and Health Science. He owns and operates a private gym in Toronto, Ontario providing training and nutritional consulting services. For additional information, visit his website at http://www.BodyEssence.ca or call 416-292-4356.
Bodybuilding Sins That Cause Back Pain and Missed Workouts: Part 5
Welcome to article number five in our 5-part series "Bodybuilding Sins That Cause Back Pain and Missed Workouts". In this article we are going to cover some basic, yet powerful training principles that are often overlooked and are responsible for nearly all bodybuilding injuries?
Dumbbell Exercises That Suit Beginners
The aim for beginners to weight training must be to lay the foundations for the intensive workouts that their bodies will eventually be subjected to. Obviously successful bodybuilding involves bringing together disparate elements such as nutrition and rest but choosing the right exercises is crucial. In this article we'll outline the dumbbell exercises that will enable new bodybuilders to develop the general strength and body conditioning needed.
Chest Exercises For Beginning Bodybuilders
The chest area is one of the easist muscle groups for beginning bodybuilders to strengthen and develop. It consists of a large muscle (pectoralis major) to either side of the breastbone and a smaller muscle (pectoralis minor) underneath. The pecs are relatively easy to develop in the early stages simply because they can be trained intensively although care needs to be taken to work them from different angles to ensure full development.
Successful Body Building Routine
There are some major key parts to a successful body building routine. I will go over a routine that was created by a personal trainer for me, and it worked wonderfully.
Exercise The Right Way - The Deadlift
Other articles in this series looked at a number of exercises, mainly from the perspective of developing a comprehensive muscle building program. Sometimes we take things for granted, especially when it comes to performing the basic exercises that constitute the core of most bodybuilders' training regimes.
How to Build a Bigger and Better Chest
Creating a larger more powerful chest is difficult but if you follow this easy workout you'll see results in no time.
Arm Exercises For Beginning Bodybuilders
Most people new to bodybuilding pay a lot of attention to building big arms, sometimes to the point of overtraining. Don't forget, the arm muscles are brought into play during most exercises aimed at other body parts so care must be taken not to overdo things.
Fitness & Muscle Building Know How for Hard Gainers
Hard gainers are individuals who train equally hard as other people but somehow fail to make any gains comparable to others. They need a lot more than hard training. Hard gainers need to incorporate many different principles in order to achieve their muscle building ambitions and goals. Many bodybuilders get to discover this through the hard way of personal experience, which results in wasted time, energy and money.
One Simple Movement Can Double the Effectiveness of Pulldowns
The Pulldown is an excellent exercise for working the Latissimus Dorsi muscles of the back (also known as the lats). It is a little known fact but there is a way you can dramatically improve the effectiveness of this exercise by performing one simple movement before each rep.
Strong To The Core of Your Being - The Benefits Of Core Training
If you were to ask me which muscle group in your entire body you could work to get the greatest benefits in the shortest amount of time, I would tell you without hesitation, "the core." Strengthening the core can realize tremendous benefits to anyone regardless of his or her training experience and can do so very quickly.
Focus on Both Consistency and Variability in Your Workouts for the Best Results
In one of my recent articles, I spoke about the fact that you must alter your training variables that make up your workouts if you want to continuously get good results, whether it is losing weight, building muscle, or toning up.
They Dont Know Squat!
There seems to be much confusion amongst trainers and trainees as to whether squats should be performed all the way down or just half way. In most gyms today, a common instruction during squats, deadlifts, and lunges (as taught by many personal training organizations) is not to allow the knees to travel beyond the toes. Doing so will ultimately cause the destruction of your knees! I do not agree. There are certain instances where partial range of motion (ROM) is indicated, but for the most part, I teach people the full squat for the following reasons:
What Do You Mean Low-Intensity Training Isn?t The Best For Fat Burning?
But how can this possibly be? Everywhere you look, it's always said that long-duration, low-intensity training is best for fat loss. All high-intensity work does is burn carbohydrates, right?
Muscle-Building Exercises and Growth-Boosters
I have 'emerged' some subtle bodybuilding techniques that infuse rapid muscle-growth to any trainee. You see, the "factor of top intensity levels" in combination with "aggressive workouts that expel pure testosterone bursts", is the key to a fantastic muscular development.
Four Powerful Tricks for Successful Lucid Dreaming
By definition, Lucid Dreaming means "conscious awareness during the dream state." But how can this be? Every book I've ever read on dreaming has described the dream state as being an entry into the unconscious, so how can you possibly be conscious during dreaming, and be able to enter your dreams. It's an interesting theory, and I've discovered some very positive information that will help you in your Lucid dreaming attempts.
Do Electric Ab Stimulators Really Work?
Electronic muscle stimulators are the latest craze, the hottest fad... but you want to know "do they really work!" Right?
A Very Simple Program Anybody Can Follow To Gain MASS
Until I started following a routine to eat, my gains were minimal. Once I set my eating times to a specific time during the day along with a protein boost, I could see the gains immediately. This sample program is a quick way to get your protein WAY up and generally increase your food intake. But it doesn't require the traditional sit down 6+ a day to eat 30 chicken breasts and spend all day cooking. I've got a full-time job at a corporate office. Cooking isn't an option. Nor is eating 6+ times a day involving meals with Tupperware and the likes. I need food and I need it fast.
Beach Body Abs
With the return of warm weather in the spring, thoughts can never be too far behind of the approaching summer and the many wonderful outdoor activities that we'll often associate with it and among our top favorite summertime activities will always be the trip to the beach. Warm blue skies, refreshing ocean breezes, hot sand, cool waves and the many attempts at constructing the perfect sand castle; you can swear you're almost there just thinking of it. But that mental image just wouldn't be complete without also including images of hard, bronze bodies in attractive swimsuits soaking up the sun. Let's face it, attractive physiques will always be a top draw at the beach and the abs, or midsection, is the first thing that everyone notices.
Muscle Building Training Tips For Beginners
(*) Proper bodybuilding exercises technique.
Muscle and Fitness -- The Second Key To Successfully Achieving Your Fitness Goals
Lets discuss Muscle and Fitness -- The Second Key To Successfully Achieving Your Fitness Goals. But just before that, I'd like to remind you about what the previous article discussed.
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