Strong abs. Everyone wants them, very few people train to actually have them.
Oh, they may crunch and sit-up themselves to death. But crunches and sit-ups aren’t going to get you get you rock hard abs. They may give you some muscle development which MIGHT help you have some definition, if you’re lean enough. But they aren’t appropriate for most people and aren’t very necessary.
I have clients that do sit-up-like movements, but they’re pretty different than a traditional sit-up, and much safer.
Straight up-most people don’t need to, and shouldn’t be performing them. If you have any history of back pain (which is up to 80% of us), regular sit-ups and crunches should most likely be out of the question.
In short repeated extension (think how you arch your back in the morning to stretch) and flexion (think hunched over at the top of a sit-up or crunch) is not a good idea for the spine. Add to that the fact that we spend so much time in spinal flexion (sitting, watching TV, driving, eating, on the phone) that spending more time spent in that position probably isn’t a good idea.
“OK Mike enough facts, just make my abs strong!”
Ok, ok. Let’s get to a few moves to give you abs of adamantium.
(pssst-you may be wondering why “adamantium” and not “steel”? Adamantium is from the X-Men comic series. It’s the fictional metal that was grafted to Wolverine’s skeleton. It’s indestructible, which is why he was so strong. Like I want to your abs to be. Also, I like alliteration, so…adamantium.)
**A quick note: these moves will not be appropriate for everyone. These are like a challenging plank turned up to 11, or maybe 13. Be smart about whether or not you should attempt these, and please read through the cues so you perform these correctly.**
Fallouts are an intermediate level “anti-extension” abdominal exercise. Anti-extension is simply avoiding sagging through your back-like when people get tired while holding a plank, and their stomach is the closest part of their body to the floor. Don’t do that. It’s not good for a bunch of reasons.
Here’s what they look like:
Here’s how to do them:
-Set up with a TRX, suspension trainer, or rings. Set the handles to around waist height. This will be different for everyone, so you’ll have to play with the height to see what works for you.
-Before you move, brace your abs tight. Imagine someone is going to hit you in the stomach. Or that you’re constipated and trying your best to not be constipated anymore. Yeah, that kind of tight.
-Under control, lean forward, taking the tension in your abs, not your arms and shoulders. Start with a small movement and go lower only as you feel comfortable .
-You should not let your stomach sag, or your low back arch. You should also avoid sticking your butt out on the way back up.
If (IIIFFFFF) you can perform these REALLY WELL, you can try Fallouts Angels. These are like Fallouts, but with painful sprinkles on top. Do I know how to sell these, or what?
These are performed just like regular Fallouts, except at the bottom of the movement you bring your hands out to your sides and then back overhead…like a snow angel. Except there’s no snow. And you’re facing down. And you’re not on the ground. Aside from that, they’re exactly the same.
Again, these are not appropriate for everyone, but if you can perform them well, they are both a great exercises to strengthen your abs. Which is great for performance, relieving low back pain, avoiding injury, and being awesome. All pretty great things in my book.
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