What do you really think! Is a six pack of abs built on lots of core (crunches and sit-ups) or is it mainly your diet?
It depends. I mean for sure the abdominals can thicken if you work them smartly, but you can’t show them off drinking beer and eating pizza each day.
Even if you had a great set of abs, you’d still have to trim off any excess fat to show them off.
Are All You Ab Exercises Making You Stronger?
In high performance there is a common thinking that believes you should train your muscles for their intended purpose.
So, anything the moves, train it while moving it. An example would be your thighs. For those, you’d squat, deadlift and so forth.
But many people train stabilizer muscles dynamically (moving them), rather than what they are designed for; stability.
An example would be your abs. Most ab exercises out there do two things:
1) Shorten your hip flexors
2) Get trained dynamically
What’s your point Aaron?
How you train your core is totally your call, and all I want to do is make sure you:
A) Get stronger in your lifts
B) Keep your back safe
You’ve heard of muscle memory, whereby repeating the same movement over and over again can possible result in a learned movement that becomes a habit.
Think about the poor posture out in the world and how so many people struggle with form in a squat?
And even more so in a Deadlift!
Can the crunch or sit-up be to blame?
I mean, if you do that many, would the brain not memorize that movement (poor thoracic posture- hunched over, shoulder swung forward)?
There’s more. If you can’t hold your brace (abs are huge here!) when lifting, your low back will pay dearly.
Although I could expand on those, the reason I wrote this is to help you get a stronger core and a strong low back while keeping your low back safe during your lifts.
And that brings me to these questions.
1) How many of your core exercises require your hips to go into flexion?
2) And how many positions in daily life require your hips to be flexed?
The hip flexors attach along the spine and they are terribly overused in daily life. And then we go to the gym only to continue shortening them creating more back pressure and wear that we do not want!
Do you think a fit core (you can see your abs) is a strong core?
In some for sure, but for too many, sadly, it is not.
A long time ago I sat down with Alwyn Cosgrove for a brief lunch and we talked about vertical jumps (The sport was figure skating) and when I asked him how he trained the skaters to get a higher jump, her replied “ I teach them how to land. They first need to decelerate”.
And he was right! No matter how high your jump as a figure skater, if you can’t stick the landing, it won’t matter.
The lesson here, well more of a guideline, is this.
If you do one motion repeatedly in daily life or in sport, you should do exercises to counter that movement to enhance performance, to get stronger and to improve flexibility.
Now back to your abs. You are in flexion almost what seems to be, all the time. So a great way to counter that motion is by opening up the hip flexors from both ends.
You can stretch and strengthen the attachments to the spine and the attachment to the thigh bone.
And this is a great exercise to develop a very powerful core and super strong abs for sports and for lifting.
Watch the video here and then go and give this killer drill a try.