Lower Ab Workouts – A Waste of Time?

Ab Muscle diagram

Lower ab workouts are often the subject of infomercials trying to sell you fat burning gizmos such as the Self Electrocution Belt ™ and the Low Back Killer Swing™. On a more serious note, what we often see on TV in those commercial breaks is a successful attempt to give people what they want.

We want to burn the fat around our bellies. We want it easy and we want it fast. So the marketing geniuses brainstorm and come up with an idea that *seems* to work the lower ab region. Then they get sweaty and fit fitness models to demonstrate the gadget and flex their six pack abs – and this is where the scam happens.

The Lower Six Pack Abs Myth

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4 Dangerous Mistakes People Make With The Full Contact Twist

In the last post I introduced to you the full contact twist and shared a couple of tips on technique and proper form. In this post I want to point out a few mistakes that I’ve seen people make when I teach them the full contact twist. Mistakes are a normal part of the learning process but it is important to learn a safe and effective technique for each exercise.

We don’t want to hurt ourselves. What follows is a selection of videos I found online with people demonstrating the drill. If one of these videos is yours, apologies for using it as a *bad example* – I only want to help people get strong and stay safe.

Mistake #1 – Extending The Arms

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Full Contact Twist For Samurai Abs Of Steel

The full contact twist, the way I am going to teach it you, is an exercise that will give you extremely strong abdominal muscles as well as general full body strength. With this exercise you can’t help but feel the core muscles work.

You see, when you do crunches or sit-ups, you have to do countless reps, until you fatigue the muscles and finally start feeling them working. This is not the case with this drill. Here you feel the abs right away and this is part of the reason I like the full contact twist so much.

To do the exercise, you need to hedge one end of a barbell in a corner or under something that keeps it from slipping. Then load the other end of the barbell with a weight plate, squat down, grab it with both hands and then stand up and extend your arms forward.

Now the movement starts – twist from side, moving the bar in an outward arc until it touches your thigh. Rotate the hips and torso as well as the trailing foot in the direction that the bar goes. Watch this instructional video below so it becomes clearer and then take a look at the technique tips below.

Here I’m demonstrating the full contact twist with just 15kg on the barbell. This weight is a good start if you consider yourself strong, but haven’t tried this drill. If you are new to training, don’t hesitate to start with an empty bar for a set or two and gradually increase the load.

What is the Full Contact Twist

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Renegade Rows – Do You Make These Mistakes? Part II

A reader of this site, Andy, asked me in Part I of the renegade rows series what to do once renegade rows become way too easy. He says he doesn’t feel his abs sore after workout. I will answer this in two parts. First, I wanna make something clear regarding muscle soreness. It is a sign of only one thing – that your body was not ready or adapted for the stress that caused the soreness. Nothing else. So you may continue to workout, especially when training for strength as opposed to muscle size (these are two different goals!), without needing to blast your body so that it’s sore every time.

The second issue is whether you do the renegade rows with proper form to ensure that your core gets maximum stimulation. So in this article I will address the issue of proper form in more detail.

Good Explanation Of Proper Form

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Renegade Rows – How to Get Ridiculously Hard Abs, Part I

The renegade row, developed and named by coach John Davies, is one of the hardest and most effective abdominal exercises. The reason for this is that renegade rows force you to use the primary function of the stomach muscles – stabilization. In other words the exercise teaches you how to keep your body as rigid as possible. You have no other choice but to contract your abs as hard as possible. Otherwise you won’t be able to maintain a rigid body.

Above is a video of the renegade row. Watch and note the three main keys to the proper execution of the movement.

Technique

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The L-Sit – Train Your Abs Like A Gymnast

What if it were possible to achieve the core and abdominal strength of a world class gymnast while training at home, only for a few minutes per day with no equipment or gadgets? Well guess what – it is possible to do it if you master the L-Sit.

Pictured above is Bruce Lee in an even harder variation of the L sit – the V sit. He is wearing the suit from the movie Game of Dead which he unfortunately did not finish filming. What little he did film is fantastic though.

Variations

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Core Training – Discover the Hollow Position and the Main Function of the Abs – Stabilization of the Core

Can’t go wrong with a picture of a girl with a sexy body. Anybody disagree? Didn’t think so lol.

In Part 1 of the Core Training Series I discussed the Arch Position – a way to get a strong and healthy lower back. Today it’s six pack time. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you what happened today.

Met up with a buddy of mine for a quick talk at a bar. He happened to be friends with the bartender there. We started talking and I found out the bartender was also a model.

He said he was training his abs thoroughly with various exercises and was quite content with their development. He also mentioned however that he was complaining of lower back pain. Said his lower back muscles were failing him.

He Was Clueless

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Core Training – The Arch Position Gives You Strong Core Muscles and a Healthy Back

Have you ever had lower back problems? Like some sort of pain or pinching sensation? I know I have. In fact one of the first injuries I had was back in 8th grade when I started getting serious in my basketball training.

So back to my story. I was running and all of a sudden changed directions and felt something weird in my lower back.

A Kind of Pinching

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