My Favorite Ab Workout Ever

Written by Philip Walter on Feb 22 at 8:55 pm in free weights, itBODYnature, resistance training

photo courtesy of photo credit: Julio Ignacio / away !

When I woke up this morning, I was good and sore. You know that feeling when it hurts so good? It’s not so bad that you feel like you overdid it, but you know you did some work, you challenged your body in some way. That’s how I felt this morning – particularly in my core musculature. Because of that, I think I’ve hit on the best core workout you can get … and the best part is there’s not a single crunch, sit-up, or other abdominal isolation exercise in the entire workout.

See, your ab muscles are really stabilizers. They aren’t designed to do a lot of work in terms of lifting or crunching or pushing or pulling. No, your abs are stabilizers, which means they are here to keep your spine in proper alignment while other muscles do their jobs. So when you squat down and lift some heavy object, it appears you’re working only working your legs, but your abs are doing a lot of work too, just in keeping your trunk erect and in maintaining a healthy lumbar-pelvic rhythm.

This explains why the workout described below made me so sore in my core – all the exercises (save the bench press) require a good deal or core stabilization, which is what your abs are designed to do. So throw out the endless crunch routine and try the following workout sometime, then let me know if you’re abs aren’t talking to you the next day.

  • 5 Minutes of Dynamic Joint Mobility Warmup – Check out Scott Sonnon’s Intu-Flow Program for some ideas
  • Bench Press – 1 set of 15 at a light weight, followed by 2 sets of 8-10 at a more challenging weight, resting 30-45 seconds between
  • Chin Ups – 3 sets to failure
  • Bent Over Rows – 1 set of 15 at a light weight, followed by 2 sets of 8-10 at a more challenging weight, resting 30-45 seconds between
  • Squats – 1 set of 15 at a light weight, followed by 2 sets of 8-10 at a more challenging weight, resting 30-45 seconds between
  • Overhead Presses – 1 set of 15 at a light weight, followed by 2 sets of 8-10 at a more challenging weight, resting 30-45 seconds between
  • Compensatory Yoga

This is of course not the first time I’ve sung the praises of these exercises (check this post out for more), but they’re just so good for developing core strength I couldn’t help writing another quick entry about them. And girls, please don’t be afraid of these exercises. Yes, they require you going into the weight room, but trust me, it’s worth it, and don’t worry about getting too big or bulky, it’s just not going to happen like that. For more examples of workouts I’ve done like this and a specific look at the compensatory yoga moves, check out the workouts in this cycle, particularly those on 1-13, 1-5, and 12-29.

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  1. […] (and actually use) an ab wheel. A strong, stable core is essential to practically all other bodily movements, and all three of these traits combine with strength, power, and endurance to form a well-rounded […]

    Pingback by Never gymless (part 9) « No Magic Pill — March 29, 2009 @ 5:34 pm

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