Strengthen Your Core and Get Great Abs Faster
By Adding This One Movement to Your Training Routine
by David Grisaffi
There’s one simple movement pattern that is sorely lacking in most people’s abdominal training routines. By adding this, you will also increase your chances of getting a great set of six pack abs and a tighter, slimmer waistline. Adding this simple movement to your routine will also strengthen your core, increase your overall body strength and help prevent lower back pain.
This simple movement that will provide you will all these great benefits is rotation in transverse movement patterns. Huh? What the heck does that mean? Don’t worry, I’m going to explain in simple terms with a quick anatomy lesson and then move on to the exact exercises.
There are four major muscles that make up your abdominal core: rectus abdominis, external obliques, internal obliques, and the transverse abdominis. These muscles work together to flex and rotate the spine and to compress the abdomen. Since most movements involve more than one muscle, your workouts should try to train all these muscles in isolation and combination.
The rectus abdominis is the most prominent abdominal muscle. It is either the “pot belly” or the long segmented muscle that runs up and down the front of the torso. When it is fully developed it is the muscle where you see the six pack of abs, or in some cases an eight pack. It is the primary muscle involved in any “sit-up” type or flexion exercise.
This muscle is often considered one continuous muscle, however is does have separate nerve intervention and you do have “upper and lower abs.” What often happens is one section stabilizes while one performs the chosen exercise.
The external obliques run down your eight lower ribs to your hips and act as rotators along with the internal obliques. The internal obliques run in the opposite direction as the externals, but are just underneath them. They will not be visible when developed, but they are very important for core strength.
The transverse abdominis is the only one of the four that does not cause or affect trunk movement. It is important in holding your abdominal wall tight. You could say it’s the “suck in your gut” muscle if you will. It is also important in that it pulls on the diaphragm to force you to breath out.
Hopefully, a fuller understanding of these four core muscles will help you to appreciate the need for rotation in transverse movement in your ab workout and their roles in obtaining a six pack of abs. They are also important for power and optimum sports performance.
Baseball, football, tennis, and golf depend on the power generated from these abdominal and core muscles. It is hard to find a good college or professional athlete that does not have a great looking six pack of abs. Typically, these muscles have been trained using crunches, reverse crunches or other flexion exercises. Those types of exercises are only half of the battle, at best.
Both of theses exercises isolate a section of the Rectus abdominis, but normally ignore the obliques and transverse abdominis. That is why it is so important to integrate transverse movement patterns into your abdominal workouts. It is important, also, to have these muscles fully lengthen before contracting while they are performing. A muscle will contract more forcefully and efficiently if it is allowed to fully lengthen.
Effective training of the abdominals, in pursuit of a six pack of abs, does not require one exercise alone. Effective abdominal must should incorporate many of the larger transverse movement patterns, and position the performer in multiple starting stances. All exercises should allow for complete lengthening and shortening of the muscles. This is called the “pre-load and unload” cycle. If you make correct use of the “pre-load and unload” cycle you will get a more forceful and efficient motion from your abdominal muscles.
Now that we have gone over the “why’s” let’s look into the “how’s”. I am going to walk you through 3 different exercises that will give you the optimum training effect I’m talking about here.
Exercise #1: Standing or Sitting Horizontal Woodchopper:
Start in the standing position with your feet flat and in a good athletic stance. Grasp a dumbbell with your right hand and overlap your left so you have both hands on the dumbbell. Raise your arms with the dumbbell so they are parallel to the floor out in front of your face at shoulder height.
Slowly begin to rotate the dumbbell to your right until you can not longer rotate at your core or trunk level. Do not rotate your shoulders. This exercise comes from the core. Slowly return to the starting position and then proceed to rotate to the left.
This will complete one repetition. Try to do 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions. Do not sacrifice your form for additional weight. Less is more!
Exercise #2: Russian Twist Knees Bent.
This is a simple exercise and stretch. By bending the knees, the level is shorter and the amount of weight is less then the full version with your legs straight pointing towards the ceiling. This exercise uses your obliques in a transverse plan movement.
Lie on the floor on a comfortable surface
Raise you legs so that your knees are pointing toward the ceiling. Place your arms at 90 degrees to your body with your palms down. This keeps your upper body still.
Gently lower your legs to the floor on one side keeping them at a 90 degree angle to the trunk. Return legs to the upright position.
Repeat to the opposite side. This is one repetition.
Perform 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions.
You can also use a Swiss ball under your calves and performing the exercise in the same manner. You could also place a light medicine ball between your knees to add some resistance.
Exercise #3 : Reverse Woodchopper
This can be done standing or sitting using a dumbbell, Swiss ball or a cable system. This will depend on your experience and goals. Use proper form while doing all exercises and remember less is more sometimes.
The wood chopper series is one of the best ways for integrating the oblique musculature into a functional movement pattern.
Think of this movement as someone baling hay.
I will describe this exercise using a cable system, but again this can be done using a dumbbell or Swiss ball.
Standing perpendicular to the weight stack and cable system in an athletic stance.
Use the bottom pulley or if you are using an adjustable cable system set the pulley at the bottom position. Grasp the handle with your right hand and put left hand over your right.
Draw your belly button in to your spine to add stability to your core.
Gently rotate your torso and pull the cable handle up and across the front of your chest.
To a fully extended arm position on the opposite side of you body above your head.
Keep you arms straight from start to finish.
Return to the starting position. Repeat for prescribed describer below.
Do this exercise for 3 sets of 12-15 reps
These are three very basic exercises that have multiple variations that can incorporate rotation in transverse movement to achieve a six pack of abs. Always make sure you do a full amount of exercises to keep the core active and firm. Rotate your shoulders towards the knees, in an alternating pattern as you do your crunches. This will help to insure that the obliques are used.
Isometric exercises can be done that will strengthen the transverse abdominis. I call this the TV tummy tuck and it can be done while sitting or on your hands and knees. But if you are in your car or at work you do these. Suck in your gut and tighten your abdominals. Hold for 10 seconds then slowly release. Repeat and increase your hold time as you get used to the exercise. In the gym do an exercise called the “plank”. Lift your body off of the ground on your elbows and toes. Contract your abs and relax your shoulders and neck. Remember to breath and hold as long as possible.
The abdominal region is best developed by rotating the motion along you transverse plane. Resistance across your center of gravity is a good for your entire core. This forces all four of the abdominal muscle groups to work and perform together. This rotation in transverse movement allows for your six pack of abs to develop and the obliques to show up as a beautiful frame for them.
These 3 exercises will get you started on the right foot. If you’d like to learn more, you’ll find over 40 exercises in my Firm and Flatten Your Abs Program at –http://www.flattenyourabs.net/