Abs & Core-Abdominal Training Exercises

  Abs Training

Weighted Crunches          Decline Crunches          Weighted Decline Crunches          Hanging Leg Raises          Leg Raises         

Core Training

Planks          Side Planks          Side Bends          Walking Rotations


Abs Training:


Abdominal training consists of any exercise focused upon building up the rectus abdominis, or “6 Pack”. The rectus abdominis is the muscular connection between your anterior pelvis (hips) and rib cage. Its main functions include protecting your internal organs and flexing the spinal column. Other functions include stabilization along with assisting most movements of the spinal column or hips. To emphasis the use of the rectus abdominis, there must be movement that brings the chest and hips closer together anteriorly. If these two points do not come closer upon movement then the focus of the exercise is placed elsewhere and the rectus abdominis becomes an assistive muscle. To increase the hypertrophy (size) and strength of the rectus abdominis there must be increasing intensity over time the same as any other muscle. This can be done with added resistance or increasing volume. When training for strength, use a resistance that allows for 5-10 repetitions. When adding volume do not do sets of more than 25 repetitions. 10-15 repetitions is a good intensity to volume range. While building up your abdominals use basic techniques such as the ones listed below to build a base before utilizing unique exercises.

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Weighted Crunches:IMG_2573IMG_2571

Purpose- Increase Abdominal Strength, Increase Abdominal Hypertrophy

Prime Movers- Rectus Abdominis (Abs)

Technique- Lay on a flat surface with your feet placed so that your knees are higher than your hips. Hold a weight at arms length above your shoulders. This can be a barbell, dumbbells or even a weight plate. While keeping your head in line with your upper spine and hips down, curl your chest towards your hips to raise the weight higher above you. Keep your arms straight up as you move and control the descent by slowly returning to the start.

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Decline Crunches:

Purpose- Increase Abdominal Strength, Increase Abdominal Hypertrophy

Prime Movers- Rectus Abdominis (Abs), Rectus Femoris (Legs, Hips)

Technique- Lay on a decline bench with your legs hooked so that you are stable. Begin by curling your chest towards your hips and raising your torso off the bench until you are sitting vertical. Then control the descent, reversing the motion, until just before your shoulder blades touch the bench. Repeat for repetitions while maintaining tension on your abdominals.

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Weighted Decline Crunches:

Purpose- Increase Abdominal Strength, Increase Abdominal Hypertrophy

Prime Movers- Rectus Abdominis (Abs), Rectus Femoris (Legs, Hips)

Technique- Lay on a decline bench with your legs hooked so that you are stable. Begin by, holding a weight over your chest or at arm’s length over your shoulders, as you curl your chest towards your hips and raising your torso off the bench until you are sitting vertical. Then control the descent, reversing the motion, until just before your shoulder blades touch the bench. Repeat for repetitions while maintaining tension on your abdominals and holding the weight in the same position throughout.

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Hanging Leg Raises:IMG_2565IMG_2564

Purpose- Increase Abdominal Strength, Increase Abdominal Hypertrophy

Prime Movers- Rectus Abdominis (Abs)

Technique- Grasp a pull-up bar or stable object high enough so that your feet do not touch the ground when fully extended. Use a double overhand, shoulder width or wider grip. Before hanging from the bar, create an external rotation (twist thumbs towards your eyes) torque on the bar to put your shoulders in a more safe position. Keep this torque throughout the exercise. Begin hanging from the bar with your legs fully extended and pushed slightly in front of your body. While keeping your torso relatively vertical, raise your legs as high as you can while curling your hips towards your chest. Slowly control the descent and avoid swinging between repetitions.

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Leg Raises:

Purpose- Increase Abdominal Hypertrophy

Prime Movers- Rectus Abdominis (Abs)

Technique- Lay on a flat surface and bend at the waist so that your back is completely flat. Flex your core and press your lower back into the floor while descending. To begin, fully extend your legs so that they are straight over your hips and press your arms into the ground next to your hips, but not under. Lower your legs under control until they are hovering slightly over the floor, or until your lower back begins to arch. Do not let your back arch at any point. Flex your abdominals so that your legs come back up to the starting position and continue through by curling your hips up towards your chest while pressing your feet up towards the sky. Control the descent down and repeat.

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Core Training:

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 Core training consists of exercises focused upon building up the muscles which stabilizing the torso and resists change during movement. This includes increasing the utilization of all the core muscles in unison. The core consists of many muscles attached between the rib cage and pelvis (hips). These muscles create a cylinder like structure that surrounds your internal organs. The base of the cylinder is the pelvis, with all of its musculature, and the top is the diaphragm. All the muscles surrounding the internal organs between these two points help with core stabilization. Knowing this, it is not enough just to train the abdominals and the lower back. Muscle must be strengthened in all directions around the core. To train all the surrounding musculature, there must be movements practiced that attempts to bring the torso out of rigidity and into flexion or rotation. The main movements and most exercises use the core to stabilize the movements created by the limbs and increase the use of the entire body as one unit. A weak or misused core stabilization can greatly diminish the maximal strength of any lift. The exercises listed below are basic exercises that lay a strong foundation the core musculature. To increase strength of the core, there must be an increase in resistance over time. While training the core, ensure that all the core muscles are working in unison by bracing your entire torso throughout the exercise.

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Planks:IMG_2501

Purpose- Build Core Stabilization, Increase Core Strength

Prime Movers- Abdominal Complex (Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Obliques, Spinal Erectors), Glutes (Hips)

Technique- Place your forearms on the ground so that your elbows are shoulder width. Set one foot behind you so that your leg is fully extended and your body forms a straight line from your head to heels. Flex your glute and brace your core. To start, set your other foot behind you so that you are touching the ground with only your forearms and balls of your feet. Keep a neutral spine, core braced and glutes flexed while pulling your elbows down towards your feet. Hold your body stable for time while breathing normally.

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Side Planks:IMG_2506

Purpose- Build Core Stabilization, Increase Oblique Strength

Prime Movers- Abdominal Complex (Obliques, Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Spinal Erectors), Glutes (Hips)

Technique- Laying to one side, place your forearm on the ground just below your shoulder. Extend both legs so that your body forms one straight line from your head to heels. While flexing your glutes and bracing your entire core, raise your hips off the floor to start. Keep your core braced as you breathe normally and hold for time. Make sure to keep your glutes and oblique flexed hard.

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Side Bends:

Purpose- Increase Oblique Activation, Increase Oblique Strength

Prime Movers- Obliques, Rectus Abdominis (Abs)

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Technique- While standing erect with feet shoulder width, grab a weight with one hand and hold it to your side. This could be a dumbbell, kettle bell, plate, cable attachment or anything you can find. Hold the weight slightly behind you so that your shoulder is back and down. While keeping your hips fixed, lean your torso towards the weight until you feel your opposing obliques activate. Pause in this position and flex them hard to return to the start position before controlling the descent again. Do not twist as you flex laterally.

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Walking Rotations:

Purpose- Increase Core and Oblique Activation, Increase Oblique Strength

Prime Movers- Obliques, Abdominal Complex (Obliques, Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Spinal Erectors)

Technique- While standing erect, hold a weight plate in front of you with your arms bent. Take one step forward and rotate your torso outward towards that leg while staying vertical. When you feel a stretch, begin to rotate your torso the other direction as you take a step so that you repeat on the other side. Maintain a vertical torso and feet planted firmly into the ground. Do not let your knees internally rotate while rotating.

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Disclaimer

When participating in any exercise or training program there is a possibility of physical injury. If you engage in any movements, exercises or training programs, you agree to do so at your own risk. By voluntarily participating in these activities, you assume all risk of injury to yourself and agree to release and discharge Mathias Method, Ryan Mathias and all other affiliates of any responsibility if injury occurs. In addition, by following any of the suggested guidelines, protocols, templates, activities or any other information or advice on this website (mathiasmethod.com) you do so at your own risk. Do not begin any nutrition or training program without consulting with a  Board Certified Medical Doctor and/or Registered Dietician first.

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