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|Multi Dimensional Ab Training
by David GrisaffiIn some of my previous articles, I’ve written about why you need to change your ab programs frequently to avoid muscle adaptation, repetitive pattern overload injury, muscle imbalance and of course, boredom!. But those aren’t the only reasons you need exercise variety. The functions of the abdominal and core muscles are so numerous, so varied and so complex, that entire textbooks have been written on functional anatomy and kinesiology without even scratching the surface.
What this means to you is that since there are more actions and functions of the abs and core than any other body part, there are more possible exercises you can do for abs and core than for any other body part.
With literally hundreds of ab and core exercises to choose from, the irony is that most people are STILL doing workouts that revolve around only a few exercises such as crunches, sit ups, leg raises and maybe some ab machines…
This is what I call “training in only one dimension”… and that can spell “trouble”
One dimensional training leads not just to progress plateaus and muscle adaptation, but also failure to engage all the functions of the core region, to strengthen thoroughly in every plane of movement, or to develop the proper neurological link to the muscle.
The end result is muscle weakness, muscle imbalances, injuries, a distended lower abdominal area and or and a not so impressive midsection.
The Firm And Flatten Your Abs program includes about 50 exercises which allow you to train every muscle in your core region in every “dimension.” These dimensions include:
One way to enter a whole new “dimension” of abdominal training is to start using a Swiss ball – also known as a stability ball because a ball is an unstable surface. Training on an unstable surface flips the switch on your nervous system and activates stabilizing muscles that are weak in most people due to sitting at a desk all day long and or doing too much machine training.
Here are 5 of my favorites (includes illustrations and exercise instructions):
Prone Ball Roll
|Place your breast bone or sternum on the apex of the Swiss ball and wrap your arms around the ball.
Slowly roll side to side, holding your end position. As you gain more strength and stability you will be
able to roll farther out and hold the position longer.
Supine Lateral Ball Roll
This exercise improves many things in your body at one time.
Lie on your back on a Swiss ball. Position your body so that your head is comfortably supported on the ball, as well as the area between your shoulder blades. Extend you hip upward until your knees , hips and shoulders are all in the same horizontal plane.
Place your tongue on the roof of you mouth just behind your front teeth, a position that can be found by swallowing.
Extend your arms outward and turn the hands so the palms are facing upwards. Place a dowel rod in you hands
Begin to roll laterally. Throughout the exercise, hold the alignment of you body exactly as it was before moving, with the exception that you may move you feet in a small shuffle keep them in alignment with the body as you shift laterally.
Go only to the point that you can hold the alignment for the count of “one thousand and One”, then return to the opposite side, repeating the sequence.
Swiss Ball Side Flexion
The Side Sit requires simultaneous contraction of the internal and external Obliques, as well as the quadratus lumborum. This exercise is used to improve core strength and your back.
Place a Swiss ball under your hip and anchor one or both of your feet along the bottom of a wall
Hold your top leg as straight as possible and in line with the torso, shoulders and head, then lie over the ball to stretch the oblique abdominal muscles. Beginners should place their arms at their sides. Progress to placing your arms across your chest as shown, and then to having your fingertips behind you ears.
From the bottom position, initiate the side flexion movement from the trunk.
Side bend the spine one level at a time until the shoulder and head come up.
On the way down, the spine should dies flex over the ball one segment at a time starting from the bottom up.
Prone Jack knife
The prone jack knife is used to strengthen hip flexors, abdominal muscles and the shoulder girdle.
In a push up position, place your feet on the ball
Hold your spine straight and maintain head and neck alignment
Draw your legs under your body over the duration of two seconds
Return to the start position over the duration of two seconds
Repeat the exercise for the prescribed number of repetitions
Forward Ball Roll
The Forward Ball Roll strengthens the abdominal, hip flexors and shoulder Extenders. This exercise is very good for everyone to improve stability in the spine and shoulder girdle.
From a kneeling position, place your forearms on the ball with your palms facing each other.
Place a Dowel rod on your back. The goal is to maintain good spinal alignment as you roll forward. Good spinal alignment is indicated by not exaggerating any of your spinal curves, which often causes the stick to fall
Take a deep breath and draw the navel toward your spine just enough to slim your waistline slightly.
Begin rolling forward, moving from the hip and shoulder joints equally. The movement should terminate at the instant you feel you are going to lose spinal alignment. You will know you are losing spinal alignment if the curves in your spine increase and the stick falls off.
Just stop at the point at which you start to lose your ability to keep good form.
I realize if you’re not familiar with Swiss ball and core training, that some of these exercises may look unusual or even “weird” at first.
You might look at the pictures and say, “David, it looks to me more like “rolling around on a beach ball than training.”
Yup… that’s what a lot of people said… until they tried them and their abs started showing for the first time!
By expanding your arsenal of ab and core exercises and working them in every capacity and function for which they were designed, you will…
* Increase your strength
* Decrease the odds of ever having back pain
* Improve sports performance
* Avoid plateaus and muscle adaptation…
And maybe best of all..
* Get an impressive “six pack”
You can learn more about this concept of multi dimensional training and also see dozens of new core and ab exercises in the Firm And Flatten Your Abs Ebook:
About The Author :David Grisaffi majored in physical education and is a certified high performance exercise kinesiologist with the CHEK institute. David holds a total of 6 certifications, he is a high school wrestling and baseball coach as well as an independent trainer and strength coach, known especially for his work with professional boxers and golfers. David is the author of, Firm And Flatten Your Abs an online best seller which teaches you how to lose body fat and develop “six pack abs’ while improving strength, function and athletic power at the same time. You can contact David or learn more about his programs at www.FlattenYourAbs.net