Ripped, six pack abs may get admiring looks at the beach or by the pool, but in my world as a strength and conditioning coach, what comes first and counts the most is not looks, but function. Stated differently, I’m talking about athleticism. Function is the ability to use those abdominal muscles for a reason, such as excelling in sports.
The interesting thing is, when you train for function and athleticism, the form almost always follows the function. Train like an athlete and you will look like an athlete. Perhaps you won’t build the muscle bulk of a bodybuilder, but take a good look at wrestlers, gymnasts or boxers. There you have some of the most athletic people in the world, and it is no coincidence that in these sports you also see some of the finest physiques in the world as well.
As a specialist in sports-specific training for boxers, I speak from experience, and if you’d like to learn how to develop the punch-proof six pack abs of a pro boxer with the strength and athleticism to match, then read on.
People in the mainstream public are finally starting to realize the effectiveness of boxing training, as the class schedule at your local health club and the DVD rack at your local video store will show you. Some of them are quite good, but most are NOT the real thing. To deliver a punch such as in REAL boxing you need to not only hit hard enough to stop your opponent, but also posses a mid-section strong enough to take a punch and protect your vital organs. That takes a very specific and very serious type of abdominal and core training.
I’ve trained professional boxers for more than 13 years and boxing physical culture goes back long before that. In fact, boxing was one of the two most well known sports in America up until the mid 60’s (baseball was the other one). The old training regimes of boxers still linger today. Traditions are hard to change and this type of conditioning gets handed down from boxing generation to the next.
When I first started, I saw that there was no real science behind what most of the pro boxers did – they just did what everyone else had done before them. There’s a lot to be said for the traditional methods, but with the addition of modern exercise methods and the application of scientific core training, the results and level of physical conditioning in the top pros today is simple awesome to see.
When working with an old school boxer, I implemented changes slowly as I had to gain trust before I could implement all of what I knew. Once they saw the improvement in power and speed they all started believing. The best part is, you can begin to apply some of these training methods in your own workouts immediately, and you can do it knowing that they have been proven effective by the toughest athletes in the world.
Boxing is sport that utilizes different metabolic systems of the body. Each metabolic system needs to be addressed for total success to be achieved. One cannot just have great strength and not have strength-endurance, for example. Strength-Endurance is the ability to contract a muscle system over an extended period of time. This is one component a boxer must train to achieve success. Explosive strength is another component, which is the ability to develop maximum force in the shortest time period. Have you ever watched a Mike Tyson fight? His left hook was what we call EXPLOSIVE STRENGTH!
Also a boxer needs to be trained in all planes of motion so they can produce a punch hard enough to render their opponent un-conscious!
There are many different routines I prescribe for my boxers depending on their starting condition and the amount of time they have before a fight. Each program is thought out thoroughly before being implemented.
For our purposes, I’m going to teach you four exercises that I use with most of my boxing clients which have also been appropriate and equally effective for my personal training clients who are not boxers but who would like the athletic physiques and punch proof abdominals of a boxer.
I like to change routines with my clients on a regular basis and you should too. You can incorporate these exercises into your regular routine for variety which stimulates new progress and gives you a break from the boredom. This core/abdominal program will get your abs rock hard in no time. It creates an powerful, strong core that not only looks good but functions correctly. This program will give you the body of an athlete.
The only equipment you need for this "punch proof abdominals" program is a medicine ball or a deflated Swiss ball (as shown in the pictures), an overhead bar to hang from and a floor mat.
David Grisaffi’s Punch-Proof Abs
(A1) Hanging Leg Raise – Multi-Position Holds
This is a very advanced exercise designed for highly fit athletes. Do not perform this exercise as pictured above if you are a beginner or if you have lower back pain or injuries. Intermediates can adjust the holds to 5 seconds or perform regular reps. A regression to make the exercise easier is to use the bent leg variation with the knees bent at a 90 degree angle.
Perform the movements in the following sequence:
(A2) Swiss Ball Alternating Crunch With Knee Pinch
This exercise is designed to have rotation and co contraction of flexion at the same time.
Note: During all abdominal crunch exercise, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth as if you were swallowing. This helps stabilize your cervical spine.
Position: Lie on a bench with a with a Swiss ball or a large leather medicine ball pinched between your legs
1. With some force contract your oblique muscular system so your right elbow is hits the Swiss ball with some power.
(A3) Swiss Ball Forward Roll ("arms extended crunch"):
Trunk flexion or "crunch" sit-up is the most popular exercise for conditioning the abdominal region. However, if the crunch sit-up is not performed with additional abdominal exercises like the ones mentioned earlier it could have a detrimental effect on your body over time. When performed correctly, the crunch is a good upper abdominal region strengthening exercise. If the crunch is overused it can lead to a more ridged thoracic spine. It also contributes to a shortened rectus abdominis, which in turn pulls the rib cage towards the pelvis resulting in poor postural alignment. This leads to the inability to extend backward, increasing likelihood of injury and poor posture.
Position: Lie on a workout bench. To perform the exercise correctly, maintain proper neutral posture in the cervical spine. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth preventing shear forces through your cervical spine. Keep the lower back pressed firmly against the floor throughout the exercise.
1. Place your arms straight out toward the ceiling while pinching the Swiss ball between your legs.
2. Moving slowly, contract your rectus abdominis rising up one vertebra at a time. Keep tension in the abdominals at all times. Do not let your chin drop to your chest. A good way to maintain neutral posture in the cervical spine is to pretend your chin is traveling towards the ceiling. Once you have reached full contraction, slowly return to the start position.
3.Once you have reached full contraction, slowly return to the starting position
4. Repeat for the prescribed number of reps
A4) Back Arch
The back Arch is designed to strengthen all the extensor muscles of the body. Note: this is similar to the "Cobra" exercise, but the difference is your hands stay on the ground rather than held free to the sides of your body.
Position: Lie flat on your belly on a mat or comfortable surface. Keep your head in the neutral position.
The workout is circuit-oriented as that is always a good way to develop not only muscle strength and endurance but also to burn body fat. The workout was set up to shift you from burning carb fuel to burning fat fuel. Do this routine on an empty stomach and you will see results in less than few weeks: Less fat, more strength, punch proof abdominals!
Coach David Grisaffi,
P.S.If you enjoyed this workout, then you will love the workout programs in my Firm And Flatten Your Abs E-book. You can get more information on the home page at:
About the Author:
David Grisaffi majored in physical education and holds multiple certifications including 3 from the prestigious CHEK Institute: Level II high Performance Exercise Kinesiologist, Golf Biomechanic, and health and lifestyle counselor. He’s also certified by the ISSA as a personal trainer and specialist in performance nutrition. David has been a high school wrestling and baseball coach and is currently an independent trainer and strength coach.
He has been sought after by some of the top athletes in professional sports including world champion boxer Greg Haugen and professional golfer Michael Putnam. David’s ebook, Firm And Flatten Your Abs is an online best seller which teaches you how develop “six pack abs" while improving strength, function and athletic power at the same time. Find out more on the home page at: http://flattenyourabs.net
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