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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:03 am 
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2 issues.

One, all data about needing to reduce sodium was mined from studies that actually show just the opposite. They simply cherry picked the 3 or 4 groups that gave them their desired result. Also Low sodium can increase renin levels. This can cause hypertension. There are an entire class of anti-hypertensive drugs that work by reducing renin levels.

Two, Swiss balls are pretty much useless. Problem 1 is you must lower the weight so much that it does nothing for the target muscles. Then the abdominal contractions you are getting from it aren't even that great. You can get the same effect from standard flat unweighted crunches! If you want to pair abs with something pair it with legs. Squat and deadlift variations activate abs way better then the swiss ball.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:49 am 
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I dont quite think you can get the same effect from doing squats and deadlifts. Also do to the fact that abs recover much faster than lower back and leg/hips, you could be training your abs a lot more often than if you were only using squats/deadlifts to train them, unless you train squats/deadlifts 3-4 times per week.

Ever done a swiss ball layout? You can try it by putting your forearms on the ball and facing the ball, now extend your arms out in front of you so that you are in a layout position. The better you are at it, the less of your forearm should be on the ball in the extended position.

Also, doing crunches on a ball is a good way to attain a prestretch of the abs. Certainly there are other ways to do that but this is just another. You can also do DB bench press on a swiss ball, great way to add more stabilizer work.

A swiss ball certainly isnt a requirement for a good workout facility but a great workout facility will have a lot of different pieces of equipment to give you variety and keep you adaptive. The swiss ball is just another extra like a medicine ball or chains and bands. You dont need those to be a great lifter but they can certainly help if you know how to use them.


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 Post subject: hmmm
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:01 am 
hi ironman! i was under the imression that sodium causes hypertension. obviously some people beleive that it is needed for preserving food but here in scotland i dont think we need it as much ( esp. at this time of year!! ) it dehydrates and blah blah i've said the rest already! up to u! i avoid it.

nc




Ironman wrote:
2 issues.

One, all data about needing to reduce sodium was mined from studies that actually show just the opposite. They simply cherry picked the 3 or 4 groups that gave them their desired result. Also Low sodium can increase renin levels. This can cause hypertension. There are an entire class of anti-hypertensive drugs that work by reducing renin levels.

Two, Swiss balls are pretty much useless. Problem 1 is you must lower the weight so much that it does nothing for the target muscles. Then the abdominal contractions you are getting from it aren't even that great. You can get the same effect from standard flat unweighted crunches! If you want to pair abs with something pair it with legs. Squat and deadlift variations activate abs way better then the swiss ball.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:04 pm 
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First thing, it was either Cosgrove or Poloquin recently did an article saying that. It was interesting because I had always maintained that, and it was nice to see someone like that come to the same conclusion.

Second thing, you are talking about a swiss ball exercise where the abs are the target, I was talking about targeting other muscles om the swiss ball to get activation of abs. Look at my previous post and you will see that. That is why I compare it to squat and deadlift variation.

Of course since you brought up ab targeting exercises on a swiss ball, I'll go ahead and complete the point about them being useless. I do situps on a decline bench while holding 110 pound curl bar in front of me. I doubt I could do that on a swiss ball. It would probably pop out from under me and shoot across the gym. I can work my abs better on any of the different types of ab benches or a standard decline bench then I could on a swiss ball.

The reason people think abs recover faster is because you can do those silly swiss ball crunches and whatever every day if you want to. It would be same thing with legs if you squat with submaximal weight you could do that everyday. The stair master is a submaixmal weight version of the step up, you could do that everyday, and some people do.

Show me what it is that abs are made of that make them have so much better recovery then other muscles. Show me why they detrain quickly so that you would need to work them so often.

I suppose I at least half way use them everyday because I do almost nothing but freeweight, but you could say the same about my legs too and my lower back, maybe even my upper and middle back as well.

What about calves, that is the other magic muscle, do they have the same properties as abs too? If you think so, show me how they are different.

Now I know there are different types of fibers where with an exercise like calf raises, you can probably do 4 if you can do 1 at given weight. But show me how this or other factors has any effect on recovery or detraining which required the need for more frequent work, where as other muscles can be worked once a week with good progress. Lets talk apples to apples, no comparing sets of squats close to failure with some half hearted crunches.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:17 pm 
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Nicole, yes sodium can be a cause of hypertension, but only in people who are sensitive to it. I eat all that I want and nurses are shocked by my excellent blood pressure when it is taken. The reason the sodium does not give me hypertension is because I am not sensitive to it. Then my regular exercise lowers it. When ever I get a check up or give blood blood nurses always look at it funny and then say "oh wow that's really good."

People can be sensitive to cafine and it may interfer with weight loss. Most people aren't like that. So that would be no reason to say we ALL should aviod it. Same with nuts and shell fish, many people are allergic, but that is no reason to say nobody should eat it.

For me cinimon gum makes my tounge kind of numb the next day, that is not a reason to say people should not chew cinimon gum. Only that I shouldn't chew it. Therefore I stick with different mint flavors.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:25 am 
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Nothing?

Ok, does anyone else have any evidence showing that either abdominal or lower leg muscles have different recovery or detraining properties then other muscles? Let's say 1 isolation set done to failure or close to it. Like abs recovery and detraining after weighted decline situps vs the same properties of the quads after a set of barbell hack squats. Then compare them both to raises on the standing calf machine, a dumbbell curl, a lateral raise or whatever. Same loading and reps of course too.

I am ready, willing and waiting to admit I'm wrong as soon as I see the proof. Until then, I'll just maintain that I'm right.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 2:30 pm 
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Well, my assertion is that abs have more recovery than squats when both are training maximally, simply because the muscles are smaller. This is clearly true with the rest of your body as you could train things like side deltoids all the time if they werent getting training with other compound movements (so they are getting trained all the time and yet still recover, why is that?)

Your fiber type is certainly related to why this is especially true in abs and calves. If your abs and calves couldnt recover from a strenuous session, you would die in nature because you couldnt walk to shelter.

Less scientifically but still the opinion of a professional, you can check out Dr. Squat's ABC Bodybuilding where he has Abs done every other day on top of squats done 1-2 times per week.

Most top level powerlifters do some form of Ab training in addition to their movement training.

As far as having to lower the weight, like I said, they arent necessary for a good training program but they can help you add variations when you are at plateau. Take for instance a swimmer, who really does bench press to balance his shoulder joint (opposite basically the whole population). For this individual, the stabilizers are the most important so why press 100 when you can press 80 and get more on your stabilizers? What if he cant press 100 but can press 80? But the only benefit he needs is the stabilizer maintenance. No reason to waste effort pressing 100 when he can just press 80. I guess I think the swiss ball is about training economy. I have no problem saying that sitting on a swiss ball instead of a desk chair is pretty useless but saying they are useless altogether is pretty generally false.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 6:31 pm 
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On your first point, it seems like the bigger muscles could handle more if anything. There is a lot of overlap on lower body exercises, traps get used on deadlift variations when doing a ham focused leg workout. Legs, lower back and abs gets used a bit on bent over rows. Lower back and abs get used doing squats. My legs, abs and lower back get used when doing standing exercises. It is true something like triceps gets a lot of work when I do chest, but I allow for that and do very little isolation for them, sometimes only 1 set. So I don't see how that proves they are any different.

Fiber type? Well that means they have more endurance but I don't see how this helps them recover from maximal training. It just means they can handle large volumes of low intensity. If anything this shows you have to hit them hard and heavy. Otherwise they have no reason to adapt because they get low intensity work all day long.

I checked out Dr. Squat's site. Here is what he had to say about ab training.
"Well, of course there is more out on abs then I like to acknowledge. However, I do have three exercises, which I think make up a complete program: Pre-stretched Crunches, Side Bends and Russian Twists"

That's not working the abs. That's a gentle little love pat. I could do that every day. Unless you are fat or weak or just starting, that is nothing, you're abs do that all day long.

Ok, I can admit the swiss ball can be used for balance type of things. I am sure it's also good for circus tricks and in a pinch it could be a decent beach ball. I still don't see them as being at all useful for body composition or strength gains.

I'm going to go after another calf myth now. Everyone is into high reps for hypertrophy with those. I use low to moderate reps with heavy weight. After all why is 15 to 20 reps going to make them grow when your calves carry you around all day long?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 7:40 pm 
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It helps them recover from maximal training because they will never reach maximal output as your legs would. Therefore, they stay suited to what they need, which is endurance, which means they recover faster because the weight used is always sub maximal. I agree this means you have to hit them as hard as possible.

Well if that is a love pat, then you arent doing them right. Anyone can half-ass an exercise and say it is easy.

What do you suggest for ab work then? I could put 150% my max squat weight on my back and walk out with it and hold it everyday. Does that mean squatting doesnt work the abs? No. It means they recover fast. All I know is that ab soreness has never prevented me from squatting but sore legs/ham/butt/back sorenesshas stopped me. Can you explain that? Certainly they are all getting worked when I squat so if they all recover the same, then we should expect them to be good to go at the same time. Why arent they?

Try doing the exercise I described where you place your forearms ion the ball and then extend your arms in front (over your head) while keeping your back and legs straight, on your toes. If you think that is easy then you have stronger abs than most college athletes/pro athletes.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 3:17 am 
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I have gone to failure on abs. After a hard drop set I've had to hang there for a few seconds before I could get up. Usually I can tell when I won't make the last rep and I stop there. I don't know how much more maxed out I could get.

I have done them right. I just don't weigh enough to provide enough resistance. I suppose you could do russian twists on a decline with weight, but that's not what it says.

What do I suggest? Weighted exercises. Right now I put a bench at a pretty sharp decline and do situps holding a 110 pound curl bar in front of me, I can get about 6 when it starts to feel like I won't be able to get another, I drop the bar pick up a 45 lb plate to my right, do another 5 or 6, drop it grab the 25 lb plate to my left, get about 4 more, drop it and then I can get myabe 3 or 4 more at bodyweight. That of course is just the last set on my deadlifting day. Squating happened the day before that.

I can indeed explain why sore abs don't stop squating but sore legs do, it is because the abs are just a stabilizer, not the target. While they do contract pretty good, they are staying still and not actually moving.

Why aren't they? Here is why. In the squat the abs aren't being maxed out like the legs. That's why I suggest a little isolation for them. However that doesn't take away from the fact that they have been worked pretty well. a lot better then swiss ball dumbbell press for sure.

On the layout if you just mean legs straight at the end, no problem, thats probably easier then the ab roller. If you mean legs straight at the beginning too, I would think that wouldn't matter, but I can't say for sure. I can only bend just a hair sharper then 90 degrees at the waist with straight legs. My leg flexibility is barely average really. So if that makes it hard I'll have to take your word for it.

I could maybe believe my ab stength is up there, because most people don't really train them. I don't know though. Can they do decline situps with 110 pounds for reps? That is really sad if my abs are stronger. I'm the week bodybuilder sterotype if ever there was one. I'm 5' 11" and weighed in at 225 this morning, and the calipers say I have 12% bodyfat. I am 100% natural of course. My max barbell bench is like 230 or so, squat around 260 legs parallel, deadlift 325 pronated, could probably do 350 to 375 if I use mixed, barbell row 205 to 210. Like I said very very sad indeed if my abs are stronger. I pretty much train all hypertrophy all the time. Sure lately I have been doing strength a bit to try to get my lifts up (I won't even tell you what I was lifting just a short time ago). I Would have only done it a few weeks if it wasn't making me grow. Just to show how single minded I am in my goals. Plus on top of that I'm still working some fat off, trying to get down to 7%. Not bad though considering I've only been doing true hardcore "know what I'm doing" bodybuilding for about 18 months. Plus another year of diligent weight lifting, plus 1 additional year where I workout out once or twice a week for 2 months and then sat on my ass for 3 months and so on. So I suppose I can't complain considering I was 255 with an atrophied lean mass of 135 and could only bench 90 lbs for 8 reps on a pulley machine in late May 2003. But that is still very sad if any part of me is stronger then any pro. That should be the test, if they can't out lift me, they're off the team!


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 Post subject: hi ironman!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:20 pm 
ok. the swiss ball tip is about core and postural work to increase core stability, yes it also works the leg muscles. this is not necessarily for building abs and is better and safer when done for advanced weights training because of the instability of the ball and therefore the added challenge so starting off with lighter weights is probably better.
gastrocnemeus and soleus training i find is best done up the hills! hiking or running. i've done a fair bit of cross country involving various gradients from the downhill to the long arduous reasonably steep ( i dont like running up or down hills that are too steep: cant be bothered not fit enough need to train more and it's boring on my own! i prefer hill or mountain hiking, i've done 1/2 marathons round the pentlands as i prefer long distance stuff to short really difficult stuff. theres a route i've done which is pretty gruelling involving a good few gradients and my gastroc soleii ( :0) ) are pretty hefty! not done much else with them gym wise.

got a photo somewhere if your interested!

have you ever done climbing? have you ever seen a climbers physique?

which reminds me ive got to do more training!! :0)


nc






Ironman wrote:
First thing, it was either Cosgrove or Poloquin recently did an article saying that. It was interesting because I had always maintained that, and it was nice to see someone like that come to the same conclusion.

Second thing, you are talking about a swiss ball exercise where the abs are the target, I was talking about targeting other muscles om the swiss ball to get activation of abs. Look at my previous post and you will see that. That is why I compare it to squat and deadlift variation.

Of course since you brought up ab targeting exercises on a swiss ball, I'll go ahead and complete the point about them being useless. I do situps on a decline bench while holding 110 pound curl bar in front of me. I doubt I could do that on a swiss ball. It would probably pop out from under me and shoot across the gym. I can work my abs better on any of the different types of ab benches or a standard decline bench then I could on a swiss ball.

The reason people think abs recover faster is because you can do those silly swiss ball crunches and whatever every day if you want to. It would be same thing with legs if you squat with submaximal weight you could do that everyday. The stair master is a submaixmal weight version of the step up, you could do that everyday, and some people do.

Show me what it is that abs are made of that make them have so much better recovery then other muscles. Show me why they detrain quickly so that you would need to work them so often.

I suppose I at least half way use them everyday because I do almost nothing but freeweight, but you could say the same about my legs too and my lower back, maybe even my upper and middle back as well.

What about calves, that is the other magic muscle, do they have the same properties as abs too? If you think so, show me how they are different.

Now I know there are different types of fibers where with an exercise like calf raises, you can probably do 4 if you can do 1 at given weight. But show me how this or other factors has any effect on recovery or detraining which required the need for more frequent work, where as other muscles can be worked once a week with good progress. Lets talk apples to apples, no comparing sets of squats close to failure with some half hearted crunches.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 6:16 pm 
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On the layouts, legs are straight the whole time. Imagine being in a pushup position and moving your arms out in front of you. Your body will only lower a bit but to get back into that position it is all abs and it is hard.

So you have gone to failure on abs, can you train them 2 days later?

I can go to failure on weghted abs and train them 2 days later. That makes weighted exercises about the same as unweighted ones. On your discussion of weighted ab exercises, do you train the rest of your muscles like that? bench 225 then drop down to 185 do more, drop down to 135? Seems like awful specialized training for the abs.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:26 am 
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I think I understand. When you get into position, you start most of the way rolled out so aren't bending over real far at the waist. Yea thats harder then other things, but still not bad. That doesn't mean I have athlete abs though. I could maybe do 15, where as those guys probably do 30 of them or more. I like to keep my reps lower, so that doesn't do much for me.

I could sort of train them 2 days later, but with much less results. Besides that I've kind of been chipping away at them all week anyway.

I can't really explain your results. Maybe you are doing high reps on the weighted exercises, most people do.

Sometimes I do train all my muscles with drop sets if I am doing that type of phase for a couple weeks. I didn't use to do abs like that, but one set didn't seem like quite enough, but 2 sets seemed like overkill, so the drop set just kind of felt right. Sometimes when I try to gain more strength I do 2 sets short failure with low reps. Lately I haven't been wanting to really try to get any neural gains on that though because 110 is the heaviest curl bar (other then the adjustable ones), so I've just been adding reps so I don't have to bother with the adjustable yet. It is an odd way to do them though, I admit that.

I guess what I really want to see is a science type article that explains why abs have to be trained lightly with high frequency, reps and volume like people seem to think.

My main problem is 100 reps of most weight lifting is cardio, but if it's abs, calves, or body weight, it's super muscle building magic. Or the idea that doing bench press on a swiss ball is some kind of amazing ab workout.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:15 pm 
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Oh well I misunderstood you then. I agree 100 reps of anything is pointless for strengthening. I am talking performance now, not health.

Yeah I think reps over 20 are pretty much serving a purpose besides strengthening. They may facilitate strengthening by providing recovery or something like that but aren't directly causing the response that makes you stronger/bigger. For instance, sometimes I grab 40lb dumbbells and can pump out 40-50 reps in an incline db press but I dont do this for strengthening. It gets a lot of bloodflow and is a good mental test because the last 10-15 reps are really due to focus.

I think there are ab exercises on the swiss ball that can be performed for 5-15 reps that are hard and beneficial. You can always add a weight to the said swiss ball exercise and then it gets harder. I just think the instability of the ball recruits muscles differently.

My ab sets are never over 15 reps, whether they are weighted or not.

I think abs can be trained with heavy volume, pretty high frequency and decent weight.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:19 pm 
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Yea, I suppose I could find a way to strap a 45 plate on my back, that would make layout pretty hard. It's more convenient to do stuff where I can just hold a barbell though.

I use sort of use high rep for cardio type stuff. Really it's light weight with with a typical amount of reps like 10 or so, but I do several exercises together, then rest a few seconds and do it again, so I end up doing many many sets. So it's more light weight high volume really, it's like a sort of HIIT.

For me I have noticed more doesn't seem to yield any better results and if I train them again in a few days, I just have to the lower the weight or the reps a little. If I let them rest until the next week, I can do the same or better. They do get some work all week though. They get a bit on the day I do back, then even more on the day I do squats. Then on deadlift day, they get work the whole time with the deadlifts and then get some isolation at the end.

I've looked for stuff that shows the abs are different, but I find nothing.


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