Best way to work the core?

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ApolytonGP
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Best way to work the core?

Post by ApolytonGP » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:11 am

1. Wondering if I should be doing more for my core? I really don't do that much. Hit it with a couple sets of crunches on the arms day and I do L raises (for hip flexors) on legs day. Not dissatisfied or anything. just wonder if I should be hitting it more. It is a major area. Wonder if I ought to be targeting more different muscles than the abs and more different exercise types (I mean I hit biceps in both an isolation and a compound...and I do a lot of stuff that hits different parts of the shoulders).

2. Wonder if doing tha ab machine would be better than crunches? and if so, would I do 2 sets of 10 (similar to what I do on other muscle groups) or more like the 2 sets of 30+ that I do on the ground. And going with that is the issue of how much to go for high weight versus reps.

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Post by caangelxox » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:27 am

no ab machines
no crunches
^^^^^^^^^^^^both is bad and bad posture and pain is waiting to happen

do reverse crunches, pikes, ab rollouts, cable pallof presses, cable lifts/chops/mid rotations, landmines, planks (1 arm alternating plank is challanging), etc.

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Post by ApolytonGP » Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:08 am

Do all of those? Or pick one or two? And is the intention to just hit the abs or to hit like those side muscles and stuff?

And which is the best/easiest. I will have to look it up to understand how to do it.

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Post by caangelxox » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:14 pm

depends on what ur goal is. Do you want strength, strength with endurance (circuit training), etc? if you want to do a circuit, mix them up. if you want to do strength, pick 1 or 2 or 3 of the different core movements (rotation, stability, anterior core) and train for 3x10-15 (3 sets, 10-15 reps).

rotation: landmines, pallof press, cable lift/chop/rotation, kneeling split stance (hip flexor stretch position) just rotating the thoracic spine with a stability ball (keeping hips stable and feeling the stretch, squeezing the glutes)

anterior core: pike, rollout, reverse crunches, hanging leg raises, etc.

stability: plank, side planks, 1 arm planks, etc
Last edited by caangelxox on Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Jungledoc » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:25 pm

TCO wrote:Do all of those? Or pick one or two? And is the intention to just hit the abs or to hit like those side muscles and stuff?

And which is the best/easiest. I will have to look it up to understand how to do it.
The easiest is to lay on a couch with a remote control in your hand. If you want to improve, don't make "which is the easiest" a criterion.

You can do 1 or 2 each day, or you pick a couple to use consistently for a few weeks, then switch.

Is it YOUR intention to just hit the abs, or do you really want to hit the whole core?

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Post by ApolytonGP » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:02 am

I didn't exactly mean easiest in terms of least tiredness or effort. I am pretty used to working hard in the gym. I guess I'm struggling to form my thoughts. I think I meant "simplest", "most versatile"...maybe least tricky in terms of needing to be very technical on form.

As far as abs versus other parts of the core...I guess I'm not sure what I should target/want to target. I mean intuitively I think of abs, but is this naive and should I try to hit more specialized areas?

I really don't want to do 8 different exercises. Rather just pick smaller number and just run them consistently for a year or so.

-------------------

I do have a little bit of a pooch when I relax my stomach completely. Like a slack belly. Kinda wonder if core work would help hollow that out. It's not bad or anything. Tightens up with a bit of tension and goes away. But if I'm completely relaxed, there is that lower belly poking out.

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Post by robertscott » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:02 am

don't worry, we knew by 'easiest' you meant which were the begginner ones and which were the intermediate ones. Start with planks, front and side, then move on to the easier rollout variations, and progress through those to barbell rollouts

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Post by stuward » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:02 am

I like to do whatever is hardest because that means I don't have to do it as much.

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Rec ... Raise.html
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Rec ... runch.html
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Rec ... Raise.html

I like one similar to this. I've never seen this machine.
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Rec ... SitUp.html
The difference is that I use a decline bench and bounce the ball of the wall in front of me.

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Post by ApolytonGP » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:31 pm

I think I am going to take out crunches and replace them with bicycles. advantage is more stress on the abs and also target other core muscles. No increase in number of exercises. [Will keep my hip flexor, straight leg, single leg captain's chair leg raises on legs day (they hit my belly some too...although that is not the intention.)]

Here is an interesting article on the top 10 ab exercises:

http://exercise.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1 ... sults.aspx

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Post by ApolytonGP » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:54 pm

Here's an interesting exercise. (I have no intention of messing with it, but it does look cool.)

http://www.gymnastike.org/videos/covera ... e-al-slide

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Post by ApolytonGP » Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:22 pm

Tried them today. More of a motion that I need to figure out than crunches. But feel it worker the side ab muscles.

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Post by bob » Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:31 pm

caangelxox- When you mention crunches are bad for the posture, is that because people tend to round the back and pull their neck with their hands when they crunch?

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Post by caangelxox » Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:39 pm

bob - yes and plus the neck gets stiff when you don't hang onto your neck for stability. I dont like crunches period. I like reverse crunches because there is less pressure on the neck and plus you can build muscle by having weight between your legs/feet (medicine balls and stuff). there are also progressions to reverse crunches too.

1. reverse crunches
2. incline reverse crunches
3. leg raises off of one of those padding things you put your elbows on top of (not the ones hanging from a chin up bar)
4. hanging leg raises off of a chin up bar, but with your elbows through a padding thing
5. hanging leg raises off a chin up bar hanging onto the bar like you are going to do a pull up.

you can also do dragon flags as well after the incline reverse crunches (straight leg instead of bent leg). and same with the hanging leg raises. the next progressions to everything is straight leg (hard for a majority of people due to limited hamstring flexibility even if ready to go to straight leg)

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Post by Jungledoc » Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:05 pm

The "core" is one of many good reasons to include unilateral lifts in your routine. The core has to engage more to keep you upright when one side is loaded.

I personally "like" (or is it "hate") pallofs and planks.

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Post by bob » Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:55 pm

I'm going to drop crunches from my core routine. I do them properly, that is, i keep my back neutral(normal lordotic curve?) and i don't flex my neck. My abs do get a good work-out, but my neck feels sore the next day. I do some of the exercises you mentioned, Jungledoc. One core exercise a strength coach showed me was what he called the windshield wipers. It's what the pole vaulters do to strenghten their core, since it mimics the initial vault going up.Simply hang from the pullup bar, raise straight legs until toes touch the bar, in line with the head. Now lift straight legs and touch toes to left side of bar, then to right side of bar. That's one set. Raise and lower legs slowly. You'll feel a nice burn. One core exercise i discovered on my own. I sit on the ground, legs straight, make fists, then push my body off the ground so i'm suspended. I'm up to about 3 seconds before i can't hold it anymore. Now that's difficult.!!

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