Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Unorthodox Ab Training

We all want to be fit and look good naked, which means having a nice set of abs. If you want to see your abs, you need to eat well and exercise (adopt the 80/20 rule - 80% of the time you are eating clean and busting your arse in the gym, the other 20% can be having some foods you enjoy).

Assuming you do all that, then you need to develop strong, supportive, functional abdominal muscles. Crunches and sit ups will not get you there. For functional, sexy abs you need to adopt some unorthodox training methods - this article presents one of the better ones.
One Side Loaded Barbell Squats

By Nick Nilsson

This exercise is a very simple but VERY effective way to really hit your core strongly. It looks like squat, stands like a squat, and IS a squat but it doesn't really work the legs!

Pretty simply, you're going to just load ONE side of the bar with 25 to 45 lbs or so. Start towards the lighter end until you get an idea of how the balance on this exercise works.

It's best to do this exercise in a squat rack. Load the bar up, set it across your upper back/traps as you normally would for squats. Hold on TIGHT then step back.

The first thing you'll notice, of course, is the weight pulling down on the right side. Pull hard with your left arm to keep the bar locked in place on your back - the goal is to keep the bar horizontal while you're squatting.

From there, it's basically a matter of squatting! Go down as far as you can then push back up. The uneven load on the bar will force your side core area to really contract strongly. You will feel this one INSTANTLY but especially as you're at the bottom of the squat when there is more emphasis on the core to provide stability.

Overall, it's a great way to build side core strength and power.

Do all your reps one way then set the weight up on the other side of the bar and go again:

This one will really challenge your core strength.

And, as I mentioned above, start on the light end of things - don't go right for the 45 lb plate. It takes a bit of practice to feel the balance on this one.

Totally worth it, though, especially for the strange looks you'll get at the gym when you start doing this one.

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