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View Full Version : Best direct ab work for back support



brihead301
12-20-2007, 07:45 AM
No, I'm not trying to get a 6-pack. The only reason I do direct ab work is to build up my abs to aid in assistance for my deadlifts, squats, rows, etc... for extra back support.

Right now I alternate between weighted swiss ball crunches and reverse incline crunches. I usually just do 3 x 10 at the end of each workout. Every now and again I'll do some hanging leg raises. I'm thinking that these are the most effective exercises, but I'm not sure.

I'm just looking to get answers from a powerlifting perspective. Obviously, you need some strong abs to support your back for all those heavy lifts. I'm not even sure if direct ab work is even necessary tbh, since heavy compounds build them up.

Just wondering.

RedSpikeyThing
12-20-2007, 07:50 AM
Strong abs are very important. Weighted situps are great, but ditch the swiss ball. You can also do cable crunches, standing abs, side bends, etc.

brihead301
12-20-2007, 07:56 AM
Swiss ball crunches are no good? I thought that they were better then regular situps.

RickTheDestroyer
12-20-2007, 08:36 AM
I have no opinion on swiss ball crunches, but I'd recommend adding weight to anything you do and hitting them hard. I typically do a couple sets of weighted spread eagle situps (with the weight overhead), heavy decline crunches, or those crazy ab things the crossfit folks do on a GHR... also weighted of course. Rep range will be anything from 5 to 15 depending on how ambitious I'm being with the weight.
I could stand to do more though, honestly.

brihead301
12-20-2007, 08:46 AM
Ya, I just started adding weight to my ab work, and I definately feel the difference already. I looked up some of these exercises. The only one I couldn't find anything on was "standing abs". What are they?

samadhi_smiles
12-20-2007, 08:52 AM
Do you have any wood that needs to be chopped?

brihead301
12-20-2007, 08:57 AM
Nah, I live in an apartment - no fireplace. Good ab work though, huh?

samadhi_smiles
12-20-2007, 08:59 AM
oh yeah

alternately, you might experiment around with holding something heavy and doing a woodchopping movement. Usually these are done with cable machines, but I bet you could make up a pretty sick core exercise with a 45 pound plate or something and bending with your core.

90kg_pwrlftr
12-20-2007, 09:09 AM
I do cable crunches, weighted roman chair sit ups, and hanging leg raises. I dont count reps on abs just go until it cramps up!

markdk86
12-20-2007, 09:27 AM
weighted situps
roman twists
side bends
turkish getups
deadlift twists
standing wheel rollouts

brihead301
12-20-2007, 09:39 AM
These are all some crazy sounding exercises. Deadlift twists just sound evil! I'm gonna give some of these a try, and find out which ones are the hardest and hurt the most. I'll then do those.

Detard
12-20-2007, 09:47 AM
Planks and side planks with a plate on my ass or hip works pretty well too. Go for time.

RedSpikeyThing
12-20-2007, 09:53 AM
Ya, I just started adding weight to my ab work, and I definately feel the difference already. I looked up some of these exercises. The only one I couldn't find anything on was "standing abs". What are they?

Essentially a standing cable crunch
6HyBMuIYAIE

brihead301
12-20-2007, 10:01 AM
I see. Thanks for that video. So you're supposed to keep your back and legs straight I see.

samadhi_smiles
12-20-2007, 10:06 AM
that is an absolutely horrible example of form for standing cable crunches.

RedSpikeyThing
12-20-2007, 10:21 AM
that is an absolutely horrible example of form for standing cable crunches.

It's all I could fund on YouTube :(

RhodeHouse
12-20-2007, 10:22 AM
that is an absolutely horrible example of form for standing cable crunches.

The form is fine. I've seen Louie Simmons do them the same way. You tell Louie he's wrong.

As for ab work, these have already been mentioned, but

Weighted sit-ups
leg raises
Straight-leg sit-ups
Side Bends
Puilldown Abs (like the video)

Find what you think works the best and just do that. Supporting the back is also a function of flexing your abs while you lift. We all know that you need to do that, but it's hard to flex for the whole set. You can learn by punching yourself in the stomach. No joke. Your abs will get tight. When you can carry on a conversation while hitting yourself in the stomach, you know how to keep you abs tight. That'll help with back support.

brihead301
12-20-2007, 11:03 AM
Good stuff, thanks for all the ideas everyone. I'm definately going to give some of these a try today.

markdk86
12-20-2007, 11:26 AM
These are all some crazy sounding exercises. Deadlift twists just sound evil! I'm gonna give some of these a try, and find out which ones are the hardest and hurt the most. I'll then do those.

I'm not a fan of the deadlift twists because it hurts my knees. Side bends, roman twists, and turkish getups are nice though :)

deeder
12-20-2007, 11:37 AM
A couple of the guys that I train with think that any ab work should involve three kinds of exercises:

Standing -- ie: crunches, double overhand throws w/ a medicine ball, etc...
Rotating -- anything with a twist in it :p
Static -- planks, leg raises (holding the legs up), etc.

Rusty
12-20-2007, 12:03 PM
experiment around with holding something heavy and doing a woodchopping movement.

Like an axe?

deeder
12-20-2007, 12:30 PM
Like an axe?

Or a medicine ball, a dumbell, kettlebell, Rusty's mom.. Whatever...

brihead301
12-20-2007, 12:38 PM
LOL.

Rusty
12-20-2007, 01:25 PM
Rusty's mom...

She might like that.

samadhi_smiles
12-20-2007, 01:43 PM
standing ab crunches are a small movement. Certainly you can do them the way the video shows, that will work your abs isometrically, but if you want to have a concentric and eccentric to the lift you have to bend your spine (ie crunch your abs). just my two cents.

RhodeHouse
12-20-2007, 01:48 PM
standing ab crunches are a small movement. Certainly you can do them the way the video shows, that will work your abs isometrically, but if you want to have a concentric and eccentric to the lift you have to bend your spine (ie crunch your abs). just my two cents.

Agreed, but squatting, benching, pulling - any lift other than ab work is performed with the abs in a static contraction. In the case of a pler, which I think Bri is, the abs are always held statically. I just repeated myself in back to back sentences. Damn!

Max Thunder
12-20-2007, 03:28 PM
I don't understand why the focus is so strong on crunching and the like.

In my opinion the best abs exercises are those where you train the pelvis to rotate back, as most people have an anteriorly tilted pelvis anyway.

Lie on your back on a bench, and flatten (push) your lower back against the ground. You then raise your legs a bit, you can do a kind of leg raise motion if you want. To add resistance, you can hold a very light weight with the feet. Since the weight is so far from the abs, you don't need to add much weight to add a lot of resistance.

Another exercise I like and I think I might have invented it, is to lay on a bosu ball with the ball under your lower back, and from that stretched position you do crunches, again with the goal of straightening the lower back/making the body straight. Try to find the position (of the ball) at which it is the hardest; the farther your arms are from your abs, the harder it is.

Fuzzy
12-21-2007, 01:21 AM
You want to train your abs in a isometric way, not as a trunk flexor.

For back support, you can't go past planks. Body weight is usually challenging for most poeple.

Ive done them for 60 seconds with a 150 pound coach on my back.

This is hands down the best way to train the abs for back stabilit and will carry over most to your lifts.

brihead301
12-21-2007, 06:40 AM
Fuzzy, what exact exercise or exercises are you talking about?

Bob
12-21-2007, 10:14 AM
Overhead squats...
rotational work with the Grappler... or a version of your own with a BB in the corner - some folks call it a Full Contact Twists and some call it a Land Mine..
Sandbag/Keg workouts...
Stone lifting...
Saxon Side Bends..
Hanging Knee-Hip Raises

brihead301
12-21-2007, 11:28 AM
Ya, that overhead stuff is supposedly the best. I don't know if I would have access to all that stuff in my small little gym, but I read about some exercises that can be done with plates, barbells, and dumbells for similar exercises.

RedSpikeyThing
12-21-2007, 11:29 AM
Fuzzy, what exact exercise or exercises are you talking about?

he's talking about planks with weight on your back.

brihead301
12-21-2007, 11:36 AM
I'm gonna have to look that one up. I never heard of that either.

markdk86
12-21-2007, 12:05 PM
I'm gonna have to look that one up. I never heard of that either.

Think pushup position but with your hands stretched out in front of your head. Hold for time. Add weight if needed.

Fuzzy
12-21-2007, 12:36 PM
http://z.about.com/d/exercise/1/0/q/A/plank1.jpg

But with a plate or two on your back, go for 5 sets of 30 seconds.

As far the overhead squats, not many people have the tissue health and shoulder flexbility to do them, plus, most people arent in heeled shoes. Overhead squats, especially wth a clean grip will have your abs screaming, as well as your upper back.

samadhi_smiles
12-21-2007, 01:34 PM
Fuzzy, is that how you were taught to do planks with your arms bent?

Fuzzy
12-21-2007, 01:57 PM
How else do you do them?

It becomes to easy on hands unless yur feet are raised.

This way is easy.

samadhi_smiles
12-21-2007, 02:16 PM
I was taught the pose traditionally with arms extended (this is a very ancient yoga pose).

I will experiment with this way, looks much more conducive to adding weight to the back.

markdk86
12-21-2007, 02:23 PM
I was taught the pose traditionally with arms extended (this is a very ancient yoga pose).

I will experiment with this way, looks much more conducive to adding weight to the back.

This is how I do them too. Hell the way Fuzzy does them would allow me to actually do them, lol.

brihead301
12-21-2007, 02:35 PM
Planks huh? I never heard of them before. I like it though.