How Do I Get Abs Like a Fighter?
After a heavy training session this week, one of the fighters I was training – Pat Audinwood – wanted to finish up with some core work. We regularly incorporate ab rolling variations (standing, multi-directional, band-resisted), rotational medicine ball throws, and offset carries (sandbag walks) or offset farmers walks (heavy kettlebell in one hand and lighter kettlebell in other).
But during this particular training session, Pat wanted to show me a killer exercise he’s been using for years.
Ab Strap Controlled Kicks
Pat showed me a controlled rotational kick variation using the hanging ab straps. He finished the set by hitting a hanging reverse crunch to failure.
After one set, I was hooked; my abs were murdered.
Down With a Sickness
What you’ll notice with this advanced movement is that it is controlled. There is no momentum. You must have a high level of core stability and relative strength endurance.
The movement is initiated with reflexively locking down the upper back with a static humeral extension movement (think lat pulldown with the elbows driving downward). This will stabilize the shoulders and initiate bracing of the core.
Do NOT leave your elbows up – in an elevated position. You’ll strain – and potential impinge – your shoulders and you won’t get the required upper torso tension. Pull your elbows down and drive your shoulder blades back and down.
Next, the athlete will rotate their entire torso – hips should follow the shoulders – externally rotate and abduct the hip -> rotate back to center and kick to full knee extension – as high as possible.
Why I Love This Exercise
– Teaches core control and deep breathing. The entire torso is locked down and tight. Coordinating bracing and breathing is a must if you want to maintain tension throughout the movement and develop movement integrity.
– Forceful or hardstyle breathing engages the inner core and the dynamic movement fully integrates the rest of the superficial outer core musculature
– The hanging reverse crunch finisher does not have the negative ramifications that conventional ‘crunches’ are associated with; i.e., depressed rib cage, neck strain, low back issues. The hanging reverse crunches require the athlete to lift their entire lower body upward with a powerful posterior pelvis tilt and engages the rectus abdominis and external obliques. This can have an impact on better neutrality at the hips, and subsequently, better movement potential for ALL movements.
– Develops complete core control which carries over to all movement. You’ll be able to remain rigid and stable when performing compound exercises. Higher levels of explosive power and speed can be obtained as you develop more core strength.
Final Key Points
Key Point #1: Notice Pat is focusing on (forceful) breathing throughout the movement. Harnessing forceful or hardstyle breathing will make the contraction and tension much more intense.
Key Point #2: Do NOT lose position on the shoulders (common for most people). Drive the elbows down and keep them down.
Key Point #3: Control the movement.
Key Point #4: Can be combined with a hip extension strength training movement or anti-extension core stability exercise.
Key Point #5: Finish with a high-rep hanging reverse crunch.
By Smitty on May 7th, 2013
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