PT on the Net Research

Thrash Your Abs


If you are interested in having someone regurgitate the same old “core crap” that you are used to hearing with a new spin on it, then don’t bother reading this article. I am about to expose you to a revolutionary paradigm that will not only shred your abs to pieces but will also create the most physically attractive and functionally sound “rock solid” physique you’ve ever imagined.

The first thing on the chopping block is the idea that your abs are meant to be isolated in exercise. Many of us have been conditioned to believe that in order to fulfill our physical potential, we must “pick and choose” what body parts we are going to work on. This is the same idea that has pervaded Western medicine and has created a million “specialists” who continue to know more and more about less and less. When we begin to realize the “relatedness” that everything has to each another, we will experience transformation in our physiques, our vitality, our energy levels and our minds. You are an integrated assembly of systems, and nowhere is this Truth more evident than with regard to your core.

Today, our bodies are an exact expression of what our ancestors were over 100,000 years ago. It is believed that it takes about 100,000 years for 0.001 percent of a genome to change, so you and Primal Man are essentially the same. With the generally understood notion that Primal Man was a hunter and gatherer, it is safe to say that our bodies are still designed with the primary objective of hunting and gathering.

Our nervous system is designed in such a way that its most important function is to protect the vital organs and brain, so that you can get off your butt and search for sustenance in the great, dangerous wilderness. Obviously, today we can just go to the local supermarket, but this was not always the case. Primal Man and even Agricultural Man had to hunt and work HARD for his food.

Through evolution, our amazing nervous system has integrated all of our organs with our muscles. Each of your organs acts as the “soil” in which all of your external elements (i.e., arms, legs, abdominals, etc.) have sprung forth and therefore are linked via the nervous system. The left arm, for example, is intrinsically linked via the nervous system to your heart. This explains why someone who is having a heart attack experiences his left arm go numb. The inhibitory effect on the muscles due to organ pain or inflammation is called viscero-somatic inhibition (VSI).

So what does all of this mean for your clients and their flabby abs? If it is understood that the function of the muscles are contingent upon the health and function of the organs and that the primary purpose of having muscles is to hunt and gather so that we can sustain life, then I’ve just opened up a huge can of worms for ya!

The strength and function of the muscles, the abdominals in particular, are severely affected by the health of your organs. Your deep abdominal wall, or transversus abdominus, is in the same nervous loop as your colon. So if your colon is pissed off because you fill your gut with processed foods like protein shakes, “sports drinks” and bars, then you can expect your “enormous bellyus” to only grow bigger, even as you crunch your life away!

So the first essential prerequisite for completing the program outlined below is: clean up your insides if you want your outside to look good!

No ab routine in the world is going to work for you if you continue to inhibit the muscles of your deep abdominal wall through a dysfunctional lifestyle and a poor, processed foods diet.

The exercise program I’ve outlined below is “integrated.” It takes into account that your abs, being an intrical part of your “core,” the originator of all movements and the protector of your organs, works together with every muscle in your body and in all movement patterns as it has for thousands of years. Imagine Primal Man needing to use a Crunch Machine so that his abs would be strong enough to propel a spear through the ribcage of a stampeding buffalo for dinner!

The exercises below are not designed to isolate your abdominals but to integrate them, which is the way they are designed to work.

When you have begun to integrate your abdominals into all of your movements, you will realize a rapid increase in your core musculature. For example, secondary to my legs, the sorest part of my body a day after doing heavy deadlifts is my abs. This is due to my understanding of how this mechanism works and making a conscious effort to integrate my core into the bend pattern. You can do this too, and when you do, your ab training will never be the same!

Say goodbye to boring post exercise ab routines that serve to isolate only the abs and say hello to an exciting and effective full body, core circuit. Build sturdy legs, cannon-like arms and true strength while thrashing your abs!

Thrash Your Abs Training Circuit

Complete each of these exercises back to back and take a one to two minute rest upon completion of the circuit. Repeat two to five times.

“Ab Thrash” Movement #1 - Reverse Cable Wood Chops

Exercise
Rest Reps Tempo Sets
Rev. Cable Wood Chops 120 sec. 8-12 each XOX (explosive)  2-5 Circuits
  1. Grab one end of a cable that is positioned low, then take a wide stance a few feet away from the machine.
  2. Keeping your chest up and draw your belly button drawn in, shift your weight to the inside leg.
  3. Staying low, shift your weight to the opposite leg and rotate the cable on an upward angle to the other same side.
  4. Weight shift back to the original position and repeat.
  5. Do it on both sides.

“Ab Thrash” Movement #2 - Single Arm Cable Push

Exercise Rest Reps Tempo Sets
Single Arm Cable Pull  120 sec. 8-12 each side XOX (explosive) 2-5 Circuits
  1. Grab a shoulder height cable with one hand.
  2. Assume a wide stance with your front foot facing forward and your back foot facing sideways.
  3. Draw your belly button in... keep your back straight and initiate the push.
  4. Integrate your arm push with a twist in your waist and rotating the back foot forward.
  5. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  6. Do it on both sides.

“Ab Thrash” Movement #3 - Single Arm Cable Pull

Exercise Rest Reps Tempo Sets
Single Arm Cable Push 120 sec. 8-12 each side  XOX (explosive) 2-5 Circuits
  1. Facing the cable machine, grab a cable with an extended arm and in a lunge position with the opposite leg up.
  2. Draw your belly button in and push off of the front leg, rotate your torso and pull the cable backwards.
  3. You will end up with the front leg straight and your back leg will carry the load… as shown above.
  4. Be sure to keep an upright posture and your belly button in.
  5. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  6. Do it on both sides.

"Ab Thrash” Movement #4 - Cable Flexion/Rotation

Cable Flexion Rotation 
Exercise Rest Reps Tempo Sets
120 sec 8-12 each side  XOX (explosive) 2-5 Circuits
  1. Assume a lunge position facing the cable machine, and grab the rope attachment with both hands.
  2. Keep your shoulders unshrugged, belly button drawn in and chest up.
  3. Initiate the movement by pushing off of the front leg.
  4. As you begin to straighten the front leg, flex over as if you were crunching and continue towards the ground with both hands.
  5. Maintain control of the weight as you rotate back into the original position.
  6. Repeat eight to 12 times and then switch sides.

“Ab Thrash” Movement #5 - Swiss Ball Cable Crunch

Exercise Rest Reps Tempo Sets
Swiss Ball Cable Crunch 120 sec. 10-15 each Slow to Moderate 2-5 Circuits
  1. Grab the rope attachment for the cables while lying across a Swiss Ball, as shown above. Be sure to set the cable into the low position.
  2. From this supine position, draw your belly button in and curl up one vertebra at a time until your abs are completely contracted.
  3. Slowly reverse the curl, ending with the head and neck.
  4. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

References

  1. Chek, P. Before And Beyond The Core, audio interview. www.ptonthenet.com , March 2006
  2. Chek, P. Movement That Matters, San Diego, CA: CHEK Institute, 2000
  3. Chek, P. Scientific Balance Training, www.ptonthent.com , 2005.
  4. Chek, P. Scientific Core Conditioning, correspondence course and video tape series. San Diego, CA: CHEK Institute, 1998.
  5. Constable, George. TimeFrame: The Human Dawn. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1990.
  6. Richardson, C et al. Therapeutic Exercise For Spinal Segmental Stabilization in Low Back Pain. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 1999
  7. Sibley, CG, Ahlquist JE. 1984. The phylogeny of the hominoid primates as indicated by DNA-DNA hybridization. J Mol Evol 20: 22-25.