Look over these exercises to become familiar with them. Following the exercise descriptions, we'll present a series of routines ranging from beginning to very advanced. Don't be surprised if some of the exercises below are similar to exercises you've done before. It's the sequence and timing of the exercises within the routines that make all the difference.
HANGING LEG RAISES
For this exercise, you need a horizontal bar from which to hang. A doorway chinning bar will work, although ideally the bar should be high enough to allow your legs to hang straight without touching the ground
Take a slightly-wider-than-shoulder width grip on the bar and hang.
With knees slightly bent, raise your legs until your knees almost touch your chest (Fig.5-a). Begin this movement by rocking your pelvis forward, and maintain a forward pelvic tilt throughout the exercise. The curling action of the pelvis is crucial without it the psoas are doing most of the work, not the abs (Fig. 5-b).
Hold for one second, then lower your legs.
Perform the reps slowly enough that your body doesn't swing. Also, keep your upper torso as relaxed as possible: resist the temptation to do a partial pull up with each rep as this wastes energy and shifts your focus off the abs.
If you find that your arm and shoulder strength limit your ability to hang, try one of the following alternate approaches to Hanging Leg Raises.
Wrist straps, or Weight-lifting straps,
are short canvas strips which wrap around the wrist and around the bar (Fig. 6-a,b). They take much of the stress off of the forearm muscles the "gripping muscles" of the hand.
To use, wrap the straps several times around the bar (see insert) and grip them. You should only need to grip the straps tightly enough to keep them from unravelling.If the straps are positioned correctly, you should feel the stress transferred to your wrists.
Using Arm Slings
Arm slings are loops of leather or fabric which hang from the chinning bar (Fig. 7-a). They are an effective way to spare your the stress of hanging, but they must be used carefully because they can encourage your back to arch, increasing psoas involvement (Fig. 7-e). If you use arm slings, make a special effort to maintain an upward tilt of your pelvis to prevent your back from arching (Fig. 7-d).
To use, slide your arms through the loops to point just below your armpits (Fig. 7-b; you
may need to stand on a stool do this). The further in you can comfortably place the strap,
the less effort it will take to hold yourself in position.
We recommend wearing a sweatshirt to protect your skin from possible abrasion. Perform the exercise as detailed on the previous page
These are identical to the previous exercise except that here you fully bend your knees as you lift , and , if possible , lift them all the way to your chest )Fig. 8).
You may use alternate approaches wrist straps or arm slings if your arm and shoulder strength limits your ability to hang.
Lying Leg Thrusts
We developed this exercise to counter the two main drawbacks of traditional Lying
Leg Raises lack of adequate ab involvement, and lower back stress.
Lie on your back on a soft mat or carpet. Place your fists under your pelvis on either side of your tailbone, palms down. the effect of this should be to keep your pelvis partially tipped up toward your stomach and your lower spine pressed against the ground.
Your lower back should be flat on the floor at the start of the exercise. Adjust your hand position to prevent your back from arching.
With fists supporting your hips, raise your head and shoulders, if possible slightly off the ground. To assume
this position requires abdominal strength and make the exercise harder. It will also make it virtually impossible for your back to arch, thereby guaranteeing maximum ab involvement.
If you're not strong enough to raise your head 'and shoulders, start gradually. Raise only your head and do a few reps. Five reps with good form is better than fifty without. Eventually, the strength will come.
Raise your legs about fourteen to eighteen inches off the floor-high enough that you can feel your lower back flat against the floor. Bend your knees slightly (Fig. 9-a). If you feel any tendency to arch your back, start higher and/or increase the bend in your knees.
Hinging at the waist, raise your legs and pelvis until your feet point straight up. At this point, thrust upward from your pelvis, as though trying to stamp your footprints on the ceiling (Fig. 9-b). Then drop straight down, retracing the upward path, and allow your legS to return to the starting position.
Each rep should feel like a two-part motion, an upswing and a vertical thrust. Keep the parts distinct: swing, thrust-then, coming down: drop pelvis, drop legs.
4 Source: LEGENDARY ABS II
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