Possibly the most common myth in training is the crunch your way to a six-pack fable.
Now if you’re after some new abdominal ideas, it’s all good – todays show is primarily focusing on some awesome core moves. Specifically: The AB Trifecta, 3 ‘3’ Exercise Core Routines.
However I feel compelled to cover the most important factors of sculpting a 6-pack OR a firm flat belly (whichever is your personal preference) first…
I just did the numbers. Although I currently do as much core work as I’ve ever done it’s in total around 15 minutes MAX a week.
That’s 7% of the total time I commit to my structured (so, non-walking) exercise that I focus on core.
93% is everything NOT core. However, here’s the kicker… if you focus on big compound movements that use multiple muscles and multiple joints then you are utilising your core regardless. Or you should be. Your core works as hard in a squat or a dead-lift or a standing shoulder press or a chin up as it works in a boring old crunch.
I’m not a fan of the crunch.
However the 93% NOT core exercising I do and the measly 7% core specific still only makes up only around 20% total of your whole approach to sculpting that flat belly.
Ok, I’m loosing myself here too on the stats…hang on in there with me!
Basically it you’ve been following Healthification for a while… if you listened to the #044 show: Exercises For A Flat Belly you’ll know I’m certain that 80% or the-super-VAST-majority of your flat belly results come from what you eat.
Yes, a six-pack is created in the kitchen… and to be clear, that’s NOT by avoiding the kitchen and starving! It’s by planning and cooking and eating clean, nutritious, substantial, primarily one ingredient meals.
There’s one hidden factor though – it stuffs up my maths even more – but you know I’m not the stats or science’y chick… the hidden factor is SLEEP. If food comes first – by a mile – then sleep is next… because lack of sleep will send stress AND BELLY FAT STORING hormone cortisol outta whack.
You’ve met the lean chick who exercises like a MACHINE and still has that persistent-ever-present-super-annoying pudgy belly?
That, is cortisol at play. You can’t exercise or even clean eat cortisol away.
So, basics covered. Once you’ve got your one ingredient food, your sleep and your big compound moves locked and loaded… lets rock on with those core specific moves.
I have ‘3’ routines for you… Routine ‘B’ is my fav.
Each routine has your superficial flexion (or Rectus Abdominus) muscles covered. Your deeper stabilising abdominal (or Transverse Abdominus) muscles covered and your stabilising and twisting (or Oblique) muscles covered…
A1). Walking prone push up or Walking prone drag.
(I couldn’t resist – I like them both)
Here’s the deal, if you don’t know what I mean by a move a explain or I don’t explain then please comment below to let me know and I’ll shoot a quick video for you.
The drag move is when you start in a forearms and toes prone position and then come up onto both hands and then drag a dumbbell with your left arm from the other side of your right arm through to the other side of your left arm. And repeat. For 12 repetitions.
A2). Elevated reverse crunch.
Just a reverse crunch with the bench you crunch off elevated to make it tougher.
A3). Oblique ‘War Machine’ Pike.
So this one is a pike move however knee alternate to each side rather than just coming straight up the middle – so starting position is face down with your feet each seperately suspended in the straps of what we call the war machine at my gym though yours may be a TRX or similar. This is many of my clients’ most UN-requested core move! On the most hateful scale I’m going to rate it 3rd toughest out of these 9 moves.
I like this routine performed non circuit style. Rather as 20 seconds on and 10 second rest for 4 rounds (so 4 times 20 on and 10 rest) of each exercise before moving on to the next exercise.
B1). Double leg lower plus reverse crunch (with 2 kilo ball between your knees).
As it sounds, lie face up on a bench and perform a slow controled momentum free double leg lower and then a reverse crunch (in which you lift your hips off the bench and drive your heels up to the ceiling). Once this gets easy progress it by holding a 1 and later 2 kilo ball between your knees.
B2). Hanging leg raise.
Holding on to a chin up bar with a neutral grip raise your legs up as high as you can, keeping them as straight as you can (avoid swinging – its tougher then it sounds). I’m going to rate it 2nd toughest out of these 9 moves.
B3). Side plank oblique crunch, hip dip and toe tap.
Assume a side plank position with the arm that is supporting your body aligned so that your elbow is under your shoulder and your forearm is at 90 degrees. Start with the free/top hand on your head and then tap that elbow to your top knee (move the hand slightly from your head rather than over-flexing your neck. Now replace hand to head and dip your hip to ground. Now come back into the plank position and tap your hand to your toe. That’s one repetition of one side.
I like this routine performed circuit style as a pyramid for as much time as you have. Ideally start with 12 repetitions of each exercise, then 10, then 8, then 6.
C1). Swiss ball crunch.
Detailed explanation to come…
C2). Roll out.
I’m going to rate this #1 toughest out of these 9 moves. It’s for you if you have a healthy back and a willingness to start with a limited range of motion until you build up strength. Even from your knees it’s tough. Start in a kneeling position with your arms around shoulder width on a barbell or holding onto an ab wheel if you have one. Maintaining a tight core and without arching your spine the movement is to roll out as far as you can and then to maintain back posture as you roll back in.
C3). Oblique v-up.
A v-up with an oblique twist. Hands on chest is fairly challenging – hands behind head is super challenging.
I like this routine performed C1 first as it’s massive. Here’s the pattern. I love patterns. Do ‘3’ crunches then ‘2’ oblique crunches (so one to the left and one to the right). YES, I’m cheating – I’m adding oblique moves – I told you I fins regular crunches boring!
So the pattern follows… ‘3’ crunches and ‘4’ obliques (1 to left, then 1 to right, then 1 to left, then 1 to right)
Now power on with… ‘3’ crunches and ‘6’ obliques
‘3’ crunches and ‘8’ obliques
‘3’ crunches and ’10’ obliques
‘3’ crunches and ’12’ obliques
Next move on to C2 and C3 as a superset (so back to back) for 3 sets of 12 repetitions each.
Before we get actionable today – as I said – if you are the least bit unsure about technique on any move, simply let me know via the comments below and I’ll shoot you a quick video.
The fun action is to try out one of these routines. Of course I’d love you to do that. However even more I’d love you to focus on the actions that bring the-super-VAST-majority of your flat belly results… those hand to mouth actions.
Is there one thing in your week, one food or drink that you know is hampering your flat belly hankering?
If your one thing features regularly in your week then replacing it is very-super-HUGELY-likely going to give you a far superior result than 15 or 30 minutes A DAY of core exercises.
My one thing was beer.
That’s it for today in Healthification. I hope you can join me tomorrow for the Friday FAQ show where I cover, why you should: Fail Faster.
If you liked this you’ll also like: Fat Loss Fuel to Choose Your Curves.
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