In the latest Athlean-X video, Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. gives his opinion on several popular ab exercises which he tends to not include in his workouts for a variety of reasons, and offers recommendations on what people should be doing instead.
“It’s too damn basic,” says Cavaliere. “If you can hold the plank for more than 1 minute, then you need to move onto something a lot more challenging, because there’s no benefit to be had here.” He recommends trying more intense plank variations which will be both “more difficult and more rewarding.”
Dumbbell side bend
This move is popular as an oblique-training exercise and also for spot-reducing fat at the waist. In both cases, Cavaliere says, “you’re asking for something that your body doesn’t want to give you,” and warns against putting unnecessary strain on the lumbar spine. He recommends a side plank lift as a more effective alternative.
Cavaliere isn’t a fan of this CrossFit staple due to the unnatural hyperextension of the back. “Depending on the pivot point and where you place yourself on this, you get a real shearing force placed on your lumbar spine,” he says. A bodyweight move which can help achieve the same goal with less risk of injury is the rollup; lying flat with your arms over your head, and lifting the torso up, while protecting the spine on the way down.
Straight leg raise
“The weight of your legs is a good overload,” says Cavaliere. “That being said, if you can’t handle the weight of your own legs, then any variation of a leg raise is going to become problematic for you because of what it does to your lower back. Lifting strictly with your hip flexors, and not being able to control the descent of your legs because you don’t have that ab strength, is going to pull your back into hyperextension.”
This exercise isn’t actually a bad one, Cavaliere explains, it’s just that a large number of people seem to do it wrong. “Simply tapping your hands back and forth across your body, while giving the illusion that you’re doing something, is actually not doing anything,” he says. “Turn that Russian tap into a Russian twist, by actually twisting. Focus on moving the ball and your shoulders at the same time.”
Similarly to the Russian twist, there are benefits to this move when it is performed correctly, with sufficient rotation of the upper body. “If you lock your arms in place and twist back and forth here, you turn this from an isometric into an actual exercise that’s going to benefit you,” he says.
Cavaliere’s final piece of advice is not specific to any single exercise, but about achieving quality contraction on any move you’re attempting. “Stop counting reps, and instead, make the reps count,” he says. “When it comes to abs, that’s all that matters.”
Source: Read Full Article