You will hate me for this ab exercise.
I hate me for this ab exercise.
It's for advanced trainers only.
Advanced trainers who are also gluttons for punishment.
And if I haven't completely sent you running for the hills by now, it just might be right up your alley...
This exercise is basically a combination of three exercises...all of which are very effective at torching your abs individually. When put together, the abdominal tension you can achieve is downright incredible.
To perform this one, all you need is a patch of floor-space and an empty barbell.
Lie down on the floor with the bar just behind your head. Reach back and grasp the bar with an overhand grip, about shoulder-width apart.
Now raise your legs up until just your upper back is in contact with the floor. You should have some bend in the waist here and your elbows should be bent about 90 degrees. There is very little abdominal tension at this point in the exercise.
Next, under COMPLETE CONTROL, begin to lower your body, from the shoulders down, towards the floor.
This part is similar to the Dragon Flag...it's obviously not a true Dragon Flag because the body isn't straight and there's movement.
However, if you have VERY strong abs, and you can actually maintain a straight body position on the way down, go for it. Personally, I've got some work to do in that department before I can achieve that.
I also want you to look at the barbell...it's now coming up off the ground. The weight of the empty bar is not enough to fully counterbalance the weight of your lower body coming down, and it'll start coming up. THIS is the pullover and it's going to add even MORE tension to the rectus abdominis (six pack abs) as you bring your legs down.
Continue lowering your legs until your lower back is flat on the floor. At this point, the bar should be a few inches off the ground.
Continue lowering your legs until your feet are just a few inches off the ground. HOLD this position for a few seconds.
One of the major benefits of holding the bar off the ground behind you is that it does have enough weight to counterbalance your legs at this point and take stress off the lower back in the bottom of the leg raise position.
Now for the hard part...(yeah, as if the other stuff wasn't hard enough). Bring your legs back up until your lower back is flat on the floor. The barbell should still be held off the ground.
DO NOT ALLOW ANY MOMENTUM during this entire raising phase. None. Zero. Zilch.
Here's the important part...
Instead of focusing on raising the legs at the hip (as in a normal leg raise), I want you to focus on raising the legs pivoting from the BOTTOM OF THE RIB CAGE.
Imagine as though your hips are locked into position and can't bend...and the only place your body CAN bend is in the upper ab area. From here, the shoulders/upper back will be the only part of you touching the ground again.
And yes, THIS is the most brutal part of the entire exercise.
Come all the way back up to the start position, with the legs pointed up to the ceiling and the bar resting on the ground. Take a short breather...it's the only break you're going to get.
Then go again.
When you watch the video, you'll notice that I'm making noise like Arnold did in Total Recall when he pulled the tracker out of his nose. When you try this exercise, I think you will, too.
Just remember these key points...
1. ZERO momentum
2. The barbell comes up off the ground and is held isometrically during the leg raise portion of the movement.
3. On the way back up, keep the hips locked and pivot from the upper abs, with just the upper back on the ground.
Give this exercise a try next time you hit your abs. The tension is absolutely incredible...it'll TORCH your six-pack abs AND your lower abs at the same time.
And don't say I didn't warn you..
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