Originally Posted by Bayou
Injury prevention, works different stabilizer muscles, most of life takes place on one leg or unenvenly spaced legs, etc.
Crunches and sit-ups suck. There are much better ways to achieve a strong core.
I've been leaving heavy squats well alone because I don't have an experienced training partner to correct my form and spot for me.
I do almost all my lower body strength stuff with deadlifts and pistols. It's working so far.
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Compound exercises and the many variations that come with them.
Originally Posted by kwoww
Think about it, why would you need your core to be that strong in an isolated, flexed position? How often do you find yourself in that crunched up position where you'd need to use the abs? Probably not very often i'd guess. The core is there to stabilise the forces and effort produced by the limbs and as such needs to be strongest in an extended position.
If you want more defined abs and **** posture then crunch away. If you want functional strength you'd never have to do one in your life as there are much more effective exercises. That's my view anyway. Only time i do crunches is when we have to in my muay thai class as part of the warm-up circuit. If you must do them then do them on a stability ball.
Full sit-ups are pointless imo due to there being movement at the hip, same for leg raises.
For athletic performance, the abs are best trained as a spine stabilizer, not as a flexor(as in a crunch or situp)
Secondarily, the exercises have to be high tension to have a solid athletic effect. 100 situps isn't going to cut it. But 5 janda situps or hanging leg raises or ab cable pulldowns will.
Recommendation: train your core with body sides static/dynamic. What do I mean, let met illustrate. When you do a hanging leg raise, your torso is static, while your legs are dynamic. With a janda situp or a pulldown, your legs are static, but your torso is moving.
Ab exercises I recommend:
Janda situp(best place to start I think)
Hanging leg raise
Ab cable pulldown
Headstand leg raise
The ab wheel thing with your butt LOW
The mighty Dragon Flag
there are a bunch of others that are good, but that's a good progression for the flexion plane.
Any kind of overhead lifting is going to really work your abs quite a bit as stabilizers. I highly,highly recommend the overhead squat and handstand pushup.
On one hand, doing full squats kind of allows one to drop much of the weight on their lower back if their lefs can handle the weight. However, if this can be avoided, it works, gluts, quads, and lower back centrally. If full squat targets gluts more then quads then that is just fine, gluts are central for power.
I can understand front squats working the delts/traps a bit since you're holding the bar up, but how it would work the chest is a bit confusing, can someone explain it. As for 'more complete', the main intent is to work the legs, there are other exercises for other parts. Going for the 'more complete', technically you may as well do overhead squats, or olympic lifts then, since they target even more complex muscles. But they limit the weight you can use.
Somehow, doing front squats looks like it's easier with kettlebells than with dumbbells, since you can let it rest on your forearms to stabilize them, so you're just sort of pulling in with your hands.
The article saying 'situps are bad for your neck' seems like kind of BS, how would they be bad but crunches aren't? Crunches are better ab isolation maybe, but situps also strengthen hip flexors, which are nice muscles and often work together with spine flexors anyway.
I can't help but wonder if the problem with leg extensions is only due to certain machines and their being improperly anchored. What if we could simulate the force curve experienced by gravity when we sit with our feet dangling and extend the knee? Or do that wearing weighted sandals? Seems natural enough.
There is a tremendous amount of info here, so well done to those so thoughtful in providing it. Sorry to admit, I've skimmed it and will read in more detail later. However, in having done 12-15 years of circuit training and later Weights circuits etc, personally I would not do a squat which dropped below the knee. It can place too much pressure on the knee and any injury here will take up to 1 year to heal (yes, a similar exercise in a circuit class). It could also over-stress your lower Back and its effects can be delayed...
I would recommend a general circuit class which allows you to vary the intensity of the station work-out. I was always an "eyeballs out" trainer and would learn the hard way about body limitations.
For sit-ups, well you can vary these to Crunches and Reverse Crunches and more. The body gets used to a set routine and needs to shocked out of it to grow otherwise you will stagnate/plateau. A circuit class with its structure and Instructor will allow you to explore (safely) your strength and flexibility per station. The instructor can also motivate you when he knows you're slacking ('cos he knows you). You will also learn of variations in individual stations. For example, a Crunch can be performed in many ways - as can Press-Ups.
Be careful of learning from a book. Additionally it is very easy to over-do an exercise (or sets) and the effects can come on suddenly a day or 2 later and can be severe. Easy does it and under guidance. You will learn much, Warm-Up, Stretch, Work, Warm-Down.
If you train on your own without much prior knowledge (or if you over do it) you will also learn about, muscle spasms, trapped lactic acid, hyperextension of joint/tissue, delayed on-set muscle soreness (DOMS) and so much more.
If I'm doing full squats in my leg work out, are power cleans a good compliment instead of adding front squats? I usually have limited time to hit the weight room during the week and I already do power cleans + full squats on leg days. I'm not going for a lot of bulk, mainly explosiveness.
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