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Thread: Abs

  1. #1
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    Default Abs

    by Mark Rippetoe

    Since the basic nature of correct ab function is isometric, the exercises in which the abs perform this function will provide exercises for the abs as well. This may seem childishly apparent, yet virtually every strength coach adds extra concentric/eccentric ab work to the program anyway. The thinking must be that just squatting, deadlifting, pressing, cleaning, snatching, chins, and barbell curls all of which involve trunk stabilization as a critical performance component do not provide sufficient ab work by themselves. I disagree.

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  2. #2
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    Excellent article.
    And it gives me a great reason not to do situps, which I hate.

  3. #3

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    This needed to be said. Great stuff.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for this. As ever, a solid, well-reasoned article based on what the body actually does ... instead of how we apparently want it to look.

    I find myself wondering about training rotational strength. I realize that it will have zero effect on improving my squat or press, but it might help with my martial arts, where a lot of the power in kicks/punches comes from hip and torso rotation.

    I've never liked the notion of using standing twists with a bar across my shoulders ... evil visions of doing something like twisting the head off a screw. But what progressively adding weight while doing Russian Twists - either on a slant board or on the ground? I'd think that the same arguments re increasing running speed via increasing leg strength might apply to increasing rotational speed via increasing rotational strength.

    In your view would this help? Or would I have better results by only bothering with continuing to improve my squat/press/DL, and doing sport-specific rotational work with a heavy bag?

  5. #5
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    Default Core work

    What is your opinion on using isometric core exercises from gymnastics (L-sit, Back lever, Front lever, and other such things) as assistance exercises for the core? I am thinking it might of help in the barbell exercises.

    I would also be curious about the need for rotational strength for sports which deadlifts and squats do not seem to provide.

  6. #6
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    I find myself obligated to point out that, with all due respect, there are a number of other, better coaches who disagree with you.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Nosferatu View Post
    I find myself obligated to point out that, with all due respect, there are a number of other, better coaches who disagree with you.
    Duh. What is their reasoning, and how do their arguments compare with mine?

    Quote Originally Posted by ddziabenko View Post
    What is your opinion on using isometric core exercises from gymnastics (L-sit, Back lever, Front lever, and other such things) as assistance exercises for the core? I am thinking it might of help in the barbell exercises.

    I would also be curious about the need for rotational strength for sports which deadlifts and squats do not seem to provide.
    I think that both are quite useful for some athletes, and that both are unnecessary for novices.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Nosferatu View Post
    I find myself obligated to point out that, with all due respect, there are a number of other, better coaches who disagree with you.
    I'm curious who these "better" coaches are. How are you judging better?

  9. #9
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    Interesting read. So if I read this correctly. If you've got a back injury then wiggling your spine can cause pain. and the ability to have a strong spine through a range of motion isn't particularily relevant to squatting or deadlifting.

    I would guess however that if you are dodging, weaving and bouncing around all over a field while people who weigh > 200 pounds are trying to crush you that the ability to contract the abs or eccentrically contract them might actually be quite useful.

    It might also be useful if you were rolling around on the ground with one of those >200 pound people trying to tear your arm off or choke you unconscious.

    Still I don't think spine wiggling is terribly good for squatting. I tried it once and it made it difficult to put my pant on for almost a week.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Nosferatu View Post
    I find myself obligated to point out that, with all due respect, there are a number of other, better coaches who disagree with you.
    So you basically post "liar, liar pants on fire" as a counter argument to this well thought out article? And also sling a little mud by throwing in there "better coaches" then Rip?

    I find myself obligated, with all due respect, to inform you that you are a douchebag.

    If you are not going to lend anything to the argument, you probably shouldn't be posting...

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