Trust Your Gut by Clark Bartram of www.clarkbartram.com
The more ab exercises you have in your repertoire, the better you’ll be at using your instincts to build and maintain that six pack.
Tornado Ball — Wall Chops and Seated Chops
Grasp a Tornado Ball with a slight “choke up” on the rope. To do the wall chops, lean back against a sturdy wall and bend your knees into a slight squat. Then rotate from side to side, slamming the Tornado Ball against the wall. Do this ballistically for about 30 seconds. Seated chops are performed with the same intensity. Simply sit down on the floor and move the ball overhead. These two movements are nearly impossible to duplicate in any gym. Start with one 30-second set for each exercise.
These are called surrender sit-ups due to the hand position. Your arms will be above your head as if you were surrendering to someone. In the upright position, place your feet flat on the floor. Slowly lower yourself back like a traditional sit-up, but only go as far as you can without lifting your feet off the floor. When your feet begin to rise, come back up to the starting position. Squeeze your glutes throughout the entire movement.
Power Wheel Crunches
Unlike a traditional “ab wheel,” a Power Wheel is attached to your feet and you move your legs instead of your arms. You can either bend your knees and tuck them into your chest, or do a “pike” with straight legs. Either way, be sure to exhale on each contraction.
Swiss Ball Weighted Crunches
The opportunities are endless when it comes to a Swiss Ball, but weighted crunches are one of my favorites. Choose a weight that allows you to perform 3 sets of 8–10 repetitions. Position yourself on the ball just to the front of the top (to ensure a full range of motion) and slowly allow your spine to wrap back around the ball. Be sure to anchor your feet with a weight at least twice as heavy as the weight you use to perform the exercise.
Swiss Ball Reverse Crunches
Position your body so your scapula is centered on the top of the ball. Grab a stationary handle above your head and tuck your knees up and around towards your face. I use my eyes as a reference point. As in all abdominal exercises, it’s imperative that you exhale during the effort. Reps are not the only indicator of a good abdominal workout…you should feel each one in the muscle, without obsessing over how many you do.
Hanging Leg Raises
There are two schools of thought when it comes to hanging leg raises. If you do the entire movement from completely stretched out to completely contracted, then your psoas muscles (hip flexors) assist in the movement. If you start the movement with your legs bent at 90 degrees, you eliminate the use of the hip flexor group. I suggest you mix it up and do the exercise both ways.
These are tremendous once you get the hang of them. Assume the traditional sit-up position, with your arms crossed over your chest. Have someone grab the back of your calves and pull slightly. Slowly sit up, maintaining a contraction in the glutes. If you can’t pull yourself up right away, start with the negative part of the movement.
Full Contact Twists
These are similar to Tornado Ball chops, but they can be done in a gym without any special equipment. Get a 45 lb. Olympic bar and place one end in a corner to hold it in place. With your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and arms fully extended, hold the opposite end of the bar and rotate it overhead in a semi-circular motion. Be sure to rotate at the waist and feel the movement throughout your entire core. Do 1–3 sets of 15–20 reps.
Medicine Ball Throws on Swiss Ball
Assume the same position on the Swiss Ball as you would if you were doing weighted crunches, and position your feet under two dumbbe