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Old 08-13-2013, 01:32 PM   #1
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Default AB/Core Training for Strength and Stability; What say you?

Due to a recent diagnosis of Disc Degeneration Disease, I have began putting an emphasis on AB/Core strength training. This means I am not skipping Ab exercises rather staying consistent with them and that I am focusing on progression.

Currently, i do a 4 day upper/lower routine. And I perform one ab exercise on each of the 2 lower days. So one lower day I do decline bench crunches (3 sets of 21 is my current goal although I am only getting 15ish on my last set), the other I do lying leg raises. (3x15 being my current goal)

I am finding that I seem to be making progress in ab strength. However, I am wondering if there is a more effective way to program it.

So what do you guys do? What exercises, where do you program them(what days) and how do you program them(sets, rep schemes)?
If you were to make ab/core strength a priority in your training, how would you do it?

To be honest, i don't know what the hell the difference is between Abs and Core. So forgive my ignorance. There may be no difference at all, there maybe a complete difference, I personally don't have a clue.
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:37 PM   #2
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I had great success with the plank, runned it once a week using this system

5 sets of 1 minute, clock 1 minute rest between sets.

When you got all 5 sets, next workout put 10kg on your ass or lowerback and get 5x1 again.

Probably a good idea to run it 2-3 times a week if you got the work etchics to =)
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:37 PM   #3
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Abs: front muscles (6-pack), and possibly the side muscles (obliques)
Core: the 2 above, plus lower back etc, the entire corset, basically.
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:43 PM   #4
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Warning: Newbie Posting Now!


So, that said, I do direct abdominal work at least once a week. Generally once a week, actually, at the moment. Have done some twice a week, previously. That works too.

The things I've found to be most effective so far are cable crunches and hanging leg raises (hanging pike style most of all, and/or with weights). Also I find that front squats hit the abs quite hard, but of course it's a legs and hips exercise foremost. They work the abs in a "weighted plank" style, kinda thing. The cable crunches and hanging leg raises, I've usually done for around 3 sets of 10-15 or so reps. Whatever works, really. If hanging leg raises are not a happening thing to start with, then hanging knee raises might be.

I've heard good things about Pallof Presses, as well, but haven't tried them yet.

Flexion of the "core" (i.e., abs and lower back and stuff) is what ab work is all about (except for planks, etc.), so I believe - right or wrong - that ab work should be balanced with lower back extension work, and vice versa. Hence, endless crunches / situps are not good for you, unless you're also doing a ton of, say, back extensions or hypers. In both cases, I wouldn't go for insane reps, regardless.

Just what I've come across so far, in terms of solid info, and also, my preferences based on experience thus far (limited though that might be ).
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:50 PM   #5
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Playing with balls but seriously, playing with them There may be some stuff that you feel okay with in the vid below, other stuff will be too advanced but the stability ball is ideal for core work, as long as it's done safely.


See @ 1:52 and 6:15

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Old 08-13-2013, 06:31 PM   #6
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A pro strongman friend of mine, Dan Harrison, swears by 2 and only 2 ab/waist exercises...cable crunches (heavy as you can for 3-4 sets of 20-25 reps) and the ab wheel (3-4 sets max reps). I need to work the cable crunches back into my squat days.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:36 PM   #7
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I like ab rollouts and side bends. I don't go crazy. I little bit seems to go a long way.
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Old 08-14-2013, 06:06 AM   #8
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I do weighted moves or more challenging bodyweight ones. In order of preference:

- Cable ab pulldowns
- Ab rollouts
- Crunches holding a plate
- Weighted planks for time
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Old 08-14-2013, 06:32 AM   #9
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Planks and exercises on a stability ball are good. Once you get stronger add some weight to the exercises. Here is a link for exercises on a stability ball.http://nutritionbeast.com/strengthen...all-workout-2/ There are two other programs for abs and core under workouts too. You could mix and match to suit your needs.

Hope that helps you some. Feel free to pm me if you have any questions.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:27 AM   #10
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On my personal view of the core (back, side, and front), I look at it one way and one way only: How it was intended to function within the body, and its overall purpose in supporting the overall body when the lower and upper body parts are performing certain functions. Its designed purpose, is protection (organs), and stability and support.

Therefore, I design my workouts with this in mind. The core has never, ever, been the sole focus, but the overall function of the body IS. It doesn't matter whether I am dieting down, maintaining, or wanting to increase weight. If dieting down, then the diet and lower body fat will reveal the core, but I still approach it the same way.

The entire core: front, side, and back, get activated dependent on activity, but generally its direct or indirect.

My favorite "indirect" overall core exercises: 1. Front Squat (personal favorite, and one I get mad at the most too, lol), 2. Back Squat, 3. Dead Lift, and 4. Military Press/Clean and Jerk. And, sometimes a variation of these three.

The reasoning: The core MUST activate to support the body during commencement of these exercises. Strength and endurance are variable dependent on how one is training.

My favorite "direct" exercises: 1. Walking or Stationary Renegade Rows (activates, lats, upper back, rear delts and core at same time), and these are killers trust me, and aide plank endurance as the form is basically near same, 2. Plank, regular or incline, 3. Twists/side Bends.

When I first began a few years ago, I did weighted situps, and was able to put 100lbs on chest for reps, when I (then) weighed 154, while it enlarged the genetic disposition of the core, I began to feel some lower back pain (imagine this! lol), and read some things to get educated more, and stopped them, after more than a year of progressive weight with them. Not the best exercise in terms of lower back and spine health.

It is pretty easy, to learn the "basic" functions of the core, and its working muscle units, through googling-it, and finding a good site that explains the muscle groups and their various functions and purpose. With me, you design a training program around "this" premise.

Best wishes,

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