Fit Buzz ‘Effective’ Ab Training (Protecting Your Back)
Abs, abs, abs. Everyone wants to build a solid set of abs. Now, one of the reasons why I stumbled upon this topic again, is because a recent Fit Buzz Facebook fan recently replied to a comment to a question that someone asked.
Now, it is true that you can build abs that way. Honestly, perform 50-100 crunches/sit ups a day and after a few months, you will have a visible set of abs. However, that certainly is not the most effective or safest way to build your abs. Fit Buzz is all about creating that ‘super’ physique. ‘Hard’ and not ‘soft’. And in the most effective ways to-date, without potentially damaging your back in the process. So the following is a short schooling lesson on the best approach to build your abs and why.
The Muscles That Make Up Your Abs
Everyone talks about abs. But just what ARE the muscles that make up the ‘abs’ as you see them above.
Rectus Abdominis: The actual ‘pacs’. 6, 8 or even 10 depending on what you’ve been genetically blessed with, starts at the top from your sternum, leading all the way down to your pelvis.
Your Obliques: These are the muscles that give the appearance of separation from your torso to lower back, quads and glutes. And of course exist to rotate and stabilize your torso.
Your Weight Belt: Also known as the transversus abdominis. Without this, your guts would be falling right out of you :O. So yes, it holds your insides together.
There are 2 reasons why you will want to focus on bringing out your oblique and transversus abdominis muscles.
- To give the appearance of a smaller waist (Remember the illusion info from No Nonsense Butt Building? ‘Illusion’ plays an important part in developing the ultimate Fit Buzz physique
- Spine and lower back support
Isolation vs Compound Movements For Building Abs
The main section of your abs, known as the 6 pac (Rectus Abdominis) is actually one entire muscle group. This is something that I’ve mentioned in the Crazy abs video series. Because of this, it doesn’t make sense to work your abs with isolation movements such as sit ups and crunches. Which is why compound exercises for abs work best. Because your abs are a muscle group just like any other on your body. And as you now know, muscles are designed to work best as an entire unit. Not on their own.
It is a good idea to include some isolation movements into your ab training routine, in order to target and activate all the muscle fibers in this area (Those mentioned above).
But in doing so, you must perform all ab exercises with a concentration on protecting your lower back. Because if you screw up your lower back, you are FINISHED… literally.
How To Build Abs While Protecting Your Lower Back
Your ultimate goal?
To build strong hip flexors AND abdominals!
Well, with your hip flexors, you are able to work your abs from the lower end with a greater range of motion compared to crunching downwards from your upper body. However, a high level of hip flexor activity can have a negative effect on your lower back as the (Psoas < Hip flexor muscle) is attached to the lower spinal vertebrae.
The key thing to do to prevent this is to stop your back from arching as you perform an ab exercise. The main way to do this is to build a strong set of abs.
(Test for ab strength: Perform a hanging leg lift exercise from a pull up bar. If you can raise your legs up without arching your back, then you have strong abs)
In short, if you want to protect your lower back (Prevent the vertebrae around your psoas rubbing together, causing damage to your discs) you’ll need to build a balance of both ab and hip flexor strength while performing the ‘good’ exercises in the right way. But first, let’s eliminate the ‘bad’ exercises from your routine.
The exercises you’ll want to avoid are as follows:
• Hanging leg raises with an arched back
• Lying straight-legged leg raises
• Sit-ups (While someone or ‘something’ is supporting and holding your feet in place)
• Straight legged sit-ups
• Machine based ab exercises (They suck)
• Torso twists (These exercises, for the most part are pointless)
Note: The majority of people will perform the leg/knee raise exercise using their hip flexors for the bulk of the movement, with very little help from the abs. The better approach is to perform the exercise in a hunchback position, with a concentration on pulling your pelvis towards your upper body. Yes, the exercise will be more challenging (Which is a good thing). But at least you’ll be giving both your hip flexors AND abs something to do. The exercises below will help to protect your lower back on your quest to build abs with ab specific training.
So, which exercises SHOULD you perform?
The Most Effective Exercises For Abs
Well, to begin with. You’ll want to perform exercises that provide the most resistance for your abs. So it makes sense to mostly target your abs from the lower part of your body, as your legs are much heavier than the muscles/limbs that make up your upper body. Followed by a few of the MANY (isolation type) exercises that you can perform to target your abs. (Remember, the goal of isolation is to activate as many muscle fibers as possible to bring out your internal/external obliques. And that should be your ONLY reason).
Take No Nonsense Butt Building for example. The main focus of that program is to simply perform just a few exercises in a varied and structured way over time. And NOT many exercises performed in a half heartedly manner. That’s how you build a perfect Fit Buzz Butt. And that same approach is how you will build perfect Fit Buzz abs.
The Good Exercises
- Weighted stability ball crunches
- Hanging leg raises with a rounded back (Not arched)
- Decline bench hip thrusts
- Oblique crunches
- Front squats
- Hanging knee raises with a rounded back (Not arched)
- Stretch cable crunches
So, When Should You Work Your Abs?
Here’s the simple formula…
Upper body day
At the end of your workouts. This works best because you won’t be exhausting your abs as much on these days. If you exhaust your abs too early on in your workout, you won’t be able to perform your 10-15 minute ab workout in the most effective way as described above.
This works best because cardio is mostly ‘light’ work compared to strength training/weightlifting. So you should have enough energy at the end of this workout to perform a 10-15 minute ab workout.
The only day that doesn’t work best for ab specific training is on your full body (heavy compound) workout day.
- You’ll be giving yourself a great ab workout with the big lifts such as the squat/deadlift
- You’ll be totally exhausted by the end of these full body workouts. The only thing you’ll want to do is go home and refeed and rest your body. The Fit Buzz way.
If you’ve performed any of the so called ‘bad’ ab exercises, you would have definitely experienced the lower back pain as described on this page. And if you want to look after your back for the foreseeable future, then everything described here will help you achieve that, which ever program you’re on.
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