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Archive for the ‘core workouts for athletes’ Category

Core Strength Training | Decline Ab Wheel Roll Outs

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Ab Wheel Training For Real


I have been continuing to experiment with the Ab Wheel. It is by far my favorite piece of equipment for training the core right now. Here are a few reasons why.

1. It Works a LARGE Portion of the Body

The Ab Wheel is similar to a dynamic plank – you must create tension from the shoulder area to the knee area. Because of this large amount of muscle that is working, I find basic Ab Wheel roll-outs to be a great warm-up, and I often use it at the beginning of workouts as a bridge from my general to specific warm-up.

2. It is not ONLY Hip Flexion

So many abdominal exercises involve hip and trunk flexion – sit-ups, leg raises, crunches – all of them involve drawing the hips and rib cage closer together, potentially causing shortening of the hip flexors. I sit down so much while I work and drive, my hip flexors are short enough, so I avoid doing that movement pattern in training as well. This is something to keep in mind if you sit down a lot and your back hurts – it could be due to tight hip flexors.

3. It Doesn’t Hurt My Neck

For whatever reason, in the past I have strained my neck doing ab movements. Whether it is from hooking my hands around my head, clenching my teeth together, or whatever – it has happened, and a strained neck is one of the most annoying things for me, so I look to avoid it like venereal disease.

With these three benefits considered, the Ab Wheel continues to be something I include in my training on a regular basis.

Plus, in the long-term, I want to be able to do a Standing Ab Wheel Roll-out. It seems to be an advanced feat for this simple device, and I think if I were to train to obtain it, it would be a “Gateway Feat,” in that my core would be so strong that the increased strength would assist in many other lifts as well.

With this in mind, I have been looking for ways to gradually increase the difficulty of the more basic ab-wheel roll-outs in order to progress more smoothly to the more advanced movements.

One drill I have come up with that I have not seen elsewhere is Decline Ab Wheel Roll-outs. For these, you set the Ab Wheel up on some sort of decline, instead of a flat surface.

There are two main strength building benefits to performing roll-outs on a decline:

1. The eccentric challenge level as you roll out is increased greatly, as you must stay engaged in order to control the descent. This gives you much better stability than the basic exercise does.

2. The concentric challenge level is BRUTAL as you must pull much harder to climb back up the hill. This teaches you to pull much harder with the shoulders, lats, and core when returning to the starting position.

Decline Ab Wheel Roll-outs

There are surely many ways you could set this exercise up. One way that I think would be perfect is with an inside pitching mound, such as the one below, to begin with.

However, instead of busting out the nails, hammer and circular saw, I just dragged an extra gym mat out to the hill beside the house and used mother nature to my advantage.

As you can tell by my screams and grunts, this version of Ab Wheel Roll-outs is no joke. Far harder than the basic exercise, this one will hit you hard.

Of course, before you try this, you need to make sure you have the Basic Ab Wheel Technique down first. For a quick video on how to do them right, click here => Basic Ab Wheel Roll-outs.

Even if you don’t go for the more advanced movements with the Ab Wheel, this piece of equipment is a great investment for those with home gyms. For about $10, it takes up no room and leaves every muscle in your core absolutely destroyed.

Get your Ab Wheel here: Valeo Ab Wheel

All the best in your training,


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How to Train for a Full Ab Wheel Roll-outs

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Perfect Tool for Core Strength

ab wheel standing out

4 Days ago, I did the drill I am going to show you today, and I am STILL SORE.

Normally, I wouldn’t judge the effectiveness of an exercise by whether or not it made me sore, but consider the following…

I have been doing Ab Wheel work for several months. I have been working it HARD.

I did 10 sets of 10 Roll-outs on my knees one day while I was on vacation, so I thought I was getting where I needed to be.

Then, last Friday, I set this drill up and 4 days later my abs are still cooked. That just goes to show you how vicious this exercise is, and why you should start doing it right now.

Standing Ab Wheel Roll-out Training

If you are looking for a way to build core strength, get stability for the lower back, strengthen the hips, and build your abdominal muscles, the only real piece of equipment that you need is the Ab Wheel.


Over the last 4 months or so, I have been including the Ab Wheel in my training on at least a weekly basis and I love it. I have written several articles about the Ab Wheel this year and will be continuing to experiment with it.

I would say my experimentation is still in its infancy, although the ideas that are going through my head are non-stop. I am doing my best to get them onto my ever-growing note pad, and hope to one day compile everything for you.

I have decided that one of my goals I hope to complete before the end of this year is a Full Ab Wheel Roll-out on the Feet.

As I am sure many of you know if you have tried one of these variations, the difference in difficulty between Ab Wheel Roll-outs on the Knees and Ab Wheel Roll-outs on the Feet is crazy. These two drills are not even in the same galaxy.

For Full Ab Wheel Roll-outs on the Feet, you must have much more abdominal strength, you must be much more stable through the core and the hips, and your shoulders must be able to with stand a great deal force in the full flexed position as well.

All of these factors, plus more that I am surely over-looking, make the Ab Wheel Roll-out version on the Feet much harder.

I have begun implementing more Ab Wheel work on my feet and moving away from Ab Wheel work on my knees altogether.

Today I want to show you a very promising progression step I have been using for working up to the Full Ab Wheel Roll-out on the Feet, and it involves using bands.

Someone asked how to do this method if you do not have bands. My answer to them is GET BANDS.

Bands are useful for countless exercises and methods. There are innumerable ways they can be used to make exercises easier, harder, and to de-load or assist you in bodyweight movements.

If you do not have a set, here are a couple of places to get them:

Again, if you don’t have bands, I really have to ask why. They are very affordable and the myriad of ways that they can be used make them very high in value. The links above are affiliate links. When you order through them, you will not only be getting yourself some training tools that you will use in countless ways, but you will also be helping me out with some commissions. Although they are small, it all helps me continue to improve this site and keep it available as a source of reliable information.

Keep an eye on new updates on my pursuit for legit Standing Ab Wheel Roll-outs by joining my Ab Wheel Roll-out Update List below.

If you don’t have an Ab Wheel yet, you can get one here: Where to Buy an Ab Wheel

All the best in your training,


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How to Use the Ab Wheel Correctly

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

The Ab Wheel


I recently wrote an article for My Mad Methods on the Ab Wheel, and since then, many people have contacted about it. It seems that many of you have thought the Ab Wheel was a bogus device that was just a scam or fad, but in reality, it is a very good piece of equipment that comes with a very cheap price tag – I got mine for less than $9.

For the record, I always thought the Ab Wheel was joke too. But that was before I ever used it. The first time I tried it, I could not do one good rep on my knees.

History of the Ab Wheel

Bob Backlund

What gave it even more credibility for me was when my friend, Niko Hulslander, told me that Bob Backlund, legendary Champion of the WWWF back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, based his workouts primarily around the Ab Wheel.

Now, Bob Backlund wasn’t as big as Superstar Billy Graham, who held the title before Backland, and he wasn’t anywhere near the size of a more recent Bobby Lashley, Dave Batista, or John Cena by any means, but he was always in top shape, and perhaps second only to Ric Flair in their hay-days.

Plus, Backlund is still in phenomenal shape to this day, and the Ab Wheel continues to be one of his primary forms of resistance training.

While I am sure Backlund used other types of training to attain his level of muscularity and leanness, there is no denying that the Ab Wheel is able to make the entire body work, because it is essentially a Plank on Steroids.

Bob Backlund Training on the Ab Roller

I’m coming after you, Backlund!!

How to Implement the Ab Wheel

I am sure there are hundreds of ways to add Ab Wheel work into your training program, but I can tell you that I like to use it on my Back and Triceps day. If you haven’t tried training these two together, you should – the feeling is unbelievable.

Generally, one of my first movements on this day is either Pull-ups or Chin-ups, and I superset them with Ab Wheel for 6 to 8 reps. Surely, I could do much more of this, but I train this day with a partner and if we went for more than 8 reps, it would take up way too much time and mess up the rotation, so we stick with 6 to 8.

In addition, if you do your Ab Wheel reps the right way, it becomes the perfect bridge between the Lats and Triceps. The reason is because you can use your Lats and Triceps together to explosively pull your extended body back to the starting position. This explosiveness wakes the Triceps up so they can start getting worked, and it further excites the Lats, allowing you to get deeper pulls on your Pull-ups or Chin-ups.

Of course, as I stated, you have to be doing the Ab Wheel exercise correctly in order to get this benefit out of the movement. That leads me to the next section.

Ab Wheel Technique

One of my best friends from college, Chris Christian, recently began implementing Ab Wheel into his routines. I used to train like an all-out Savage Beast with this guy back in college. I was happy to hear he was getting an Ab Wheel, but I also was concerned because he did a stretch of service for our country in Afghanistan, I believe, several years ago and ended up hurting his back. So I asked him to shoot a video of him doing them, just to make sure he was doing them properly and not putting too much stress on his back.

Turns out, his technique was just a little off, so I shot a quick video for him last night and uploaded it to YouTube. It turns out there were others doing the exercise incorrectly, and putting too much strain on their backs as well, so I am sharing the video here for all of you, too.

Demonstration of How to Use the Ab Wheel Correctly

Sorry for the weird abrupt ending. The battery died right at the end…

Look, this piece of equipment is bad-ass, even if you just stick with the basic technique, on your knees. My goals is to work up to performing the reps on my toes. It may take some time, but I will get there.

If you want to get an Ab Wheel, they are readily available at most fitness stores, I saw one this past weekend at Play-it-Again Sports, and you can find them on Amazon: Valeo Ab Wheel<= That link will take you to them. Grab one up, give them a try and let me know what you think of the Ab Wheel. All the best in your training. Jedd

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Serious Explosive Power Training for Athletes

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

When I first began delving into Strength and Conditioning literature after I got out of college, I was given a copy of a strength training documentary about Werner Gunthor called, L’heritage d’une carriere, by my friend Dan Cenidoza

At the time, I was reading a lot of the materials from the NSCA, and even though they were much more geared toward strength training than the bodybuilding magazines I read in college, even the NSCA manuals did not prepare me for the type of training I would see in this video.

To my dismay, I somehow lost my copy of the tape and had not watched it in years, but I was able to find it recently, in its entirety on YouTube.

Introduction to the Highland Games

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Scottish Highland Games:

An Introduction to the Heavy Events

Adriane Wilson
3X Women’s World Champion

This is a guest post by Adriane Wilson, world-renowned Track and Field Throwing Athlete, 2X Champion at Highland Games and the first ever certified Women’s Captain of Crush. To read more about this unbelievably well-rounded athlete, check out my interview with Adriane Wilson or check out her youtube channel.

My athletic background has been focused around track and field, specifically the throwing events. I have trained at the elite level for the shot put, discus and hammer throw for 10 years and I have competed in two U.S. Olympic Trials.

Upon contemplation of professional retirement from the Olympic events, I was lured into the Scottish Highland Games as a competitive substitute
. It was an easy transition in the weight room, I continued to focus on the development of a strong posterior chain to handle the heavy implements but the time in the trig proved to be the most time consuming with nine new events to master.

After a year of training for the heavy events
, my need for competition was rekindled in the Olympic shot put and I managed a 4th place finish at the 2010 USA Championships in the women’s shot put. It was clear that training the heavy events complimented my Olympic dream. London is calling for 2012. Until then, I will train for a few World Records and my third World Championship title in the Women’s Scottish Highland Games.

What are the events in the Scottish Highland Games?

Braemar Stone

(Standing Stone Toss)

The heavy stone is thrown with one hand and the stone is held at the neck until release. There is minimal movement with the feet, specific instructions may be regulated by the head judge.

Men: 20-26lbs.
Women: 13-18lbs.

Open Stone

(Similar to the Olympic Shot Put)

Any style of approach is acceptable to throw the stone but one foot must remain inside the trig at all times. Most throwers use the glide technique or a variation of the rotational spin to complete their throw.
Men: 16-22lbs.
Women: 8-12lbs.

Why is there no standard weight for the stone events?

Stones are chosen by the Athletic Director and it is up to their discretion the weight, texture, and shape of the stone. The stone is weighed prior to the game and will be used annually for the festival. Throwers may use tape or an elastic wrap for their throwing wrist for support.

Weight for Distance

Metal weight is held with one hand and thrown from one or two turns inside the trig. One foot must remain in the trig at all times and throwers frequently use tape on their fingers to prevent ripped calluses and blisters. Occasionally, throwers will use a hook grip on the round ring or D-handle for the throw.

Light Weight for Distance
Men: 28lbs.
Women: 14lbs.
Masters: 28lbs.

Heavy Weight for Distance
Men: 56lbs.
Women: 28lbs.
Masters: 42lbs. or 56lbs.

Scottish Hammer Throw

Round metal ball attached to a long rod made from rattan, wood, bamboo or PVC. The hammer is thrown with two hands on the handle of the stick and generates speed by winding the hammer around the thrower’s head. The thrower’s feet must remain stationary throughout the throw and cannot pass the wooden trig at any time. Occasionally, throwers will wear boots with hammer blades or spikes attached at the toe for added leverage.

Light Hammer Throw:
Men: 16lbs.
Women: 12lbs.

Heavy Hammer Throw:
Men: 22lbs.
Women: 16lbs.

Caber Toss

Most recognizable event of the Scottish Highland Games. The caber does not have a regulation size or weight but must be made of wood. The caber is positioned upright for the thrower with the heavy end on top. The bottom may be tapered for easier hand placement and the attempt is established when the caber leaves the ground.

Generally, the fingers are interlocked together and the bottom of the caber rests in the palms of the hands. The thrower manages control of the caber by hugging the caber close to their shoulder and neck during the throw. The caber is an event of accuracy, there is no measurement for distance but each thrower has three attempts to turn the caber.

The toss is scored when the caber is flipped end over end and its position on the ground in relation to the thrower determines a clock score. For example, the thrower is standing at 6 o’clock and the caber flips over and lands slightly left of center. If the foot placement of the thrower upon the pull is 6 o’clock, the score would result in 11:00 or a time decided by the judge following behind the thrower.

A turn can be scored between 9:00-12:00 or 12:00 to 3:00. The perfect throw is 12:00. However, quite often the caber is too heavy or long for a thrower and the caber does not reach past a vertical position to score a turn. A side judge would establish the score by the degree of movement of the caber. A protractor would be handy to score 0-90° from the sidelines.

Weight for Height

Implement is thrown with one hand overhead to clear a fixed or knock off crossbar.

Weights Used in the Weight for Height:
Men: 56lbs.
Women: 28lbs.
Masters: 56lbs. or 42lbs.

Sheaf Toss

Burlap sack filled with rope or twine that is thrown for height over a fixed or knock off bar crossbar with a pitchfork.

Sheaf Toss Weight:
Men: 20lbs. or 16lbs.
Women: 12lbs. or 10lbs.
Masters: 20lbs. or 16lbs.

How are the height events scored?

Similar to the high jump or pole vault, each competitor has three attempts at each height. The thrower may pass earlier heights; however, once the thrower has begun the event, he or she must attempt each progressive height throughout the competition. Three misses at a height results in the elimination of the competition. In the case of a tie, the judge will determine the winner based on the fewest number of misses from the tied competitors throughout the event.

Some athletes choose the spin technique but Scottish tradition recognizes a standing throw only in the height events.

What is the trig?

The trig is a wooden toe board in the front of the competitor’s throwing box in the distance events. It is secured in the ground to provide a stop board for the thrower and establish a common measuring site.

How do you score the events?

The Athletic Director determines the number of events for a particular game but generally the winner of each event will receive one point for first place and second place will receive two points etc. The competitor with the lowest score is the winner.

How do you compete in a game?

Most games ask you to fill out a registration form with an entry fee and poof! You’re in. Make sure you show up with your kilt, a good attitude, and a lot of ibuprofen. There are many online forums to help out the new throwers with questions on technique, game schedules, and general inquiries regarding the events. Most throwers visit the North American Scottish Games Athletics site ( to view results and records. There are regional clubs and athletic groups as well to aid in the networking of Athletic Directors and competitors.

Many thanks to Adriane for putting together this great article explaining the events in the Scottish Highland Games. Once again, congrats on your fantastic accomplishment on becoming the first woman certified as Captain of Crush as well. All the best to you in your future training, Adriane! -Jedd-