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.
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,
Braced Bending DVD: Bend Everything from Steel Bars, to Frying Pans, to Hammers and Wrenches
Tags: ab training, ab workouts, abdominals, core strength, core training
Posted in bodyweight training, core training workouts, core workouts for athletes, how to develop strength, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training to prevent injury | No Comments »
Perfect Tool for Core Strength
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.
- How to Use the Ab Wheel Correctly
- Back and Triceps Training
- The Perfect Tool to Compliment Your Kettlebell Training
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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Tags: ab wheel, ab wheel roll-outs, ab wheel rollouts, standing ab wheel roll-outs, standing ab wheel rollouts
Posted in bodyweight training, core training workouts, core workouts for athletes, feats of strength, how to build muscle, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve strength | 1 Comment »
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
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.
Learn How to Bend Horseshoes with the Hammering Horseshoes DVD
Five Fatal Strength Program Flaws
A Guest Post By: John Gaglione and Todd Bumgardner, MS, CSCS – authors of The Supreme Strength System.
A good strength program is the basis of most off season athletic conditioning plans.
It’s often, though, that poor planning ends up turning a good thing into something destructive. Instead of building a superior athlete, the result is an athlete that’s sub-par and unprepared. Avoid these five fatal strength flaws at the onset of your program — you’ll thank us later.
1. The Rep Only Mindset: Three sets of ten were drilled into our heads. It’s been that way since we’ve picked up our first barbell. We can remember the days of picking up a Muscle and Fitness Mag, grabbing a jug of Weider Protein from Wal-Mart and slinging dumbbells at the YMCA. These days are gone.
Don’t mistake what we say, hypertrophy is important. Building true strength, however, requires higher intensities and utilization of low rep ranges. Max effort training is a great example.
Strength is mainly a neural adaptation, not a muscular adaptation. To prime the nervous system, and build true strength, low rep and max effort training is necessary.
In order to build maximal strength you need to add in some max effort exercises into your routine!
2. Dismissing Body Weight Training: Strength focused programs often neglect body weight training—a costly mistake.
Gains in absolute strength are important—they are the main focus. But they can’t be at the expense of body composition. Body fat must be kept in check.
Body weight exercises, such as push-ups and pull-ups, are great for monitoring body composition and relative strength. If your bench goes up, but you can’t doas many pull-ups, you know that there’s a problem.
Body Weight Training is a key element to developing relative strength which is critical for sports performance and overall health!
3. Shutting Off The Power: Power training enhances strength (ever hear of the dynamic effort method?). Like strength, power is the product of fine tuning the nervous system. Reaching optimal strength levels requires power training and development.
A good reference point is a sticking point for a given lift. Let’s say your deadlift sticking point is at your knees. Building deadlift power by including dynamic effort deadlifts in a program will alleviate the sticking point.
Without power training, sticking points becoming increasingly difficult to overcome.
Including dynamic work with a barbell, performing jumping exercises for the upper and lower body, as well as including full body explosive movements in your program can drastically improve your performance on many lifts and athletic endeavors.
4. Dismissing De-Loads: Training week after week, month after month at the same volume will wear on your body—resulting in an overtaxed nervous system and soft-tissue that won’t recover. Planning de-load weeks is a crucial pre-emptive strategy to avoid over-training. Sometimes a step back is required to take a step forward.
5. Skipping the Preparation Phase: The anticipation of huge gains sometimes is sometimes too much for folks. In haste, they jump into the middle of a program without completing the preparation phase.
Overlooking the preparation phase of any program is detrimental to performance during the later phases. It’s named preparation phase for a distinct reason — the design and execution enhances the adaptations of future training.
Those strength gains you couldn’t wait for might not be waiting for you if you put the kibosh to good preparation.
Many people also tend to forget to build strong foundation with very basic movements such as uni-lateral lower body work. Many single leg exercises can really aid in stability and increased performance out on the field.
The right mindset at the onset of a strength program goes a long way to ensure success. Proper planning, however, will take you even further. Great strength programs are built on basic principles and are planned to avoid fatal flaws that stymie progress.
This has been a guest post by John Gaglione and Todd Bumgardner, MS, CSCS. This week, they released Supreme Strength: The Simple, Proven System for Building Strength, Muscle and Athleticism Faster Than Ever.
Tags: strength and conditioning program, strength training for athletics, supreme strength system
Posted in bodyweight training, core workouts for athletes, how to improve fitness and conditioning, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training powerlifting, strength training to improve athletic performance | 5 Comments »
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.
Tags: genthor, guentheor, guenthoer, guntheor, gunthor
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, bodyweight training, core workouts for athletes, how to build muscle, how to improve fitness and conditioning, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training powerlifting, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training workouts | 8 Comments »
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