Some people believe that the only way to train your abs is to do hundreds and hundreds of situps. Besides the fact that the most important thing to do when trying to achieve a smaller waistline and flatter abs is not actually doing sit-ups but training your transverse abdominals by doing stomach vacuums – it is important to remember that one can heavily train their core even WITHOUT training their core.
In fact if one can learn to heavily involve their core in all lifts they do – and most especially with the basic high CNS moves. This is another benefit of focusing on big basics. Since the core should be very involved in those lifts that should give it a pretty great workout.
So to be able to increase your core’s involvement in lifts such as squats, deadlifts and barbell presses thus give them a great workout and ALSO increase your lifts; since learning to involve your core aids in lifting heavy sh¡t! You must do stomach vacuums as you work your way with the weight against gravity.
You should concentrate on generating force coming from your core (not only from the target muscles) – specifically the one under the navel.
I love Hwarang do and I used to read literatures by Joo Bang Lee (the one who wrote the book on Hwarang do). Anyways they always make it a point to remind the student to fill their “Dan Jun” with ki while executing any attack.
Dan jun is what they believe to be the reservoir of Ki and it is located just beneath the navel. You see, scientifically speaking; that makes sense. If you have trained under any power lifting coach they will also remind you to always tense your “biological belt” as you lift. That basically means that you must flex your entire transverse abdominals while you exert effort to help you lift as much as you can. The power-lifters call your Transverse abdominal muscle as your “biological” belt because it basically wraps your entire mid-section literally like a belt:
Putting “ki” into your Dan Jun would basically translate to involving your core in any martial arts move that you make.
By the way, the reason I wrote this article is because today, my whole abdominal area are as sore as hell! My intercostals and the muscles in my ribcage are also on fire. Also the soreness that I feel in my abs is nothing that any “sit-up” can do. It is even sorer this time around than when I tried Manny’s 1thousand rep crunches.
Now did I do anything special for my core in my yesterday’s workout? No. Here’s what I did:
Squats 4 sets with 100% bodyweight (basically a “squat first” regimen modified)
Deadlifts – 2 sets of 5s, then 4 sets of 2s, then 2 sets of 3s (I was in the mood and it felt damn great!)
Arnold Presses drop sets with 20% lighter regular dumbbell shoulder press – 2 sets
Incline Bench Front Raises with dumbbells – 3 sets 10-15 reps
Seated Concentration Curls negatives to negative failure – 3 sets each arm
Incline Bench Dumbbell Curls – 3 sets 15 reps
Bodyweight Triceps Dips – 3 sets
Then 3 sets of External Rotations Each arm for my good ol’ Rotator Cuffs
You see, I never did a rep of sit-ups or cruches but my whole abdominal area is sore which means I have stimulated it big time in yesterday’s training. Not only that, basically my WHOLE body, my thighs especially are all so sore today. But I feel great and if you’re like me, you will also learn to love this type of pain.
This is the same reason why you see several great bodybuilders who have very flat mid-section and great abs but admit to doing very little to no sit-ups of crunches. They aren’t lying. They just do a hell lot of basic moves like what they should.
Just to recap – when doing any type of lifts (especially major lifts), fill your lungs with air (and feel your ribcage expand)before the positive portion and tighten your whole transverse abdominals and breathe out from your mouth as you fight against gravity. You basically need to do the “stomach-in” “chest-out” as you lift and then off course mind the arch on your lower back. Eat your eggs, people!