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Old 04-15-2008, 01:02 AM
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The plank for lower abs?

Ive been trying to really focus on strengthening my core. I am going on vacay in exactly one month and want to slim down my waist a bit. I started doing some planks and I notice I am VERY sore after these. Does anyone know how and why these work so well? Also...whats a good amount of time (seconds? minute?) to do this exercise? the one I really like are the side planks with arm up (damn I feel it in my obliques) and doing a plank while resting forearms on one of those inflatable exercise balls.

Has anyone seen real changes in their waistline by doing the plank (yes I am eating well and doing cardio 1 hour/day 4-5 days a week).

thanks in advance
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:20 AM
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On the contrary... Research Reveals the Best Abs Exercises
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:38 AM
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the 'core' is different from 'abs'. they are connected but seperate. the core is where power is generated, twisting motions, balance, etc, while the abs are muscles above the core which deal with torso single plane movement (mainly). the plank is a great move for the core. the side ones are as well. the lumberjack and reverse lumberjack are good ones, as well. there are a lot of medicine ball ones as well that are great.

Oh a plank works your core by tightening your muscles. It's like doing a curl halfway up and holding it. Putting the muscles under tension is the key. so when you do a plank try to suck in your tummy and pretend like you're trying to pull it all the way in to your spine. Make sure you keep it tight, and concentrate on flexing your core.

Oh and just like any other muscle, make sure you don't work it hard every day. obviously it's difficult not to use your core (you activate it while moving in any direction ) but it does need to rest somewhat.
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:46 AM
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I want abs! My winter insulation is almost gone now, but I wouldn't mind a bit more mass in my core.
Do reverse crunches do anything? I do them in my weights class and don't really feel anything, even when I ask the instructor to make sure I'm doing them properly.

Good luck bluefeevah!
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:55 AM
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By reverse crunches you mean like leg lifts kind of?

How To Do a Reverse Crunch | eHow.com

If you're doing them correct (maybe the teacher doesn't know how?) they work.

I like doing hanging leg raises.
Bodybuilding.com - Simon Forsyth - Hanging Leg Raises: Get A Leg Up On Strength!
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:03 PM
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ITA with Clark!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluefeevah View Post
Also...whats a good amount of time (seconds? minute?) to do this exercise? the one I really like are the side planks with arm up (damn I feel it in my obliques) and doing a plank while resting forearms on one of those inflatable exercise balls.

Has anyone seen real changes in their waistline by doing the plank (yes I am eating well and doing cardio 1 hour/day 4-5 days a week).
you should do them as long as you can hold it until you feel like your muscles are fatigued. to challenge yourself further, you can use the stability ball and then also elevate your feet on a bench at the same time. and then even more challenging is using two smaller balls (one under each arm) with your feel elevated on a bench.

i've never noticed changes from just the plank alone, but i mix things up a lot.


Shana - reverse crunches should be doing something. have you tried them on an elevated bench where your head is higher than your feet?
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:08 PM
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Here check these pictures out (i didn't read anything but the pics are good)

Core

The reverse crunch of his is intense, and good.

The last one, the toe touch, is also a good one (more of an ab workout though)
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
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ITA with Clark!!

you should do them as long as you can hold it until you feel like your muscles are fatigued. to challenge yourself further, you can use the stability ball and then also elevate your feet on a bench at the same time. and then even more challenging is using two smaller balls (one under each arm) with your feel elevated on a bench.

i've never noticed changes from just the plank alone, but i mix things up a lot.


Shana - reverse crunches should be doing something. have you tried them on an elevated bench where your head is higher than your feet?
TY Zoki.

Yeah, the bold statement above is true. You couldn't expect changes from just one exercise, like I said before you need to hit all angles and do multiple exercises. I sometimes even do a "core" day with nothing but core exercises in it.
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clarkkent06 View Post
By reverse crunches you mean like leg lifts kind of?

How To Do a Reverse Crunch | eHow.com

If you're doing them correct (maybe the teacher doesn't know how?) they work.

I like doing hanging leg raises.
Bodybuilding.com - Simon Forsyth - Hanging Leg Raises: Get A Leg Up On Strength!
The way he does it is with the feet starting on the ground, knees slightly apart, then slowly hinge knees so thighs are perpendicular to the ground, then a little pulse off the ground straight up, then slowly hinge back until feet touch the ground.
Maybe I'm letting momentum do too much of the work, although I try to go slow. The method in the video does make me feel like I'm actually working my abs though, so I'll switch to this next time. Thanks!

Not so sure about the leg raises. I used to do those as a kid at the park on the monkey bars, but at the time they were fun, and calling it an exercise makes it sound like hard work!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zoki View Post
Shana - reverse crunches should be doing something. have you tried them on an elevated bench where your head is higher than your feet?
Good suggestion! I'd have to watch my back from arching then.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:05 PM
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Thank you all for the links and Suggestions - Im greatful to have all 3 (Clarkkent, Zoki, ShanaG) respond - I've read your responses on other threads and I really enjoy learning from you all!

I dont expect a body to change simply by doing the plank but I have heard the plank can seriously tighten the rectus abs, pulling you up and in.

Hey, Clarkkent, can you tell me what your "Core day" exercises comprise of? I am inspired and thank you.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:12 PM
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Like I always say, I'm a huge fan of men's health. Here are two articles which have good background info and some good workout/exercise pictures.

Core Strength - Men's Health

Core Workout - Men's Health

I'll generally do the front plank, both side planks, hanging leg raises/leg raise twist (sometimes weighted), their "single leg lowering" exercise, side bridge raise, reach and twist hyperextension (but with a plate, too lazy to drag the medicine balls all the way over the to hyperextension bench ), cable chop, woodchopper, and a form of their "v-twist". I don't do the same routine every time, so there is usually a combination of these and in different orders.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:22 PM
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i should mention that you don't want to do the more challenging suggestions i offered when doing side planks...unless you have a spotter. but you can do them as front planks on your own.

for me, when i really want to work my core i think about where my "power" and "stability" comes from when exercising (even when doing cardio). any thing that requires you to stabilize your body while moving one part will work your core (for example, standing on one leg when doing bicep curls). any time that i am doing a dead lift or squat, i think about the power of the move beginning with my core muscles. i also recommend using a medicine ball and doing v-ups, oblique twists, sit ups where you power the ball up and throw it into the air and catch it again.

also, look into pilates/yoga exercises...i found that for core development the exercises transfer well from pilates/yoga to weight training.

i am sure that clark has excellent suggestions on core specific exercises.

PS. see he did!!!
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:30 PM
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lol. Good one zoki. Yeah, that's a good point as well. Like I mentioned before, everything you do starts from you core. So whenever you're doing anything be conscious of that, and try to tighten it as much as possible. Just sitting in a chair you can do it.

Oh Zoki - you deadlift and squat?? HOT
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:56 PM
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^ wealth of knowledge here AF-ers!! This is all free personal training! hehe...seriously are either of you trainers?

THANK YOU!! I am going to modify some of these exercises (some just appear too hard without me falling over) and try them tonight. I really appreciate it!
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:59 PM
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no I'm definitely not a trainer. i don't think I'm mean enough, kwim? I don't think I'd be able to push people hard enough. With friends, it's different, but with "clients"...i don't think i could.

Good luck!!
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluefeevah View Post
hehe...seriously are either of you trainers?
i actually have a personal trainer, but love to share the exercises that he has me do with anyone who wants to hear about them.

seriously, i used to fall over all the time until i took some pilates/yoga classes and became very aware of where your power and stability come from. it helped me a ton with my strength and balance.

good luck! feel free to PM me anytime if you are looking for more suggestions.
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Old 04-17-2008, 08:56 AM
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boy oh boy this makes me want to do some hardcore core workouts
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Old 04-20-2008, 01:42 AM
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my favorite workout for lower abs are reverse crunches

while planks are good for the core, i can never do them ever again after cross country. we'd do like five minutes just straight up and then do them on the sides for a good couple minutes, all the while doing stupid shit like raising one leg off the ground and one arm.

but anyways, if you want to slim down your waist, i would say that nutrition is just as important (actually, imo, more important) than doing these exercises.
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Old 04-24-2008, 12:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clarkkent06 View Post
the 'core' is different from 'abs'. they are connected but seperate. the core is where power is generated, twisting motions, balance, etc, while the abs are muscles above the core which deal with torso single plane movement (mainly). the plank is a great move for the core. the side ones are as well. the lumberjack and reverse lumberjack are good ones, as well. there are a lot of medicine ball ones as well that are great.

Oh a plank works your core by tightening your muscles. It's like doing a curl halfway up and holding it. Putting the muscles under tension is the key. so when you do a plank try to suck in your tummy and pretend like you're trying to pull it all the way in to your spine. Make sure you keep it tight, and concentrate on flexing your core.

Oh and just like any other muscle, make sure you don't work it hard every day. obviously it's difficult not to use your core (you activate it while moving in any direction ) but it does need to rest somewhat.
I agree with this totally...many ppl are actually doing any ab exercise incorrectly. Many think just a simple crunch motion works...but the secret is to suck in the abs and actually CRUNCH. Many ppl dont understand the true meaning behind it....IMO

Another good exercise for lower abs that I do are leg raises on the roman chair.

I suggest bodybuilding.com for any specific questions you might have...there are a lot of assholes on there, but also a lot of cool ppl willing to help anyone at any stage of their workout routine.
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