Everywhere you go there’s an article that’s touting the next best six-pack ab exercise. Well, I hate to be the one to pee in the Cheerios, but if you want six-pack abs (which we all have to some degree, some are just more covered than others) then the real work comes in the kitchen. However, that doesn’t mean that training your abs doesn’t have its place. As a mater of fact, training your abs, hips, obliques, glutes, and lower back… also known as your “core” is one of the most important things you can do. Way more important than hoping one exercise will give you that magical six-pack.
One of our favorite “core” exercises here at Relentless is called the Body Saw, and we use it a lot.
There are a couple reasons why we do this exercise more than more commonly-seen ab exercises like crunches, sit-ups, etc.
1. The abdominal muscles are more about providing stability to the mid-section of your body than they are flexing and moving it. Not to say that they don’t move you and that you should never train your core to move, but moving under load doesn’t happen as much in life as stabilizing and transferring power under load.
2. The Body Saw movement integrates a lot of OTHER moving body parts while keeping the core stiff. This core stiffness while other things are moving will help you use the core for one of its primary uses: Transferring power while protecting the spine. So rather than crunches and sit-ups, which can hurt your back if you have some weakness or poor technique, a properly done Body Saw will actually help secure and armor your lower back against injury. No more throwing your back out when you least expect it!
1. Do NOT let your lower back sag. Imagine that you are trying to bring your chest and your feet together without driving your hips up in the air.
2. Maintain active shoulders. Move your shoulders but don’t let your shoulder blades collapse.
3. Move with a nice, even pace. Don’t try to race for the max number of reps, that’s not the point. We generally operate at about a second forward and a second back, or maybe a little longer.
Adding the Body Saw To Your Workout:
There’s a couple of ways you can add the Body Saw to your current workouts.
1. Add it into your warm-up to get your core engaged and “prime the movement” before your heavy lifts like squats and deadlifts. You’d add it into your warm-up for a couple of sets of 15 to 30 seconds. Don’t go until you’re fatigued, instead all you’re doing is waking your midsection up and training some stiffness. Then between sets of the heavy lifts do 10-15 seconds of body sawing. Nothing stressful, just getting things going.
2. Add it after all your harder work to help build core strength and stability. This is where you might want to do 3-4 sets of 30-60 seconds of work as part of a conditioning circuit or with a 30-60 second break between sets.
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