Here’s a simple ab workout you can use to pre-fatigue your abs to get amazing results.
And it’s another way to utilise a different progressive overload principle when training to push yourself for superior results.
When we train normally, we work our big muscle groups with compound exercises before we get too tired. But with pre-exhaustion, it’s opposite day.
Target the muscles you want to focus on (in this instance abs) with an isolation exercise and move onto your bigger movements. This fatigues the muscle you’re wanting to target first before they’re tired and you’re limited in how much you can do and how hard you can go!
New to Pre-Exhaustion?
Those who are just beginning to utilise the pre-exhaustion technique will be fine to perform the following exercises without rest for a few sets. As you get more advanced, you add more resistance to your moves (in the form of ankle weights, plates and dumbbells) and up the challenge.
Of course, you don’t have to use these to pre-exhaust. You could just do 5 sets of 20 of each exercise. Add in variations like weights or intervals. If you want to burn more calories, do 10 burpees between each exercise and use at the end of your workout. So many ideas! Exciting isn’t it?
Just make sure you watch form. You can’t get six-pack abs on the sidelines while you’re recovering from injury.
- Lie on your lower back on the exercise ball and place your hands behind your ears.
- Roll your shoulder blades up and lower yourself back down after a short pause
- To avoid straining your neck, look straight up instead of looking at your knees.
Caution: Perform this exercise slowly and deliberately as it takes some getting used to. Also, do not be hasty and try to use weights on the first time; you’ll have enough on your hands learning how to balance yourself. Also, if balance is an issue I recommend having a spotter next to you and also placing each of your feet under a 100-lb dumbbell for added stability
- Lie on the floor on your back with your legs straight up in the air, arms out to the side, palms face up.
- Brace your core and keep your head and shoulders on the floor.
- Keeping the neutral arch in your lower back and your legs straight, lower one leg toward the floor.
- Keep your opposite leg in place without moving, straight up in the air.
- Make sure your knees are bent a little bit.
- Place your left hand behind your head.
- Once you are in this set position, begin by moving your left elbow up as you would perform a normal crunch except this time the main emphasis is on your obliques.
- Lie on the ground in a traditional crunch position, your feet flat on the floor and hands underneath your head.
- Press your lower back into the floor and pull in your belly button to lift your feet off of the floor. Keep your knees together, bent at 90-degree angles.
- Using your core, pull your knees into your chest so that your tailbone raises off of the ground, and simultaneously perform a traditional crunch, lifting your shoulder blades off of the floor. Use your abs, not your hands, to lift your head and shoulders. Your hands are just there to protect your neck.
- Slowly lower your shoulders, hips, and legs to return to the starting position. Stop when your feet are just above the floor.
- Repeat the movement, making sure not to use momentum to power your next rep. Focus on squeezing those abs!
- Lie face down on your stomach with arms and legs extended. Keep your neck in a neutral position.
- Keeping your arms and legs straight (but not locked) and torso stationary, simultaneously lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling to form an elongated “u” shape with your body — back arches and arms and legs lift several inches off the floor.
- Hold for two to five seconds and lower back down to complete one.
- Do three sets of 12.
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Also published on Medium.