Extreme abdominal training goes beyond typical sit-ups and crunches. True abdominal training involves your entire body to move in different directions and at different speeds. Because your abs are the center of the movement chain, you should not train them in isolation. Integrating your lower body with upper-body movements will give you the best results in conditioning your abdominals.
Power Chop and Lift
The power chop and lift are two exercises that trains the diagonal rotation movement pattern in the hip, torso and shoulders. These require a standing cable column to do, and you do not need a lot of weight. Be sure to master the form before increasing speed and resistance. For the chop, set the cable handle at the highest point, and grab the handle with both hands. Stand with your left shoulder facing the hook and your feet hip-width apart. Pull the handle downward and diagonal across your body while pivoting your left leg and hip to the right. Return to start position, and repeat the pattern on both sides. Do 10 to 12 reps per side. Start with a steady speed and gradually increase the speed. The lift pattern is simply the mirror image of the chop. Set the cable handle to the lowest level of the machine. Grab the handle with both hands, and pull it up and diagonally across your body. Start with a steady speed, and gradually increase the speed.
Any type of explosive throw will force your abdominals to engage to generate force and protect your spine and organs, whether you are throwing a baseball or a 20-pound iron ball. Rotational throws with a medicine ball will train explosive power in the abs. Hold a 6- to 10-pound medicine ball, and stand with your right shoulder facing a sturdy wall and your feet hip-width apart. Rotate to your left slightly with your hip and torso to generate force. Then, twist to your right, and sling the ball against the wall, with your arms slightly straight. Focus and aim for a spot on the wall. Catch the ball after it bounces off the wall, and repeat the pattern on both sides. Do 10 to 12 throws a set for three sets. You also can do this exercise with a sandbag.
Tuck Crunch and Roll
This exercise combines a full-body crunch with a roll that trains the side rolling pattern. Lie on your back, with your arms above your head and your feet straight. Lift your shoulders and legs off the ground, and curl your body into a ball, with your elbows touching your knees. Unfold your body back to start position, and roll to your left, with your forearms tucked close to the mid-line of your body. When you roll onto your back, repeat the crunch pattern, then roll to your right. Repeat for 8 to 12 combined rolls per set for three sets.
About this Author
Nick Ng has been writing fitness-related stories since 2003, focusing on nutrition, injury prevention and exercise strategies. He received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and is a certified fitness coach from the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.