muscles of the abdominals are always on the list
of improvements people would like to make to their
physique. I've got two exercises that can help
you not only develop obliques that jump out of
your abs and demand attention but also help you
develop rock-solid core power and strength.
Exercise #1 - Stretched Flying
first abdominal exercise is one that I call the
"Stretched Flying Cable Crunch." It
is done using the Cable Crossover machine. This
exercise allows you to place direct tension on
the upper oblique area to sides of the upper abs
where the obliques form the "fingers"
that truly finish a physique.
by attaching two single handles to the high pulleys
of the crossover machine. You will be using a
moderately heavy weight for the exercise itself
but you can start light to get an idea of the
the two handles, kneel down then walk a few steps
forward on your knees. As you kneel down, you
will need to rotate your shoulders so that your
arms are being stretched behind your back (your
palms will be facing up in this position). The
reason you want to step forward a bit is to get
a better stretch on the obliques.
this position, you can perform one of three movements:
a cable crunch straight forward, a side crunch
to the left or a side crunch to the right. The
angle of the cables form a direct line of pull
for the obliques on the opposing side of the body,
e.g. when you side crunch to the left, the right
pulley has a direct line of pull on the left obliques.
found that a good way to execute this exercise
is to cycle between the three movements during
the set - do one crunch to the front, one to the
left, one to the front, one to the right, one
to the front, one back to the left, etc. This
will give you a balanced workload on the abs.
You can also choose to just focus on the obliques
by going back and forth between the two sides.
unique angle of tension from this exercise will
really place demands on the abs in a way that
they're not used to.
is the start position of the exercise.
be in a kneeling position, a step forward
from the centerline of the pulleys to get
a stretch on the abs.
arms will be rotated around so that your
palms are facing up.
is the straight crunched position of the
straight down as if you were doing a regular
hard at the bottom.
To hit the
left side obliques, crunch down towards
the left side.
arm will be pulled down while your left
arm will remain motionless in space. The
left weight stack should not move at all.
To hit the
right side obliques, simply crunch over
to the right side.
left arm will be pulled down while your
right arms stays motionless in space.
#2 - Cable Torso Rotations With a Twist!
second abdominal exercise is a variation of an
exercise you may already be familiar with. The
exercise this variation is based on is commonly
known as a "Cable Torso Rotation." This
variation takes this basic concept and adds a
unique twist that literally doubles the effectiveness
of the exercise.
movement is done on a cable machine. If you have
access to a machine that has an adjustable height
pulley, this is the best option. If not, it will
also work on either a high or low pulley. The
movement itself is exactly the same regardless
of where you pull from.
the pulley to about belly-button height (or use
either the high or low pulley) and attach a single
cable handle to it. Use a fairly light weight
to start so you get an idea of how the movement
is performed and what resistance you'll need.
perpendicular to the pulley with your left side
towards the pulley. Grasp the handle with your
right hand and take a step to the right. Plant
your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart
and get ready to rotate. The movement itself is
very similar to a baseball swing, making it a
very effective sports-training movement not only
for baseball but from any sport that requires
a powerful transfer of force from lower body to
the start of the movement, your right arm will
be held across your chest with your left arm at
your side. Initiate the movement by rotating your
torso to the right. Be sure to keep your elbow
slightly bent and locked into position. If you
allow the elbow to bend, you will turn the movement
into a side row, lessening the effect on the obliques.
Keep that arm stiff and fairly straight!
you start this rotation, begin bringing the cable
around in front of your body by pulling on the
cable handle with your right arm. Your right arm
will come away from your body as you rotate, placing
more torque on the obliques.
comes the trick that doubles the workload on the
you start to approach the midpoint of the rotation,
grasp the CABLE about 6 inches from the cable
clip with your left hand. Do not grasp the handle
itself with the left hand - it's important that
you wrap your left hand around the actual cable
for this to work. Read on...
a normal cable rotation exercise, after you go
past the halfway point of the rotation, the tension
on the abs will start decreasing. The peak tension
is at the halfway point. We're going to fix that!
you've passed the halfway point of the rotation,
continue pulling the handle with your right hand
but now start PUSHING forward and away from your
body on the cable itself with your left hand.
As a visual, think of the string games that kids
play such as the Cat's Cradle.
you're essentially doing is creating a new fulcrum
for the tension of the cable to go through. Instead
of losing some tension around the arc as you normally
would, you now have direct tension on the abs
again and in a different way than in the regular
rotation exercise. This not only works the obliques
on the pulling side with the pulling motion, it
also works the obliques on the pushing side with
a strong pushing motion.
effect on the abs with this double movement is
tremendous! The next day you should have a very
strong feeling of tightness (and possibly soreness)
in the upper/side ab area.
pictures demonstrates the position
of the left hand on the cable
at the end of the movement.
cable is bent about 90 degrees
at the end. The right arm is
only stabilizing the movement
now and the left arm is pushing
against the resistance.
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