How To Get Abs Gymnast Style

February 23, 2010

By John Alvino

Every four years, I look forward to the summer Olympics. I thoroughly enjoy watching and following the big events. While rooting on my favorite athletes, I can’t help but notice the incredible abdominal development of the gymnasts.

Sure, these gymnasts have great genetics, but I can assure you that they were not born with a chiseled six pack. A lot of hard work went into developing those sculpted physiques.

Since these athletes have developed that sought after “cut” look, why then does no one seem to turn to them when they want to learn How To Get Ripped Abs? This is clearly an oversight in the training and fitness community.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect any of you to wake up tomorrow morning and start doing back flips off the pommel horse. But we can certainly investigate how these Olympians train, and decide what aspects of their regimen can be integrated into our training routine.

First, they don’t perform traditional ab workouts. I have spent a great deal of time at several Olympic training centers, and I can tell you that I only saw them perform two direct ab exercises on a regular basis. These two exercises were:

1. The Hanging Leg Raise– Grasp a chin up bar with an overhand grip. Initiating movement with abs, raise your legs up until your shins are almost touching the chin up bar. Return in a controlled fashion until waist, hips, and knees are extended. Repeat for the prescribed number of reps.

2. The V-Sit Up– Lie supine with hands over head. Simultaneously raise straight legs up and torso. With your hands, reach toward raised feet. Return to starting position.

In addition to these direct ab exercises, the Olympic gymnasts get a ton of quality ab work indirectly from full body movements. These movements actually train the abs the way they are supposed to be worked.

The take home lesson here is simple: we must perform full body movements that require our abs to stabilize our torso. These exercises never involve using a fancy seat, bench or back/chest support. Let me give you 3 examples of exercises that incorporate full body movements, so you can get started right away.

1. Ditch the bench press for suspended push ups. When you lie on your back on a bench, your abs basically “go to sleep”. The opposite is true with suspended push ups. In addition to working your chest, shoulders and triceps, this exercise works the abs significantly better than most direct ab exercises.

2. Ditch the pulldown for chin ups. When you sit down on the pulldown seat, you abs do no work at all. On the other hand, your abs really get fired up during chin ups.

3. Ditch the leg press for tuck jumps. Just like the bench press, the leg press puts your abs to sleep because of the bench support. But the leg press even has a second strike against it. Since the sled is on guiding rods that only allow it to move linearly, no stabilization or support is needed from your abs. Tuck jumps, on the other hand, provide a great leg workout AND a great ab workout – in one single exercise.

For more information, check out How To Get Ripped Abs.


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