Oh yeah! An exercise about the abs! In fact, this is one of my favorite ab exercises for beginners and advanced trainees because it is relatively easy to perform, it is easy to increase and decrease the difficulty, and it will smoke your abs!
Before we get started though, I want to say a few things about ab muscles and ab training in general.
Your abs are muscles that surround your midsection and while aesthetically pleasing, these muscles are very important for health and performance. These muscles keep your trunk stable, which allows you to transfer power from the ground to your extremities. Your ab muscles also prevent excessive motion at the spine, which can lead to injuries and pain.
I would say at least 50% of the people who come to see me at IFAST suffer from, or have suffered from, low back pain. Also, statistics estimate that over 90% of the population will eventually suffer from low back pain. This is very unfortunate, but I am happy to say that we have had tremendous success getting our clients out of pain and functioning optimally by teaching them proper movement mechanics and strengthening their abs.
The goal of any ab exercise should be to force the abs to perform their main function, which is preventing excessive motion at the low back.
For example, how many of you are familiar with the plank exercise? This is a great movement to train the abs because you are holding your spine straight and resisting it from moving and you have to use your abs to do this.
This is also the goal with the wall press abs exercise.
So let’s get started.
How to perform:
1. Simply lie on your back with your head relatively close to a stable surface and your feet off the floor (hips and knees at 90 degrees).
2. Slightly press your hands into the wall behind you to make yourself “long”.
3. Keep your knees bent and slowly lower one leg to the floor, tap the heel, and return back to the starting position.
4. Repeat with the other leg.
Things to think about:
The legs should move at a 2 second tempo – 2 seconds down and 2 seconds up.
Try to keep your low back relatively flat to the floor. Imagine something is between your low back and the floor and you are trying to crush it. Use your abs to do this.
If you feel pressure in your low back when performing this exercise then it is either too difficult or you need to really tighten your stomach and try to flatten your low back to the floor.
How to make it harder:
The more your straighten your knee out when you lower your leg the more difficult it will be. So start by keeping your knee at 90 and if that is easy slightly straighten the knee until you can perform it with the leg completely straight.
Once you have mastered the straight leg variation, reach both legs out. Progress as I explained above with both legs – start with them bent and slowly work to reaching both legs out and making them straight.
You should feel a nice burn in your abs after this:)
Lastly, here is a video of IFAST co-owner Bill Hartman discussing the exercise.
Now go build some sexy abs and a healthy back!