IMPORTANT SITE ANNOUNCEMENT


IMPORTANT SITE ANNOUNCEMENT


The Bodyweight666 and other programs offered here are no longer supported. The site will remain live for the time being but you can find the new and updated strength training program and bodyweight progressions at: STARTBODYWEIGHT.COM




Thursday, 5 July 2012

Abs and core progressions


These are actually 2 progressions which you should perform in parallel, in each session. Jointly, they will help you develop a rock solid core and work the muscles in your stomach (the rectus abdominis and the obliques, as well as stabilizing deep core muscles). The plank progression works these muscles isometrically (where the length of the muscle worked does not change) whereas leg raises develop them both concentrically and eccentrically.

These progressions will ultimately lead to such exercises as the dragon flag (a favourite of Bruce Lee), the hanging dragon flag and –from gymnastics- floor L-holds.

Unless otherwise indicated, you should be aiming to complete 6 sets of 6 repetitions of the given exercise within a workout.  
The first set is a warm up set: go back two or three levels in the progression and perform that variation for 6 reps. 
Perform each following set ‘to failure’ (e.g. 6,6,5,5,4).  

In each new workout, you should aim to improve on the number of reps you performed previously by at least 1, e.g.: (6,6,5,5,4) (6,6,6,5,4) 
Once you manage 6 sets of 6 reps, you are ready to move on to the next variation in the progression.


If you find yourself not progressing any longer, take a few rest days, then resume training.

 Leg raises progression:

 1. Flat knee raises. Lying on the floor, bring your knees vertical with your legs at a 90 degree angle. Make sure to keep breathing throughout the exercise.






 2. Flat bent leg raises. Lying on the floor, bring your legs vertical with a slight bend in them, then return without touching the floor.
 






   3. Flat leg raises. Lying on the floor, bring your legs vertical, keeping them straight at all times, then return without touching the floor.







 4. Chair knee raises. With your arms resting on the back of 2 chairs (you can use 2 towels for cushioning), raise your knees till they are parallel with the floor, then return your legs to a hanging position.






 5. Hanging knee raises. Same as above but hanging from a pull up bar. If you do not have a pull up bar, these can be performed from a door or door frame (see further below).








6. Chair bent leg raises. Similar to knee raises but performed with your legs at a 45 degree angle









7. Hanging bent leg raises. Performed here from a door frame.










8. Chair leg raises. With your arms resting on the back of 2 chairs, raise your legs straight till they are parallel with the floor, then return.







 9. Hanging leg raises. Same as above but hanging from a pull up bar.










 Leg raises performed by holding on to the top of a door.










10. Hanging bent leg V-raises. Keeping a 45 degree bend in your legs throughout the motion, raise them till your feet are level with your head or higher.









11. Hanging V-raises. Hanging from a pull up bar (or door, or door frame), raise your legs straight, till they come to head level or above, then lower under control









12. Hanging V-raise windshield wipers. Raise your legs straight till your knees are level with the bar, then twist to one side and the other, before lowering your legs down again. This constitues one repetion.
















Plank progression:

With all the plank exercises, start at 30s, then build up to 1 minute, before moving on to the next exercise.

 1. Kneeling plank (build up to 1 min) – performed on your knees, with thighs and spine in line.







 2. Plank. Keep your core muscles tight and remember to breathe throughout the duration of the exercise.







3. Side plank. Performed with your arm at your side, or in the air. Aim for one minute on each side (with a one minute rest in between).







4. Decline plank. Performed with feet elevated on a bench. Keep a straight back and remember to breathe throughout the exercise.







5. Leg lift plank. From the plank position, lift a leg straight behind you. Hold one side for up to one minute; then after one minute rest, change legs.






6. Arm and leg lift plank. From the plank position, lift a leg and the opposite arm straight behind you. Keep an horizontal back throughout the exercise. Hold one side for up to one minute; then after one minute rest, switch arms and legs.





 7. Wall plank. Performed with your feet flat against a wall, and your elbows propped on a bench or chair.







8. Arm and leg lift side plank. From the side plank position, raise your top leg up in the air as well as your top arm. Aim for one minute on each side (with a one minute rest in between)


50 comments:

  1. I have a question about plank exercises.
    Does holding your muscle tight for some time helps to grow it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it does... This kind of muscle contaction is called isometric, because the muscle does not change in length. Just as eccentric and concentric contractions (leghtening them under tension and flexing them), isometric contractions have been shown to promote muscle growth.

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  2. Do you work on all of these on the same day? Or are they for different days each? And how long do I work out for

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    Replies
    1. No, you just pick the exercise that is right for your current level. And because there are two progressions, this will mean 2 abs exercises a day (you can pretty much do them everyday, but 3 to 5 times a week is good). As for how long you workout for, you just do the indicated number of reps and sets (and rest 90s between each set)

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  3. How many weeks will it take me if i did planking for 1 minute 3 times a day to get a 6 pack?

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  4. You're asking the wrong question... Doing the plank by itself will not give you six pack abs... getting your body fat around the 10% mark will... I suggest you read this article: http://www.fitness666.com/2012/06/weight-loss-made-easy.html
    Getting a six pack also depends on how elastic your skin is (the tighter the better) ; doing the plank will make your abs more prominent, but untill you get your body fat percentage down, all you'll have are well-developped abs hidden under a layer of fat!

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  5. Hello,for 1 particular exercise,do you do 3 sets of it every other day?Because when I did 3 sets of 12 chair knee raises with 60 seconds interval,I don't really feel sore and that I have been doing enough.Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, 3 sets every other day should be enough... Move on to the next exercose in the progression of you are fonding this one too easy...

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    2. Thanks I will follow your advice!

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  6. I'm loving your site. I've been looking for something like this for a long time.

    I'm sure it's written clearly, but I'm a little confused about what a set is for a plank. Is it just the 30 to 60 second hold?

    Thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, it's just that... But bear in mind it comes on top of the leg raises progression.

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    2. Thank you. And thank you again for the whole site.

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  7. For the plank exercises,is it just a single 1 min plank or 3 sets of 1 min planks?

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    Replies
    1. Just a single plank... Bear in mind you will be doing 3 sets of the leg raises on top of that...

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    2. Thanks for the clarification!

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  8. I've been doing full body workouts for a while now, and I've been somewhat following your guides (and adding other things as well); they've been very helpful so far! However, I'm having trouble with the leg-lift plank, which I'm just now trying to transition to. The leg lift feels more like a leg exercise than a core one. Does that just mean I'm doing them incorrectly?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, the leg lift will definitely work your glutes, but your core muscles also have to work harder in order to keep the leg there. make sure you remain straight throughout the exercise, and that the leg you're lifting is in line with the rest of your body (the leg is held too high on the pics I posted). You should really feel the difference one you get started on the arm and leg lift planks.

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    2. Alright. I guess I just have to man up haha. Thanks for the clarification.

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  9. I have a question regarding the leg lift planks. Do I have to alternate legs during the plank or should I alternate them on every plank session?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's fine to alternate during the plank.

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  10. How many planks and leg raises should i start with?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leg raises: aim for 6x6
      Planks: start with 30s, then build up to a minute before moving on to the next variation in your next workout.

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  11. How fast should I be lifting my legs while doing the leg raises? How slowly should I lower them? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 2s up, and 2s down is a good guideline.

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  12. Question on the back of chair and hanging raises...where are your legs to start? I was doing the knee raises from straight thighs/knees bent behind me up to thighs parallel, but now that I'm trying to stick my legs more out in front of me to do the bent leg ones, I've got nothing. So I wonder if I was using too much momentum on the knee raises? Thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should start with yourr legs extended straight in front of you, heels on the floor. Obviously, this limits your range of motion, but one way to overcome that is to actually start withbent knees, then as you raise your knees, to extend your legs straight so they would find themselves in the starting position described above. Hope this helps.

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    2. Thanks, I'll try that

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  13. sorry..love your site but still confused

    is it 3 sets of 6 for leg raise and 3 sets of 1 minute intervals for plank per workout

    or six sets of 6 for leg raise and 6 sets of 1 minute interval for plank per workout

    thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's 6 sets of 6 leg raises, but to finish the workout, I only do one plank (not 6 sets), holding up to 1 minute

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  14. Hi! When I'm doing leg raises my lower back rises from the floor. How can I do leg raises without that problem?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's likely your glutes and lower back that are tight ; stretching will help. That said, if your back comes a little of the floor during leg raises, it is not a disaster, and certainly not a reason not to do the exercise.

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    2. I struggle with the same, so that's useful for me too. Also, I can't touch my toes (by miles, never have, I'm the worst) - making leg rise progression difficult - they sort of blend into one (with legs bent). Any thoughts? Just stretch ALL the time?

      Rest is going well, cheers.

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    3. Yes stretch, but most likely the problem is not with your flexibility, but rather with your strength... If you can hold your body at 90 degrees like this: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-whs2_mn3DjY/TbUDbldanLI/AAAAAAAABuU/koNRjLewYeE/s1600/IMG_3084.JPG ,but lying on the floor, on your side, then you have the necessary flexibility for leg rises.

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  15. Hey, thanks for the great guides on this site. With the plank progression, it seems to me that side planks would work different muscles in your abs than a regular plank. Is that not the case? If it is, once I get to the final side plank, should I be adding in regular planks as well to make sure I'm covering everything?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Side planks tend to work your obliques more (though if done correctly, they should still work your rectus abdomini). I tend to just alternate between front & side planks personally.

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  16. Instead of door leg raises can I just do leg raises on a pull up bar with a chin up grip? Is that the same or is a solid object behind me necessary?

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  17. good day sir.. thank for this site, really appreciate it.. but i have some question, what do you mean by "first set is a warm up set: go back two or three levels in the progression". sorry to bother you but English is my second language..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous, here is an example: If you can do a level 9 in the leg raise progression (a hanging leg raise) then the first set should be a level 7 in the leg raise progression (a hanging bent leg raise). The rest of the sets will be level 9.

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  18. hey there i am just wondering can i do hanging leg raises with my arms locked at 90 degrees? or is this detrimental somehow? thank you

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  19. Hey El Diablo

    I am a complete beginner but will start following the various progressions you have put up because i think it is a really great website and gives me a great starting point.

    Would it be possible for you to make pdf documents which can be downloaded for 'the essential 6 bodyweight progressions' and the 'further progressions' on each page of the various exercises with the pictures and info for each exercise. I think this will be great for all your users such as me as it will make it much easier to follow by for example having the pdf on the wall like a poster to follow the various progressions.

    Thanks in advance for your reply.

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  20. Just wondering, is there a significant difference between doing hanging leg raises and dip station leg raises supported on your hands (not elbows)

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    Replies
    1. You'll find it much harder to raise your legs higher

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    2. OK, thanks. Great program by the way.

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  21. About Plank progression, I just got to level 6 (Leg lift plank).
    Is it me or doing 6 sets x 1 min x 2 sides + breaks between sides takes too much time... Thats more than 20 minutes just for the plank.
    Is it possible that I got this wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you only do 1 set of planks. not 6

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    2. Thanks for the quick answer! Now that should help with the difficulty.

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  22. hi, great article. question on plank #3 - what benefit does the arm raising do? how much of a difference would it be instead holding it on your hip/by your side?

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  23. Both are common variations. Raising the arm just adds a bit of instability.

    ReplyDelete