Abs??? Ewwww. Core work?? But I’m a powerlifter! Yep, that’s what I thought too. No more crunches, leg raises and crap. Squats and deadlifts work my core enough! Well, I was wrong. About a year into lifting low back pains started and that’s when I found out the abdominal muscles are one of the most important muscle groups in our bodies.
The basic function of the rectus abdominis is that it is a postural muscle. It is responsible for helping to keep us upright (in conjunction with the lower back muscles such as the erector spinae) during movements such as a squat and deadlift. It also flexes the lumbar spine by essentially squeezing the mid-section together both when the pelvis is fixed as with a crunching motion or the pelvis can be brought towards the rib cage as with a posterior pelvic tilt. The two can also be brought together simultaneously when neither is fixed in space. (quoted via Elite FTS)
But crunches can be boring so I did some research and found a few exercises that are challenging, fun and will help add kilos to that total!!
This lift works best with a Farmers Walk bar so that you don’t have to overextend when lifting a regular bar off the ground. If you don’t have Farmer’s bars, set the bar up at just below the knee in the rack. (Low Reps Stay Tight!!!)
STANDING AB ROLLOUTS
VERTICAL PALLOF PRESS
Just like rollouts, the vertical Pallof press is an excellent anti-extension exercise. The vertical Pallof press is basically an upright rollout where the ab wheel is replaced by a rope attachment on a cable cross machine. Since it is performed on a cable cross machine, resistance can easily be added as the trainee adapts. To execute, face away from the cable cross with your head in between each end of the rope. In a split stance or half-kneeling position with the cable arm at its highest point, press the rope up and away from your body. Hold the extended position for 3-5 seconds while maintaining a neutral spine. Repeat for 5-8 repetitions. This exercise can also be done with resistance bands if a cable cross and rope are not available. (via Breaking Muscle)
DECLINE LEG RAISE WITH HIP LIFT
Shovel Lift (Oblique Killer)
Keep the reps under 6, and go for 3 to 5 sets.
Full Contact Twist or landmine Twist
Bonus: Matt Wenning Floor Ab Work. He does 50 every night and said it's kept him injury free. The guy squatted 1100 pounds so you might want to take his suggestion seriously.