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From fitness buff to fitness god: Learn the 5 hardest Ab exercises known to man


From fitness buff to fitness god: Learn the 5 hardest Ab exercises known to man

Just when you thought those sweat-pumping, gut-busting crunches, pushups, and sit-ups are hard, take a look at these five ab exercises courtesy of Men’s Health and see if you can take your routines to a whole new level.

1. Human Flag

“Is there such a thing?” you may ask. Yes, there is. It just so happens that only fitness gods are able to perform this routine.

From the very name itself, imagine pulling yourself up a pole (one that is of course sturdy enough to carry your weight and with just the right size for you to grasp firmly using both hands). To do so, you need to contract your core and extend one leg at a time until your body is horizontally aligned to the very top of the pole. Once on top, you need to stay there in a flag-like position for 10 seconds.

Trainer Sam Stauffer cautions, "This is the master of all core moves because you have to be strong enough to hold your own weight."

2. Toes to bar

For this kind of exercise, you would need a strong grip and core, an incredibly flexible hip, and a god-like body strength, says Craig Ballantyne, C.S.C.S., author of Turbulence Training.

The trick with the Toes to bar is to never rely on gravity. Only you will be able to control how to hold on and pull yourself up every time. For most cases, mortals won’t be able to do one rep.

3. Single-side Bird Dog

Out of all the five ab exercises, this appears to be the most doable. The single-side bird dog, however, is something to be taken seriously. Stauffer even says that about 90 percent of people can’t do it. This is because it is one thing to have a strong core, it is another matter to have it incredibly stable.

According to Men’s Health, “picking up an arm and a leg on the same side forces your core stabilizers to work overtime to keep you from tipping over or flexing or extending your back.” The goal: be able to perform 8 to 12 reps on the right side, and another set on the other.

4. Medicine Ball Hollow-Body Hold

For gymnasts, the "hollow body" position is already elementary. “To do it, you must hold your upper and lower body a couple of inches off the floor by clenching every muscle from your fingers to your toes,” according to Men’s Health.

The challenge becomes harder once a 3-to-6-pound medicine ball is placed between your feet. "If you're new to this move, you'll only be able to hold it for 15 seconds before your abs will feel as if they're on fire and you'll start to shake," Stauffer says.

5. Valslide Pushup

Get ready to meet the Zeus of pushups: the Valslide Pushup. Strength Coach Tony Gentilcore says that this exercise not only tones your abs, but it also works on your obliques, rectus abdominus (a.k.a. your six-pack muscles), shoulders, upper back, pecs, and triceps.

Almost looking like a one-arm pushup, Gentilcore explains in Men’s Health: “This puts more stress on your opposite arm and makes it more difficult for your core to remain straight throughout the move, he explains. It's tough to get more than a few reps with perfect form.”

SOURCE: http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/5-hardest-ab-exercises


This entry was posted in Fitness on December-09-14

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