The Dirty Dozen Exercises: Move #4, The Hanging Abdominals
There is nothing sought after more than a set of “washboard abs”. A set of ripped, hard looking, abdominal region inspires awe and envy in everyone that sets eyes upon them. A “Cut Gut” is a sure telltale sign the the bearer is in incredible physical condition and that they “don’t have an ounce of fat” on them. How do we achieve these legendary abdominals of steel and sinew? How do we develop 6-pack abs that can withstand having cinderblocks piled on it and being hit with a sledgehammer? Can we develop our midsection so that we can absorb a full power knee drive from a Muay Thai Fighter or an uppercut from a Prize Boxer?
First of all, having a “ripped” abdominal section is not necessarily indicative of abdominal strength. It not simply the appearance, but how did they get those abs? By simply starving themselves or as the result of serious, pointed abdominal training? There are some fitness experts that recommend a thousand abdominal repetitions per day or some type of fitness apparatus that they are undoubtedly paid to endorse. These machines may or may not work and I don’t know how many of us have the time to perform a thousand or more crunches a day. So how do we achieve these legendary abdominals that can withstand having a 2 x 4 broken over them, but fit the workout into our overloaded lives?
If you are engaged in a consistent Kettlebell and Bodyweight training regiment, your abdominals and core are already receiving a great deal of work. However, if you want to take it to the next level and maximize the “best bang for the buck” for your abdominals, then Hanging Abdominal training is a must. You will discover that I do detest long, drawn out training sessions. Who has the time? How long can ANY of us effectively train while maintaining intensity and proper form? Plus – if you are an athlete, you want to leave time to practice your sports skills, not spend the bulk of your day with your strength and conditioning. If you are not a competitive athlete, you probably have work, family or social matters that require your attention. Use your time wisely.
There are several methods of practicing the hanging abdominals. or a beginner, I will recommend that you use (or purchase) the Dip, Pull-up & Ab Machine. The are available new for about $300, used for $100 or less. It will be the most useful apparatus that you ever purchase. No moving parts whatsoever. In addition to the video demonstrating the higher level abs, check out this one on YouTube It will show the machine. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNNSJXfbCac. For beginners, simply raise your knees up to chest (or as high as you are able) while keeping your lumbar region (low back) pressed firmly against the back board of the machine. When you able to accomplish 20 repetitions with bent knees, then move to straight legged version and bring your legs up so that your heels are level with your waist. For the next level of this exercise, you bring your feet up to or above head level. Please remember to maintain a flat back against the back pad. Packing your shoulders and assuming a tall chest position are a must.
Once you are able to to perform the suspended abdominals, you are ready for the Hanging Abdominal training. There are three basic movements that I recommend. The Hanging Knee Lift, Jackknife and the Side to Side Jackknife. The easiest are the Hanging Knee Lift. Grasp a pull-up bar with your elbows straight and your shoulders packed. Do not allow for body sway. Contract your abs and raise your knees up to chest level. Work up to at least 20 repetitions prior to advancing toward the Jackknife Abs. For the straight Jackknife abs, assume the same position as during the Knee Lifts. Straighten your legs, steady your body and contract your abs as you raise your legs so that your feet are above the bar. Repeat. For the Side to Side Jackknife, simply raise your feet to one corner of the pull-up bar and then the other. This contralateral movement is incredible. As far as repetitions are concerned, start with 3 to 5 and then work your way up to 10 per set. Do not permit yourself to swing. You will not maximize the effect of the movement and you may expose yourself to injury. Packed shoulders, locked elbows and a steady body.
As always, train hard, train often and TRAIN SMART!
Master RKC Phil Ross leads the First Ever RKC Instructor Kettlebell Certification in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ! The three day event will cover the Big 6 Kettlebell Movements, Bodyweight, Programming, Instruction as well as how to run your Kettlebell Business. Become part of the most prestigious Kettlebell Training Organization in the world: The RKC! Are you up to the challenge?
For additional information on this workshop or to register, visit: http://www.dragondoor.com/
Space is limited to 22 participants – reserve your spot today!
The “Dirty Dozen” Exercises:
More often than not, I get asked “Coach, what are the best exercises to do?” Or “If you were to choose “X” amount of exercise, what would they be?”. There are a plethora of great exercises and variations that my students and I truly love to do. However if I were to boil it down to several movements that are essential to any strength and conditioning regiment, I would choose 6 Kettlebell exercises and 6 Bodyweight movements.
I’m not saying that these are the ONLY exercises you should do but they all should be included in your workout regiment, no matter what your focus is. These exercises will increase strength, endurance, coordination, flexibility and durability like no others. These exercises will even improve your performance with your bench press, deadlift and bar squats.
Over the next year, I’ll be putting forth write ups accompanied by videos on the “Dirty Dozen”. We’ll discuss variations and progressions, especially when considering bodyweight. I’ll discuss each movement in depth and give my reasoning for the selection of each movement.
OK- here’s the list.
The Kettlebell Swing: This movement is the root of all Kettlebell Training and the great differentiator between Kettlebell based training and all other strength developing exercise systems. The Kettlebell Swing “reverse engineers” the practitioner’s hips by developing hip hinge through the pop and lock required to execute the movement properly.
The Front Squat: Single Rack or Bottoms up. Squatting is the most important movement for lower body and core strength. The Front Squat, by virtue of the position of the Kettlebell, this exercise requires the complete linkage of the upper and lower body. Tensioning of the trunk (core – tho I’m not a fan of the word) and maintaining the bell in the prescribed position requires considerable upper body engagement in addition to the tension in the trunk.
The Kettlebell Press: Pressing heavy weight above your head is very cool and extremely useful. The Kettlebell Press employs full range of motion, full body tension and active negative (downward) motion of the bell.
The Get-up: There is not a single movement that incorporates more muscles of the body than the Get up, also known as the Turkish Get Up or TGU. This incredible exercise is a signature movement of Kettlebell Training. Dynamic tension, balance, flexibility and body alignment are all developed with the TGU. The Clean: The Kettlebell Clean is used in a great deal of Kettlebell complexes, racking the kettlebell for Squats and Presses, but it’s an incredibly beneficial stand alone movement. A single arm clean taxes the stabilizers in the trunk as well as reinforcing the tensioning and relaxation.
The Kettlebell Snatch: This is my favorite of all Kettlebell movements. The Kettlebell Snatch is a ballistic movement that develops strength, endurance, speed, coordination and there is no question why this movement is used in both competitions and testing as a fitness barometer. The Kettlebell Snatch V02 Max workout is unmatched in maximizing one’s volume of oxygen uptake.
The Bridge: An ignored movement in American physical fitness. Very few athletes, except for wrestlers and gymnasts, utilize this crucial movement. The Bridge is exactly what it’s name connotes. The development of a strong, flexible spine linking together the upper torso with the trunk and lower limbs. Strong spinal erectors are essential to a healthy spine and unhindered movement. Key to athletics, active living and certain vocations – not to mention every day living!
Hanging Abdominals: One can do thousands of crunches and buy every gimmicky ab machine on the TV at 2:00am, nothing will develop your abdominals better than the Hanging the Abdominals. Lifting your legs up to your chest or your feet above your head develops and requires significant abdominal strength.
The Pistol (Single Leg Squat): The most difficult and beneficial leg exercise – period. The training enroute a butt to heel Pistol develops balance, trunk stability and incredible leg strength. There are weight lifters that can full squat 600 pounds, yet they collapse and fall over when attempting the Pistol.
The Hand Stand: This is the coolest of all bodyweight exercises. Nothing demonstrates full body control and balance than being able to invert yourself in the middle of a room and hold it there. The progressions building up to the Handstand develop incredible shoulder and trunk strength.
The Pull-up: There is no single exercise that demonstrates and develops upper body strength like the Pull-up. If you can do 20 pull-ups, you are in great shape. I challenge you to show me a person who can do 20 pull-ups and doesn’t have a 6-pack.
The Push-up: The Push-up is my favorite for several reasons. There are fun and challenging variations, the movement works not only your upper body but conditions your abdominals and reinforces the total body tensioning. The best thing about Push-ups is that you can do them virtually anywhere that there is a floor. Your bedroom, basement or office – anywhere. There is no good reason for you not to do them. Get started now!
There you have it. 12 exercises that no training regiment should be without. If you want to achieve ultimate, applicable strength and conditioning, your program needs to include these core “Dirty Dozen” exercises.
Over the next few weeks, Dragon Door will be announcing a number of promotions to its future RKC leadership team. Kicking off a dramatic new era for the RKC, we are proud to announce that Phil Ross has accepted the position of Master RKC with Dragon Door, effective January 1, 2013.
Phil is an exceptionally accomplished martial artist, athlete, trainer and kettlebell instructor and we are delighted to welcome him to Dragon Door’s dynamic new RKC leadership team. Below is a description of our new Master RKC’s accomplishments:
Phil Ross: 8th Degree Black Belt, Specialist in Bodyweight Strength and CK-FMS Certified.
Phil Ross’ name is synonymous with Martial Arts and Fitness. He is known as his area’s Kettlebell King and has successfully competed on the National Level in Submission Fighting, Kickboxing, both Full Contact & Point Karate, Taekwondo and Olympic Style Wrestling from 1979 through 2010. He has also held several titles in Bodybuilding and Power Lifting.
More important than his personal accomplishments are the many benefits that his students have gained. A multitude of very accomplished individuals have trained and continue to train with Phil Ross; US Special Forces, UFC Fighters and other Professional Fighters, Martial Arts School Owners, FBI Agents, DEA Agents, US Federal Marshals, High School Athletes, Police Officers, US Marines, Professional Athletes, Doctors, Attorneys, Educators, Students with Special Needs, Computer Programmers, Wall Street moguls, moms, dads, not to mention the thousands of children and teenagers trained over the years.
His training methods have produced champions in the sports of Karate, Kickboxing, both Collegiate and Olympic style wrestling, Track and Field, Lacrosse, Football, Volleyball, Golf, Baseball, Hockey, Tennis and Soccer, to name a few.
Due to the influence of his Grandfather and Father, Mr. Ross embarked on his combat arts and strength and fitness journey in the 1970’s. He has been on a continuous quest to improve himself and bring the best training available to his students. The owner/operator of his New Jersey based American Eagle MMA & Kettlebell studio ever since 1988, he provides over 35 classes per week in addition to his small group and private sessions.
Combat Arts Experience and Honors: Victorious in well over 300 combat competitions inclusive of matches in Karate, Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Wrestling and Submission Fighting. He competed successfully on the National Level from 1979 through 2010. Some of his honors include: Silver Medal at the 1979 AAU Eastern National Greco-Roman Wrestling Championships, Bronze Medal in the 1992 AAU Taekwondo Nationals, 1995 Free Fighting National Champion, 2010 NAGA No-Gi Submission Fighting Expert Level Champion, 8 Time Gold Medalist at the NJ Garden State Games Karate Championships, MVP at the 1996 NJ vs. NY Karate Challenge, Team Captain of the 1994 World Karate Union’s Team NJ second place World Championship team. Black Belt Hall of Fame Martial Artist, Brooklyn New York’s Big Apple Challenge 1989 Black Belt Kumite Champion.
Black Belts: East/West Martial Alliance, Combat Jiujitsu, Bando, Taekwondo
Instructorships: CDT, Arnis, Shamrock Submission Fighting
Fitness & Strength Honors: Mr. Wilkes Bodybuilding Champion in 1981, 3rd Place 1983 Mr. DC Bodybuilding, 1982 University of Maryland Olympic Lifting Champion, 1987 Reebok Challenge Power Lifting Champion, totaling 1400 lbs at a weight of 179.9 (370 Bench, 525 Squat & 505 Deadlift)
Fitness: RKC Certified Kettlebell Instructor, Master Personal Trainer, Functional Movement Specialist, Specialist in Bodyweight Strength Certified
Other Experience: High School Wrestling Coach, Professional Bodyguard
His S.A.V.E. Self Defense Fitness video series was Rated #1 by two separate nationally recognized video reviewers and his Advanced Russian Kettlebell video is ranked in the Top 10 of Kettlebell workout videos. His Kettlebell Basics Workshop and Manual was the approved Kettlebell Training Course by the National Academy of Sports Medicine for continuing education credits.
Welcome to Master Phil Ross’ YouTube Channel. Please feel free to take advantage of this opportunity to view one of the World’s Foremost authorities on Martial Arts & Fitness: FREE OF CHARGE! Have fun and expand your training knowledge with the posted workouts, movements and Defensive Tactics.
Spencer Ross: Down Under International Championship 2013
My son Spencer has been selected to represent the State of New Jersey in the Down Under Games hosted in Australia this coming July, 2013. It will be an incredible experience for him and a great opportunity for you to help an inspiring Olympian reach his goals.
The competition is open only to this year’s Junior class and below. The competition is an Olympics for High School aged athletes. Spencer is one of the top shot putters in his age group in the country. Last Spring Track Season he threw a personal best of 55’5.25 and placed third in the NJHS State Groups (2nd in his section and 3rd in the Discus). Check out his State Meet Stats at: http://nj.milesplit.com/
2013 marks the 14th year of the Down Under Games. I checked the winning throw from the 2013 Down Under Games Shot put competition – Spencer could win the Shot Put and you would have helped a World Champion Achieve!
Below is a Sponsorship for in PDF format. What I’m asking you to do is do what you are able to help. If you have, belong to or know someone in a corporation or group that would be willing and able to sponsor Spencer in his Quest, please forward them the attached PDF Sponsorship form. I also urge people to visit the site: http://www.downundersports.
Whether or not you choose to forward this, contribute or do nothing with it; my son and I would like to thank you for your time and support. If you have any other additional questions, do not hesitate to contact me either via e-mail or phone.
Wish us luck!
Martial Arts & Kettlebell Master, Phil Ross becomes a Certified Bodyweight Specialist. In the first ever Bodyweight Strength certification conducted by Master of Sport Pavel Tsatsouline (the man responsible for bringing Kettlebell Training to the US), held in St. Paul Minnesota October 13th and 14th, some 60 participants were in attendance. The students were training in the progressions of mastery of the Bodyweight Strength Development and Master Phil Ross was one of the 15 participants to pass the exam and receive certification upon the course completion, earning the title of Bodyweight Strength Specialist. Master Ross, getting set to celebrate his 50th Birthday this October, was the only participant over the age of 40 to receive certification. He will be launching his “Fit and Fifty” program and posting YouTube clips adding more training tips to his active Phil Ross channel
Below is a write up regarding some training benefits from the training:
Naked Warrior Certification/Workshop: Phil Ross, RKC Team Leader, 8th Degree Black Belt
The workshop consisted of an incredible amount of extremely useful strength and balance developing techniques as well as strategies. The progressions to the specific tasks were particularly relevant because you are gaining useable, practical, applicable strength while you are learning strength skills. Some people may never be able to execute a one arm push-up, pistol, an L-sit pull-up or handstand push-up, but they will achieve significant strength gains and improve their lives through their strength practice.
People may think that if they can’t do a one-arm push-up, there’s no need to train in this fashion. That would be akin to telling a runner not to run, because they will never be able to run a sub 10 second 100 meter sprint. Nonsense, incredible strength and body linkage is developed with body weight training and that results in improved performance in strength, kettlebell training, weight lifting, sport, martial arts and daily life. If a student is able to perform a pull up and 20 two-legged squats, they will certainly be able to carry a bag of groceries up a flight of stairs.
Results are achieved by consistent, intelligent training patterns. Exercise discipline in your training. Build slowly and do not skip any level of the progression. That may result in “gaps” in your strength and prevent you from attaining the highest level of proficiency. Achieving real strength does not occur overnight, it’s a process. Quick gains lead to injury and rob one of their potential. Strength is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a long process, but the results can last a lifetime!