Top Ten Ab Workouts for Football

Top Ten Ab Workouts for Football

Whether you’re a football player or participate in another sport, strong abdominal muscles are essential. The muscles of the abdominal region–the rectus abdominis, the internal and external obliques and the transversus abdominis–help stabilize the body and provide a necessary layer of protection for internal organs. In a contact sport like football, strong abdominal muscles are vital to protecting the body.

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ABDOMINAL DRAGON FLAGS
This exercise was an integral part of former NFL running back Herschel Walker’s abdominal training program, according to MyFit.ca. It is performed by lying down on a bench or table on your back while holding onto the table with your arms above your shoulders. Use the muscles of the abdominal region to lift your legs, pelvis and torso off the table. Be sure to keep a straight line between your feet, knees, hips and shoulders as you lift your body. Continue raising your body until your hands, head and rear shoulders are touching the table. Walker’s training regimen called for three sets of 12 repetitions of this exercise. It is important to have a spotter when you do dragon flags, since you are unstable at the top of the contraction.

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CLEAN CRUNCH
The clean crunch is performed by lifting your feet off the floor and bending your knees at a 90-degree angle, according to ShapeFit.com. Rest your legs on a bench or table to help provide stability. Performing crunches from this position helps activate your transverse abdominus, and protects your lower back, the website notes. Keep your hands beside your head and exhale as you lift your shoulders, head and upper back off the floor. Repeat 12 to 15 times for one set. Perform two or three sets.

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LEG LIFTS
Lie on your back with both legs straight and both feet together. Lift your feet three to five inches off the floor and hold that position for 10 to 15 seconds. Be sure to keep both hands out to the side with your palms on the floor in order to provide stability for the exercise. Keep your knees straight and lift your legs high enough that your pelvis is off the ground. Use a slow and controlled movement to return to the starting position. Repeat 12 to 15 times for one set. Perform two or three sets.

Six-pack abs: we all aspire to have them. Many spend their entire life in pursuit of this elusive achievement. People spend millions of dollars on videos, gizmos, gadgets, shakes and pills that promise to help you fulfill this dream only to end in failure. So why is it so frustrating and difficult to conquer this Herculean task and achieve abdominal Zen?

I’m going to jump right into question and explain it the best that I can in layman’s terms. In addition, I’ll share with you three of my favorite core exercises that help me get my abs back when I need a tune-up and to keep them strong.

Many of you who work out have six pack abs right now, but you just can’t see them. Yep. To get your abs to pop out, you’ve got to decrease the amount of body fat that you have covering them. Fat over your abs is like trying to look at your stomach with a sweater on. You’re not going to see them. Your diet and what you do/do not eat is about 75 percent of the battle. I’ve noticed that when my body fat gets lower than 10 percent, my abs start peeking their head out. Of course the lower your body fat–but not below 4 or 5 percent–the more exposed your abs become.

This takes a lot of work, and many times I feel it is not worth it if you are like me and enjoy pizza and beer occasionally. You’ve got to live. I tell all my clients at Gut Check Fitness to focus on “fitness” and not on aesthetics. Let weight loss be a by-product of getting fit and having fun instead of making it your primary goal.

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When I broke the Guinness World Record for fitness, I didn’t even have six-pack abs, but could knock out 3,000 ab crunches without a problem. It’s your decision: drive yourself crazy trying to look good or have true functional fit abs that you can use daily?

These are my three favorite core exercises. They keep my abs in top-notch performance shape and can be done just about anywhere.

Weighted Sit-up

Your abdominals are just like any other muscle. They really need to be challenged to strengthen and grow. Find something to anchor your feet. I like to use a set of heavy dumbbells or something similar. Next, find a heavy object to place across your chest and do sit-ups while holding it as close to your chin as possible. At home I have a set of 77-pound dumbbells, a 115-pound Atlas Stone or 125-pound sand bag that I use. If I go to the gym, I opt for a 150 dumbbell. Of course I can only get about seven to 10 reps, but talk about work! Ouch! I can feel it tearing the abs down only to build them back up even stronger. You don’t have to use my silly weight, but find something that works for you. I try to do a couple sets–performed slowly–of about 25 reps.

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Hanging Knee Raise

Find a jungle gym or a pull-up bar. Grab hold with both hands and hang from the bars with your arms straight. Pull your knees up to your chest, pause and slowly let them back down. For best results, go slow and avoid momentum.

If you want to make things more difficult, you can try some of the advanced modifications I like to do. The first variation is to grab hold of the bar and pull yourself up until your eyes are in line with the bar. Hold this flexed arm position. Then, bring your knees up to your elbows, bring them back down slowly and repeat. For something even tougher, try raising your legs up until they are parallel to the ground without bending your knees. Try not to swing. These are very tough but very effective. If you can’t hold the bar, there are ab straps that you can use to help. I like to hold the bar because it works your grip strength too.

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Russian Twist

This is the last core exercise to round out my three favorites. I find it to be one of the most old fashioned, but also the most effective. Simply sit on the ground and, again, find something to hook your feet onto to keep you anchored. Lean back until you are in a half-way sit-up position. With your abs tight, rotate from side to side, slowly pausing when you reach the end of each rotation

I like to use a 40-pound dumbbell or a medicine ball when I do these. The added weight makes it more difficult and really works your core. Hold the ball or weight out and follow it with your head rotating your entire torso. Remember to breath and execute slowly. Try to get two sets of 20 reps. If you can, try performing these on an incline bench for a more advanced workout.

A strong core is essential to almost every active endeavor you do. I’ve used these three core exercises to keep me on top of my game for years. Even though a six pack does look nice, I prefer a strong functional core and enjoy different kind of six pack with a pepperoni pizza. Remember to be real, have fun and stay active!

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Football Core Exercises – Part 1

A key element that will greatly decrease 40 yard times and increase agility/quickness is consistent training and development of an athlete’s “core”. The “core” of an athlete is the muscles that consist of your abdominal, back and side muscles. These portions of your body have a lot to do with your ability to jump higher, run faster and be more agile. As a result, within the last 10 years NFL and college strength and conditioning coaches have focused more and more in “core training” in the off season and in season workout regimes.

Many of the ABS and core exercises that will be taught in this article come directly from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawk strength and conditioning coaches that were taught to me as I prepared in off season and in season workouts. Much of these exercises can be performed in a very small area, even your own bedroom, but to get the full benefit of each exercise it is recommended to do it immediately following your lifting workout.

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Abdominal Crunch

Lay flat on your back
Lift and bend your knees until your feet and knees are the same level
Place your hands behind your head
Lift your head and shoulders off the ground. This represents 1 repetition
Flex your ABS during each repetition
Twist Crunch

Start the same as an Abdominal Crunch
When lifting your head and shoulders off the ground, touch your right elbow to your left knee
Bring your neck and shoulders back to the starting position and then touch your left elbow to your right knee. This completes 1 repetition
Focus on keeping your ABS flexed during each repetition
Labor Crunch

Lay flat on your back
Bring your feet into your butt as far as you can and then spread your knees. (You should look like you are delivering a baby, thus the “labor” crunch)
Extend both arms and point your fingers through your legs
Lift your head and shoulders off the ground. This represents 1 repetition
Focus on keeping your ABS flexed during each repetition
Bicycle Crunch

Lay flay on your back
Raise your legs in a Abdominal Crunch position
Start with your right leg extended out and then bring your left knee in and touch it with your right elbow
Alternate and touch your right knee with your left elbow. That completes 1 repetition
This should imitate the motion of riding a bike, but touch the opposite elbow and knee on each rotation
Focus on keeping your ABS flexed during each repetition
Reverse Crunches

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Lay flat on your back
Raise your legs in an Abdominal Crunch position
Extend your legs out in front of you until your knees are straight. Keep your feet and legs 3-5 inches off the ground
Bring your knees all the way into your body. That completes 1 repetition
You can place your hands on the ground or behind your neck to balance your body
Focus on keeping your ABS flexed during each repetition
Leg Raises

Lay flat on your back
Extend your legs out in front of you until your knees are straight. Keep your feet and legs 3-5 inches off the ground
Raise your legs and knees high enough to where you lift your hips and butt of the floor. That completes 1 repetition
” Place your hands on your chest or extended out to your side to keep your balance. Do not put your hands underneath your butt! This will reduce the amount of strength your core muscles will receive when doing this workout…

Top Ten Ab Workouts for Football

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