Bret Contreras is a pretty smart guy. He's one of those strength coaches that practices what he preaches. He's got the real world experience to go along with the Master's degree from Arizona State.
Although Bret is mostly known for being the go-to guy for women looking to add some size to their glutes, he's done a TON of EMG research.
A while ago, Bret did some work and found which exercises utilize the lower abs, obliques and lower back to the greatest extent. Here's what he found:
|Just another reason to do chin-ups ladies.|
For lower abs he found that chin-ups beat out every other exercise in muscle activity! Can you believe that?! But you have to do them with correct technique. Basically keep a straight line from your shoulders to your knees, keeping your lower back from hyper-extending.
He found that Turkish Get-Ups (TGU) also had the overall highest levels of combined activation for lower abs, obliques and low back extensors.
In summary here is the best Ab-blasting circuit to really give your abs a good workout. You'll see it works other muscle groups as well, showing that isolation may not be the best formula for abs.
- TGU x 5 each side
- Chinup x max -2 reps
- Body saw (think slideboard ab slides, or stability ball roll-out) x 12
- Kneeling cable lift x 8 each side
In the Hi-5 FitCamp we've done all of these exercises. But we've never done them back to back to back in a circuit. I smell a challenge!