4 Ab Exercises That Don't Suck
The secret to abs is that there is no secret to be found anywhere at all. Great abs, which I liken to the big, blocky variety (for the fellas, naturally—let us go with delicately trimmed for the ladies) are the results of (1) a low enough body fat percentage and (2) an amply muscled midsection. In other words, great abs are chiefly a function of the following inputs (1) caloric restraint, (2) metabolic efforts, (3) heavy ab work.
And here again rolls in the same old chestnut. But I welcome it warmly, as I do all truths, no matter how cold.
Because here’s the thing, really. If you want to rise above average then you must be willing to do the things the common stock are not, able enough to do them, and unapologetically industrious in your doing of them. Anything else invariably results in a reversion to the mean. And only the losers have a central tendency.
The Hanging Leg Wiper
Hanging Leg Raise
The Narcissist's Pre-Workout:
Kettlebell Workout of the Week Episode 70
Entering the gym, I chugged behind some brute like a loose caboose. After a few clicks I detached and glided over to the kettlebell rack to work what sits a few scoops below.
There I performed the fundamental pre-workout ritual of any narcissistic human being: to look hard into the mirror until utterly exhausted of the subject matter—this activity, you should know, averages 7 minutes. Afterwards, and only afterwards, do I find myself in a state favorable for bodily exercise.
One of the more curious trends today is this idea of sensibleness. Some may call it reasonableness. Others may call it feasible. But I mostly call it a waste of one’s time.
Of all my proudest accomplishments, few—and I mean a very narrow few—were brought about through reasonable means.
The reverse is true too, and Lord knows whenever the Holy Spirit sees fit to inflame me, I’m known to pull real some crazy shit. And so, many who know me call me crazy, fanatical, obsessed. But these words, really, are just what most losers use in attempt to describe habits largely foreign to them: such as persistence, commitment, dedication.
By now, you might well know where this diatribe is heading.
Leanness—and I’m talking super-leanness, like the leanness you see in the picture of me above—has scarcely ever been achieved through anything that the common man would describe as reasonable. Frequently, I find it labeled absurd, ridiculous, outrageous. But hardly reasonable.
Here, I now feel somewhat obligated to mention that most folks do in fact need a reasonable approach. Otherwise, they will not adhere. And in the long run, the person who trains and eats reasonably for an extended period of time, will at all times experience superior results than the person who trains and eats unreasonably very briefly. But this point I believe is so plain that I refuse to elaborate on it any further. Dan John wrote an excellent piece
on this not too long ago. I highly recommend reading it.
This post today, however, is not for most
people. The average person, however wonderful they may be on the inside or otherwise, quite often and quite simply lacks the tenacity to wrestle with the immensely onerous. But this is no concern of mine, as I do not solicit the patronage of the average
person. My readers have all been to school, and understand the facts remain the same: if you wish to rise above, then you must do what most others do not.
Here are some of those things (truth be told, I don't find any of this all that unreasonable):
1. Cut carbs down to 100 grams a day or less
2. Consume the majority of your carbs from nutrient dense veggies
3. Consume the majority of your carbs post workout.
4. Train regularly in a fasted state
5. Train regularly at a high intensity
6. Move frequently at a low intensity
7. Eliminate all sugar from your diet (with the exception of some fruits and veggies)
8. Eliminate all grains from your diet
9. Eliminate all industrial “vegetable oils” from your diet
10. Eat plenty of lean protein sources
11. Eat plenty of essential fats
12. Don’t ever eat anything with the word corn in it. Including corn.
13. Eat organic
14. Occasionally fast for a full 24-32 hours (once a week is a good start)
15. Eat less frequently (3-4 meals a day is plenty)
If you would like further clarification on any of these points please let me know in the comment section. Please post any questions you may have there too.
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Personally, for those of you who care about my personal affairs, I eat, on the main, two meals a day.
I eat a lot of eggs. I eat a lot of bacon. And I watch a lot of Matlock.
The two former keep me fit; the latter happy.
And I think, for those of you who care about what I think—which I hope there to be at least two of you—that with only a handful of exceptions, most people’s remediable health issues could be easily remedied by following a diet that contains no unnecessary meals and by eating meals that contain no unnecessary foods.
To keep this simple, let us say that an unnecessary food is any food that does not promote a healthy gut and a healthy hormonal response. To briefly illustrate this point let us rail against Goldilocks and her imprudent taste for porridge.
Whether the porridge be too hot, too cold, or just right, I don’t give a damn, because porridge is pointless, which is to say that there is nothing worthwhile found in porridge that can’t be found elsewhere for less carbs and less calories.
I will talk more on this some other day, but not today, because I’m frankly just not in the mood to talk about porridge. What I’d like to speak on is feeding frequency, and specifically address the question of “how often should we eat?”
The answer—out of respect for brevity—is not often.
Krampus eats only once a year and seems to be in fine form
I sing the gospel of infrequent feedings and fasting, because eating frequency (how often we eat) dictates whether we age like fine wine or a bin of fruit, and if you are interested, even slightly, in self-preservation, then you ought to generally eat less; and by less I don’t always mean less calories—although that is sometimes the case—what I mean to say is less often
The evidence supports my sermons. Pay attention now to how feeding infrequently slows the aging process and promotes successful aging
. Pay closer attention even to how eating less often, not eating more often, slays body fat
and surges natural human growth hormone
Now, if the business of burning fat and building muscle intrigues you, then promises of surging growth hormone should excite you. So Pat
, you might now ask, how many meals a day is ideal
? I’ll venture the suggestion that three meals a day is serviceable
, but if you want to be like me—which is to say (INSERT YOUR OWN COMPLIMENT HERE)—then eat two. For seven bonus points, mix in a full 24 hour fast in once a week. For twenty three bonus points, follow The Birth of a Hero
Now my critics, who customarily lack any sort of intellectual decency, will cry “blasphemy(!)” from the rooftops when they hear the ringing of this tune—as most fools from the prairies do when they find themselves in over their depth.
These folk are too busy with their forks to practice any sort of intellect, and are left with no other alternative than to subscribe to conventional wisdom, which holds that if you fail to feed every twenty minutes or so, that “your metabolism will slow down.”
There is no more a fatuous delusion than this, and my advice is that the ignoramuses that sing this gospel are best served ignored, as my evidence and experience blasts their buffoonery.
It had to be done. Not sorry.
Aside from chopping fat, food abstinence may also aid in constructing muscle—if you so let it, which is to say that fasting
, even short term fasting, improves insulin sensitivity
and potentiates the muscle building mechanisms, which in itself is to say that fasting makes it possible to gain lean mass more efficiently
What is more, is that fasting and reduced meal frequency seems to encourage the growth of new brain cells
. Is this to say that there is hope yet to elevate the collective IQ of the human race above 16? This I doubt, but fasting may prove to be a useful device to ward off the odds of developing Alzheimer’s or some other form of neurological hiccup down the line.
There is a crowd, and it seems to be a growing one, that bashes fasting, and they are, for the most part, a disorderly bunch of nincompoops. I have found that those who dismiss fasting, for the most part, have done so not because fasting doesn’t work, but because they lack the discipline to make it work.
This is a common theme amongst simpletons who yet again get in over their depth—to declare anything that is beyond their depth to be simply nonsense. Nonsense I tell you.Again, thank you for reading today. I like to talk about this stuff so please drop any questions or comments you have in the comment section
A Few, Brief, but Exciting Announcements
I have some exciting new launches planned for this month, so keep your eyes peeled over the next two weeks.
I have put together a full online 21 day body transformation program (nutrition and programming) for the new year, and thanks to the results of the recent Survey Monkey that you all participated in (you did participate...didn't you?), I have begun to compile a "Best Of" mini-eBook that I plan to launch before or around Xmas.
In honor of the Christmas spirit, I would like to give away one copy of each of my new products.
For a chance to win, just leave some love in the comment section. Or some hate, if you must.
I will choose two winners at random on Sunday evening!
[NOTE: The following is a rant from Pat Flynn. Please do not read if you cry easily, lack any sense of humor, or are downright unable to handle the truth.
However, If you consider yourself an open-minded and seriously awesome individual who wants the truth with no fluff, filler, or BS – then this post is for you!]
I love the freakin’ kettlebell. It is after all, my primary training modality. Is has always served me well – as a loyal and mostly obedient creature.
What I don’t love, and what annoys me to no end – is when folks try to tell me that the “kettlebell is just a tool” – like that actually means anything.
And no, it’s not just “how you use the tool that matters”. That fails to recognize that in some circumstances, certain tools are a hell of a lot better than others. It doesn’t matter how you use a hammer to dig a hole. Because no matter how you hold it or swing it; a hammer still flat out sucks for digging a hole. It sucks even worse for trying to drive a golf ball (especially if you already suck at golf…).
While I have a deep infatuation with the kettlebell, I have no problem admitting that it has it’s limitations, and that in some contexts it may very well be an inferior tool to use. That being said –any tool’s effectiveness is relative to the task you are using it for and the individual performing the task. In some cases one tool may be a lot better than another and vice versa. For now on anyone who says something is “just a tool” - is officially a tool.
The following are just a few of my observations on the effectiveness of the kettlebell for certain tasks (for MOST individuals):
The Kettlebell for Increasing Limit Strength
This all depends on the lift and the individual…
Is the kettlebell the MOST effective tool for increasing your limit strength on the deadlift?
Eh, not really. Especially when compared to a barbell. The swing and other dynamic hip dominant movements with a kettlebell may help to “fill in some of the blanks” and in turn up your deadlift. So in an auxiliary sense the kettlebell may be an effective tool to help increase your deadlift. But as a stand-alone tool, don’t expect to ever be able to pull as much weight off the ground as you would when training appropriately with a barbell.
Is the kettlebell the MOST effective tool for increasing your limit strength on the military press?
Arguably, yes. Not many folks, especially men of a lighter (and often leaner) nature cannot already press two 48kg kettlebells overhead. I’m one of those men. So for me (note: a huge deciding factor as to whether or not a certain tool is most appropriate will depend on YOU and your current abilities), the kettlebell is still an effective tool to use for working on my overhead limit strength – assuming I have a reason that I want to improve my overhead limit strength (but for simplicity’s sake, let’s just say that I do). Furthermore, in most cases, the unilateral nature and offset center of gravity of the kettlebell makes it easier to maintain proper shoulder position when pressing weight overhead than most other training implements. The barbell, in particular, is a nasty little bugger to get overhead without compromising some aspect of your form.
Is the kettlebell the MOST effective tool for increasing your limit strength on the Squat?
Comparing apples to oranges here. The kettlebell front squat, particularly the double kettlebell front squat, is a very different beast than the barbell back squat, and even quite different than a barbell front squat. If your goal is the squat the heaviest possible load – then the barbell will almost always trump the kettlebell. But like I mentioned before with the swing, kettlebell goblet squats and front squats may serve as a useful auxiliary lift to help “fill in some of the blanks” an in turn give a bit of a bump to your back squat numbers. Again, this will depend on the needs of the individual and it’s not to say that you can’t develop a strong squat with double kettlebell front squats. You most certainly can - and for a lot of folks, backsquats may be out of the questions or even entirely inappropriate depending on their goals. Like I said before, everything is contextual. It all comes down to what are you working for and what is most appropriate for YOU.
I could continue this list for any and all lifts – but I’m sure you can see where I’m coming from by now. In terms of being the most effective tool for increasing your limit strength on the big lifts, the kettlebell will typically (not always, but typically) fall short of the barbell. And it really all comes down to the fact that you can load more weight on a barbell then you can fit inside of a kettlebell. But then again, (playing devils advocate with myself) what about for somebody who is just starting out - who doesn't already have a solid strength foundation? Well, in that case, then the kettlebell may very well be the most appropriate tool to use. It always depends on the individual, and what it is that they are trying to achieve...
The Kettlebell For "Strength-Endurance"
I don’t understand why “strength-endurnace” has gotten such a stinky reputation. Yes, increasing limit strength will often spill over and increase your strength endurance and rarely is the reverse true. But, training strength endurance (higher reps) is quite effective for maintaining healthy joints and toughening up your connective tissue and passive structures. Furthermore, training “strength-endurance” leads to increased contractile proteins (myosin and actin) and increased efficiency of contractions (meaning you become more efficient at a movement)!
Don’t let anyone tell you that training strength endurance is “bad”. Bad in the context of freaking what??? If you are working on increasing your limit strength, it may not be the most effective way to train ALL of the time – but even when chasing maximum strength, many times an individual may greatly benefit from some strength endurance work. Everything is contextual. Nothing is ever just “bad” or “good”. Except for the “butterfly pull-up” that they do in Crossfit. That is bad. All the time. I don't care what you are trying to do - nothing is worth destroying your body over. Well, I guess that is just my opinion. But I'm sticking to it!
I mean, just look at it… (Thank’s to Chris Foehl for putting his rotator cuff on the line…)
And yes, the kettlebell is often a fantastic and unrivaled tool when it comes to developing strength endurance. I’m sure you are familiar with the kettlebell swing by now. It’s an effective tool/movement for learning how to generate power from the hips, as well as for training “strength endurance” throughout the posterior chain (the back and health of your spine particularly benefit from strength endurance work). Good luck trying to swing a barbell between your legs, and if you’ve ever tried it, then you know a dumbbell is wholly ineffective as well (especially once you start getting heavy with it).
The Kettebell for Fat Loss
I’m going to sort of reverse this one on you all a little bit. Let’s first start with what type of training is best suited (in most circumstances) for rapid and SUSTAINABLE fat loss – then discuss why the kettlebell lends itself so well to that type of training.
Ceteris Paribus (including “proper” nutrition) - in my experience (and I know more than just a thing or two about fat loss), metabolic conditioning via kettlebell complexes has been hands down the most best training methodology I have ever used for fat loss. It is both highly effective (moves you closer to your fat loss goals than most other methods) and highly efficient (quite economical with regards to how little time is actually required).
Really???Really. CLICK HERE
(and go about 1/6 down the page and watch the video) to learn exactly why metabolic conditioning is so ridiculously effective for fat loss.
: Yes! Another shameless product plug! You don’t have to buy my Birth of a Hero metabolic conditioning eBook. But it’d be sweet if you did – especially if you want to turn heads on the beach this summer, and help me feed my St. Bernard puppy Lola! Or, if you already have it, tell everyone else how much you love (hate, but hopefully in a “good-hate” kind of way) it in the comment section)
The kettlebell lends itself beautifully to metabolic conditioning, due highly in part to compact size of the implement and the fluid nature of the movements – which grants you the ability to seamlessly switch between muscle groups and energy systems. Can you perform complexes with a barbell. Absolutely. Are they as effective for fat? I don’t see why not! Are they as sexy? No.
I mean, look how good Chris Foehl looks as I put him through The Great Destroyer (one of the many harrowing complexes found in the Birth of a Hero
So what you really have to ask yourself is – what am I training for and what is the most effective approach to take or tool to use? You also have to objectively evaluate your current situation. A 575lb backsquat may sound like a sexy way to bulk up your quads (or entire body for that matter) – but are you really cleared and/or able to do a 575lb backsquat? Some say that heavy kettlebell presses with a controlled negative and strong focus on lat engagement will help build you a stronger pull up. I agree, but is it really a more effective approach than actually training pull ups?? I can tell you that the press has certainly helped my press (and to a certain extent my pull up as well - due to the synergy) – but it isn’t pressing that has been the most effective tool for helping me to develop my current goal of obtaining a one arm l-sit. It’s practicing the one-arm L-sit that has been the most effective tool for helping me develop my one arm L-sit. Sometimes it’s that simple. Sometimes it’s not.
Lola likes ice cream... (cheat day of course!)
PPS - Leave some love in the comment section. I may have a few swag bags to give away!
John sportin some COS SWAG
We all know that abs are forged as equally in the kitchen as they are the gym. Which is why it is imperative that you implement the Metabolic Reset Protoco
l along with your FVT or metabolic conditioning program
.But that's not to say that all core exercises are created equal, as this is simply not the case!
The selection process was not easy. But what I have come up with are what I believe some of the most tried and true movements for not only carving out a ripped midsection, but developing a strong and functional core as well
Let them harp on flexion all they want! I don't subscribe to the notion that lumbar flexion is "bad" for us. Indeed there are plenty of better alternatives than performing flexion work from a position in which your sacrum is locked (ie the ostracized crunch or sit up), the likes of which you will see below.
The problem isn't with training flexion and linear ab movements (which are the most tried and true way for developing a chiseled mid-section), but rather with ONLY
training flexion and linear ab movements.
As I have discussed before the primary purpose of our core first and foremost is "anti" everything
. Anti-flexion, anti-extension, and anti-rotation. Most humans need more core stability not mobility!
-- I can't say I know anybody who lacks mobility in their lumbar region...
That's why in this video you will see traditional linear ab work, rotational ab work, but also all of the "anti" work as well.
From hanging leg raises, to windshield wipers, to rack hold - you wanted the best, you got the best!
Oh, and for idea's on implementation, check out the entire day devoted to core training in our Force Velocity Training eBoo