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Weights and ab exercises

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Old 04-30-2012, 10:31 PM   #1
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Default Weights and ab exercises

What is the proper way to lift? Should I be doing two sets of 8-12 reps at a challenging but doable weight, or a weight that is extremely challenging but with only one set of 5 to 8 reps? When do I move to a higher weight?

Right now, I start at a tough weight and do two sets of 8 reps, then every week I add an extra rep to each set until I get up to 2 sets of 12 reps. Then I add 5 lbs and start back at 2 sets of 8 reps. But if I'm doing it wrong let me know.

Next, with abs, I am moving away from crunches and doing planks instead. Man, they are tough! As I get stronger, should my aim be to hold the plank position for longer periods of time, or should I do more reps for the same length of time? I have been keeping one plank but moving from 10 seconds to 30. But maybe I should be doing 3 reps of 10 seconds, then increase the number of reps?

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Old 04-30-2012, 11:07 PM   #2
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My Trainer said crunches cause disk problems, and planks can cause longterm lower back problems. Most people do them incorrectly, their backs are arched and their core is not engaged e.t.c. Good luck and be careful
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:08 PM   #3
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So what do you do for ab exercises if the two biggies, crunches and abs, are dangerous?
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:21 PM   #4
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There is honestly no need to do targeted ab exercises if you're engaging your core when you lift, like you should. I RARELY do them, and I have abs for the first time in my life.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:25 PM   #5
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I go to kickboxing workout classes and the last 10 min. are always a combo of sit ups and planks - the biggest/best plank moves are holding for 30 sec, then a leg tap to the right for 15 sec [back and forth], then the left.

The other is a "clock" - you start in plank, then move your arms from 12 to 3 o'clock, hold, then back. Don't move your legs. Otherwise, instructors always have us do bicycles. Just a few suggestions.

I would also suggest doing superman's to work the lower back - you should always work both - you can google a video on them to make sure you are doing those correctly.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:26 PM   #6
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There is honestly no need to do targeted ab exercises if you're engaging your core when you lift, like you should. I RARELY do them, and I have abs for the first time in my life.
How do you engage the core when lifting?
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:53 PM   #7
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How do you engage the core when lifting?
Barbell Squats, Deadlifts, Military presses... pretty much any freeweight lift you do is going to engage your core.
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Old 06-30-2012, 02:12 AM   #8
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But planks are great for your core. Do them. Work on increasing the length of time you can hold them. Start with 30 seconds and work up to 120 seconds.
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Old 06-30-2012, 02:22 AM   #9
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But planks are great for your core. Do them. Work on increasing the length of time you can hold them. Start with 30 seconds and work up to 120 seconds.
Yes, Planks are awesome!!! There's just no need to do 800000 crunches or situps. Those are really horrible for your spine, anyhow .
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:06 AM   #10
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You can also do plank push ups where you go from plank, lower one forearm to the ground, then the other, then one arm back up straight then the other. About 5 or so usually do me in. And side plank is good too. Works on core and balance.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:09 AM   #11
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Give Pilates a try. There classes, there dvds. Pilates is tough and it builds your core and increases general strength and stamina as well.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julesbond007 View Post
My Trainer said crunches cause disk problems, and planks can cause longterm lower back problems. Most people do them incorrectly, their backs are arched and their core is not engaged e.t.c. Good luck and be careful
Do you mean to say planks are okay as long as the form is correct?
What do you mean by "engage"?

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Originally Posted by ValRock View Post
Barbell Squats, Deadlifts, Military presses... pretty much any freeweight lift you do is going to engage your core.
Do certain exercises (like the ones you mentioned) naturally engage the core, or are we supposed to somehow contract our core while doing strength exercises?

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Old 06-30-2012, 12:24 PM   #13
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[quote=beautifulone;4389169]Do you mean to say planks are okay as long as the form is correct?
What do you mean by "engage"? /[quote]

Planks are EXCELLENT so long as the form is correct. (This is true of all weight lifting exercises--good form is important.) Just keep your back flat and your core engaged and you'll be fine.

Engaged means 'in use'. Sometimes you have to mentally focus on the muscles you're trying to work to make sure that other, less ideal, muscles aren't jumping in to take over. In a plank, you want most of the work to be coming from all the muscles in your abdomen and lower back.
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