Description: Using the abdominals to lift the whole body
Motions trained: Torso flexion, lowering the arms
Main muscles used: Abs
Other muscles: pectorals, lats and shoulders
How to do it:
You lay flat and grab onto something solid over your head. Since
your full bodyweight will be acting against this, it must be solid (You can use a partner's
ankles if they weight at least as much as you. If they are smaller, you will launch them right
on top of yourself.) Think of having someone who has a rope attached to your center of gravity.
They will pull and your hips will lead the action with your legs as the load. On the way
back, don't drop your lower body but lower it again, with the hips leading.
How to work up to it: Have a partner straddle you, put a towel under your hips and
have him assist you, then do negatives. Maintain form. The very first time you try these do them
with assistance! These are downright evil and you can completely rip an abdominal muscle. Don't
count on getting these right off the bat. Try to do candlesticks then negatives to work up to
it on your own. Partners are good since they will spot your form.
Another way to work up to this is by doing what are known as candlesticks.
Lie on your back with your hands palm-down on the floor under your butt. Lever your legs
up to 90 degrees. Then push your feet towards the ceiling, straightening your body out
into a shoulder stand. Reverse the motion. (The vagaries of digital cameras in low light
account for the final picture. That is after posting on the way down, your body should be
completely straight with toes at the ceiling.) The hands on the floor provide stability.
Ramping it up: Uh, this one doesn't need ramping, but if you insist...
do it plyometrically.
Don't come all the way to the floor, but reverse direction near the bottom and do
likewise at the top. Be sure you have good form, since the momentum of the lower
body is apt to have your legs all over the place.
Do's and don'ts: Don't bend at the waist. Maintain form.Do really
extend your toes towards the ceiling at the top. Having something soft under you
is a good idea.
I managed to replace a couple of hundred situps
a day by starting to do these. Abdominals are mostly fast twitch muscle, so they respond better
to exercises like these rather than endurance exercises like hip repitition situps.