Monthly Archives: July 2013

All About Abs: ABS101 and Weekly Ab Workout

Rocking absBonnie asked me to put together a new weekly ab workout plan for her. Before I share the program I wrote for her, I wanted to explain why we need to do more than just crunches and sit ups – and why (and how often) we can do weighted and non-weighted exercises. After this short “class” you’ll better understand each muscle, how it’s worked and why we work it.

Welcome to ABS101. I’m professor Pfiester. 🙂

PS: I studied Exercise Science and a have degree in Physical Therapy. I am passionate about anatomy and love teaching.

Abs

flat stomachTransverse abdominals are largely slow twitch (slow to fatigue) muscle fibers needing to be work over a long duration with more frequency.

aesthetic purpose– compresses the abdomen (keeps your stomach flat)

six-pack absRectus abdominus has a strong fast twitch (fast to fatigue) component and needs to be worked both with high reps and frequency and with increased resistance with lower reps at least once or twice per week

aesthetic purpose – most commonly referred to as the “six-pack”, compresses and flattens the stomach region while adding definition and tone to the abdomen (even when you aren’t standing against a fence, lol).

Obliques 

Side PlankInternal Oblique, while still being largely slow twitch, internal obliques are comprised of more fast twitch fibers than the transverse abdominals.  To fatigue these muscles we need to work some days with High repetition, but we can not leave out the fast twitch, quick to fatigue, fibers which should be worked with higher resistance, lower reps, and less frequency.

aesthetic purpose– compress the abdomen during exhalation reducing the volume of the mid section for a tapered look through the waist.

Serratus_anteriorSerratus anterior (pictured right) originates on the surface of the 1st to 8th ribs at the side of the chest and inserts along the entire anterior length of the medial border of the scapula, and are mostly fast twitch muscles.

aesthetic purpose – adds definition and depth to the region lateral and inferior to the pecks the actual movements for our purposes are punching movements(scapular protraction) also overhead lifts, and strong scapular depression (like at the end of a dip)

obliquesExternal Oblique is similar to the internal oblique comprised of more fast twitch fibers than the transverse abdominals.  To fatigue these muscles we need to work some days with High repetition, but we can not leave out the fast twitch quick to fatigue fibers which should be worked with higher resistance, lower reps, and less frequency.

aesthetic purpose– compression of the abdomen and tapering on the lateral sides of the waist

NOTEThe right internal oblique and the left external oblique contract as the torso flexes and rotates to bring the left shoulder towards the right hip. For this reason, the internal oblique are referred to as “same side rotators.”  

Weekly Abdominal Workout Plan

4 Day Workout Program:
Do A OR B Workout 3 X a week and C OR D Workouts 1 X a week
Click on the exercise to view video instruction. 

High Rep Day

Improve resting tone, muscular tone, decreasing waist size, increasing definition.
REST: Recover for approximately 30 seconds between exercises.

(A)
25 reverse cross leg crunch left
25 Oblique Crunch left
25 side elbow plank hip pulse left (NOTE: don’t let your hip touch the floor like this girl does)
(repeat right)
X3

25 decline sit ups/25 decline crunch (super set)
X3

(B)
25 creverse cross leg crunch left
25 reverse cross leg crunch right
50 cartwheel with PVC (these are done much faster than the video)
25 reverse crunch (or roll up)
X4
25 ball pass (8-12lbs)
X4

High Resistance Day 

Build hypertrophy and definition of rectus abdominus and serratus anterior.
REST: allow for more rest/recovery between sets (1min)
(C)
15-20 Rope crunch
15-20 angled roman chair
15-20 hanging abs
X3

(D)
15 plate crunch
15 decline weighted plate crunch
15-25 abdominal machine (hammer strength)
X3

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Need To Workout, But Short On Time?

20130727_065902_resized copyHere I am, Saturday night, feeling pretty good and relaxed.

I started the day off with an amazing run (thanks to my new Polar RC3 Heart Rate monitor) with “Team Max“, washed my truck, did some laundry, spent some quality time with Bonnie and Marley at the beach – but, between the hellacious run this morning and the relaxing sun at the beach, I am just ready to crash.

Bonnie PfiesterSitting here thinking about my day, beautiful sunset and totally relaxed… HOLY CRAP, I FORGOT TO DO ARMS THIS MORNING.  What do I do?  Skip it?  Hit it harder next week?  Ughhh, I just got settled and I’ve had such a great day – and just the thought of another hour in the gym is killing me.

Still, I know I must go.  I have invested to much this last month to backslide now, and this whole week I have felt, and seen, great gains.  I hate this conundrum!  I’VE GOT A GREAT IDEA…

 “I am 100% sure I will not regret going…and I am also 100% positive I will regret not going.”

now is the timeI am going in, regardless of how I feel.  I am 100% sure I will not regret going to finish the last of my training this week, but I am also 100% positive I will regret not going. So, off I go.  I don’t want to compromise hitting arms, but I need to get this done and get home to finish enjoying my saturday night with no regrets.

My Story (the readers digest version)

steve pfiesterI’ve had epic workouts all week.  It’s now saturday, and I am short on time and very tired – BUT I really want to finish my regiment to keep up the pace and be ready for a bodybuilding show in 4 weeks. I’ve made up my mind that I will leave this instant before my stupid brain justifies staying home any longer.  When I get to the gym I will crush my arms relentlessly for 15 minutes, super-setting  between biceps and triceps.  Ten rounds on each muscle group.  30 seconds on and only 10 seconds rest to switch to the apposing muscle group.  Back and forth for ten rounds.  By the time I’m finished, 11 minutes and 40 seconds will have elapsed, I should have a pump that makes Arnold look like an Olson twin.  Just kidding big guy.  🙂

My Routine

max fitness clubPick two exercises that you can execute or be ready to perform about 15 repetitions in 30 seconds with only ten seconds to set up and start each round going back and forth from biceps to triceps.  At my gym “MAX FITNESS“, we have a “preacher curl Hammer Strength machine” right next to a “Hammer Strength dip machine“.  I set my interval timer for 30/10 at 20 sets.  1 round of preacher followed by 1 round of dips with only 10 seconds of rest and repeat that superset for 10 total rounds of both exercises.  I keep track of rounds by throwing a close by 5 pound plate on the ground after every round.  If I don’t,  I will lose count and do too many sets, or worse, too few.

steve pfiesterI made up my mind that I would set the weight where I could get close to 15 reps the first few sets and I wouldn’t decrease resistance as long as I stayed above 8 reps.  I was able to continue with 15 repetitions of dips for the entire 10 rounds but my biceps fatigued quickly.  By the 4th set of biceps I dropped the preacher curl resistance by 10 pounds just to get 8 reps.  Again at round 6 I had to decrease the biceps resistance even more, and again after the 8th round. Finally I see 10 five pound plates (my markers) on the ground and I know I have finished this lightning fast, crazy intense routine.

As I am walking out to my truck, I realize that was more burn, more intense and created more of a pump than other  great workouts I’ve had that lasted an hour.

Moral of the Story?

Don’t lose your momentum just because you are short on time.  Every rep is an investment into the next workout.  Don’t throw your hard work away!

Arms On Fire WORKOUT

 

Shoes News

Reebok Sub Lite Running ShoeI was so excited about this mornings run in my Reebok Sublite Duo Run‘s that I had to mention them.  A brutal 5 and 1/2 mile run up two steep causeways in the crazy heat.  I thought for sure my body would give out, but I was surprised how well my knees and low back held out for such a long and intense run.  I really believe it was my shoes. I’ve run in different shoes before and had aches and pains on much shorter runs. Thanks Reebok!

#LiveWithFire
#TeamPolar

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Fitness Vomit or Workout Program?

workout at homeWith the onset of online fitness enthusiasts, and the quest for more knowledge, I’ve noticed more workouts shared online now than ever. And, unarguably there are a lot of great “workouts” available by both professionals and fitness enthusiasts that are taking the time to post some killer workouts.  Enough of the politically correct niceties… here it goes!

No matter how amazing a workout seems, a single workout is not purposeful unless its used correctly in a program.

hammer and nailA workout is like a tool in a tool bag. A hammer is useless without a nail and a piece of wood.  But even a hammer, nail, and wood are just a bunch of “construction vomit” unless you have an idea, or desire, to build something.  The more grandiose your goals of construction, the more tools (workouts) you will need. I’ve seen lots of hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches, thrown together into a bag of tools with no idea, if any, of what the builder even wants to build.

nail gun failThe next analogolitical /ano:log:itical/ (yes, my new word) idea is knowing how to use the tools properly so you don’t waste your wood. At 43, it is a bad idea to ever do that. If you don’t use your hammer properly you can bend a nail in the wood, not only will you never reach your goal, you can injure yourself or injure someone else in your quest.  A perfectly good hammer (workout) is dangerous,or even useless if you aren’t taking your time to learn your craft.

PROGRAMMING

love handlesAfter you develop some goals (what you want to build), look at what materials you have to work with.  Some things I hear are “I’m too fat”, “I’m too skinny”, “I have no cardio”, “I’m not flexible”,or “uh-uhm… I’m all the above”  Make sure you have the right tools, or workouts, for the right construction materials and a reasonable goal of what you want to attain.

Old_bookYour workouts should be a journey that lead you to reaching your goals.  The individual exercises in a single workout are like words in a paragraph. The way you pair your exercises together in a workout are comparable to a finished paragraph. What body parts you do together, and in what order each week, are your chapters. How you change and arrange your training and rest days to reach your final goals, is the novel that we call your goal.

If the chapters are randomly thrown together the story will make no sense. If the words on the page are just 5 and 6 syllable words that you can’t understand, how will they ever tell a great story?  Thus, they are nothing more than “literary vomit”.

Anyone who has ever worked out can put a single workout together by picking some tough exercises, decreasing the rest time, and turning up some angry grunge music – but to what end? Is this leading us anywhere long-term – or is it just meant to blow off some steam and carbs for an hour or so????

GOOD, BAD AND UGLY  

p90xA great example of an outstanding program is P90X; it has a method to its madness. The training is methodical, scheduled, and so are the rest and recovery periods, as well as the eating. This example has every tool you need to attain an amazing physique in 90 days. However, the same company produced “Insanity.” What a tough and incredible workout – and Shaun-T is a great instructor. The programing, however, is “vomit”. The idea of “let’s take the hardest exercises and throw them together into a video that kicks butt, but takes us nowhere specifically” = VOMIT.

insanityNow, to use insanity as a hammer with some other tools and materials would be profoundly useful. However, in and of itself, its just a hard workout – and if that is all you do as a “program” it would be like reading the same paragraph in a book over and over and expecting a different ending, or trying to build a skyscraper with just a hammer.

My point is this (and don’t hate), if you are showing up for your “workout of the day”  and not getting the long term results you want (especially with your physique), maybe you should question what direction that specific program is taking you if any, or find out how to use your existing program in a more purposeful way. Because, even if you are getting stronger or your cardio is improving, but it isn’t helping you reach your main goal (which, for most of us, is to also improve your physique), then maybe you need to tweak your program or change it altogether.

Looking for a workout program to follow? Subscribe to DualFit.com and join my newest online 4-week daily workout plan – great for  both guys and girls and requiring minimal equipment so you can do it at home or the gym. 🙂 Recruit some friends and I’ll be posting a launch date for peeps to all start together!

DualFit 4-Week Workout

Burpee and Swing Suicide

Steve PfiesterHere’s a tough conditioning circuit you can add to any strength or cardio workout to take your training up a notch.

Burpee and Kettlebell Swing Suicide 

1 Burpee & 1 Kettlebell Swing

2 Burpees & 2 Kettlebell Swings

3 Burpees & 3 Kettlebell Swings

…continue until you reach

10 Burpees & 10 Kettlebell Swings

By the time you are finished, you will have done 55 Burpees and 55 Kettlebell Swings!

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