Two Ab Exercises With a
Twist For Rock-Hard Obliques and Explosive Core Power
- By Nick Nilsson
The muscles of the abdominals are
always on the list of improvements people would like to make
to their physique. I've got two exercises that can help you
not only develop obliques that jump out of your abs and
but also help you develop rock-solid core power and
The first abdominal exercise is one that I call the
"Stretched Flying Cable Crunch." It is done using the Cable
Crossover machine. This exercise allows you to place direct
tension on the upper oblique area to sides of the upper
abs where the obliques form the "fingers" that truly finish
Start by attaching two single handles to the high
pulleys of the crossover machine. You will be using a
moderately heavy weight for the exercise itself but you can
start light to get an idea of the movement first.
Grasping the two handles, kneel down then walk a few steps
forward on your knees. As you kneel down, you will need to
rotate your shoulders so that your arms are being stretched
behind your back (your palms will be facing up in
this position). The reason you want to step forward a bit is
to get a better stretch on the obliques.
From this position, you can perform one of three movements:
a cable crunch straight forward, a side crunch to the left
or a side crunch to the right. The angle of the cables form
a direct line of pull for the obliques on the opposing side
of the body, e.g. when you side crunch to the left, the
right pulley has a direct line of pull on the left obliques.
I've found that a good way to execute this exercise is to
cycle between the three movements during the set - do one
crunch to the front, one to the left, one to the front, one
to the right, one to the front, one back to the left, etc.
This will give you a balanced workload on the abs. You can
also choose to just focus on the obliques by going back and
forth between the two sides.
The unique angle of tension from this exercise will really
place demands on the abs in a way that they're not used to.
The second abdominal exercise is a variation of an
exercise you may already be familiar with. The exercise this
variation is based on is commonly known as a "Cable Torso
Rotation." This variation takes this basic concept and
adds a unique twist that literally doubles the effectiveness
of the exercise.
This movement is done on a cable machine. If you have access
to a machine that has an adjustable height pulley, this is
the best option. If not, it will also work on either a high
or low pulley. The movement itself is exactly the same
regardless of where you pull from.
Set the pulley to about belly-button height (or use either
the high or low pulley) and attach a single cable handle to
it. Use a fairly light weight to start so you get an idea of
how the movement is performed and what resistance you'll
Stand perpendicular to the pulley with your left side
towards the pulley. Grasp the handle with your right hand
and take a step to the right. Plant your feet a little wider
than shoulder width apart and get ready to rotate. The
movement itself is very similar to a baseball swing, making
it a very effective sports-training movement not only for
baseball but from any sport that requires a powerful
transfer of force from lower body to upper body.
At the start of the movement, your right arm will be held
across your chest with your left arm at your side. Initiate
the movement by rotating your torso to the right. Be sure to
keep your elbow slightly bent and locked into position. If
you allow the elbow to bend, you will turn the movement into
a side row, lessening the effect on the obliques. Keep that
arm stiff and fairly straight!
When you start this rotation, begin bringing the cable
around in front of your body by pulling on the cable handle
with your right arm. Your right arm will come away from your
body as you rotate, placing more torque on the obliques.
Here comes the trick that doubles the workload on the abs...
As you start to approach the midpoint of the rotation, grasp
the CABLE about 6 inches from the cable clip with your left
hand. Do not grasp the handle itself with the left hand -
it's important that you wrap your left hand around the
actual cable for this to work. Read on...
In a normal cable rotation exercise, after you go past the
halfway point of the rotation, the tension on the abs will
start decreasing. The peak tension is at the halfway point.
We're going to fix that!
Once you've passed the halfway point of the rotation,
continue pulling the handle with your right hand but now
start PUSHING forward and away from your body on the cable
itself with your left hand. As a visual, think of the string
games that kids play such as the Cat's Cradle.
What you're essentially doing is creating a new fulcrum for
the tension of the cable to go through. Instead of losing
some tension around the arc as you normally would, you now
have direct tension on the abs again and in a
different way than in the regular rotation exercise. This
not only works the obliques on the pulling side with the
pulling motion, it also works the obliques on the pushing
side with a strong pushing motion.
The effect on the abs with this double movement is
tremendous! The next day you should have a very strong
feeling of tightness (and possibly soreness) in the
upper/side ab area.
If you think this exercise was good... and if you are tired of crunches, sit ups and leg raises, then wait until you see "The Best Abdominal Exercises You've Never Heard Of" e-book! Learn the secret to not only getting a flatter stomach, but also achieving mind-blowing, steel-girder core strength, while NEVER getting bored with your workouts again! Click the link below to get all the details
About Nick Nilsson
Nick Nilsson is Vice-President of the online personal training company BetterU, Inc. He has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been inventing new training techniques
for more than 16 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding eBooks including “Metabolic Surge – Rapid Fat Loss,” “The Best Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of,” “Gluteus to the Maximus - Build a Bigger Butt NOW!” and “The Best Abdominal Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of” all available at: www.fitstep.com
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