Abdominal Economics: How to
train your abs when you have no time!
By Zach Even-Esh
When you’re short on time, there are a
few things you never want to skip out on, and one of those
“things” is training your abdominals.
I am always short on time, but I know the importance of
having rock solid abs that can stabilize my core under heavy
loads. If you’ve got weak abs then it’s only a matter of
time before you get injured performing heavy strength
And, in case you didn’t figure it out yet, you need to train
heavy to pack on muscle, it just won’t happen training with
Instead of skipping your abdominal workout when you’re short
on time, you’re going to choose movements that strengthen
your abdominals tremendously while you perform your strength
Let’s take a look at a full body workout that you can crank
out in 15 – 20 minutes while working your abs throughout the
1) 1 Arm Dumbbell or Kettlebell Clean & Press: Perform this
exercise for 2 – 3 heavy sets of 3 – 6 reps. Work your way
up to these 2 or 3 heavy sets with warm up sets. This is a
full body movement which will work your abs in several ways:
- Your abs will need to contract aggressively when the
weight is held at your shoulder (rack position).
- Your opposing side (the non weighted side) will have to
work in a stabilization manner to avoid getting pulled over
to the side from the heavy load you are holding.
- Your abdominals will once again have to stabilize when the
weight is locked overhead for a brief pause.
Look at Olympic lifters and you will often see that their
abdominals are extremely rugged and strong looking, and this
is very often without ANY direct abdominal training. Their
abdominals get worked fiercely while holding barbells in the
rack and overhead position, as well as during intense
contractions before exploding with a lift.
2) L Sit Pull Ups – begin your
pull ups by raising your legs parallel to the ground. Now
keep your legs in this position the entire time as you
perform pull ups for max reps. If the straight leg version
is too difficult, then lift the knees as high as possible
and keep them there. You can even add ankle weights for a
great load on the upper body and the abdominals! These are
very demanding and will also force you to slow down the
speed of your pull ups. Performing the pull ups too quickly
will cause your legs and upper body to sway excessively
which is you want to avoid.
3) Farmer Walks – This is an amazingly powerful movement
and can be performed with any object in your hands: farmer
walk handles as shown, kettlebells, dumbbells, buckets of
pea gravel / sand, sandbags in each hand, or you can make
your own handles using PVC Pipe and chains looped through
the pipe and some Olympic plates.
There are a few variations for the basic farmer walk:
A) Walking in a straight line
B) Walking zig zag
C) Using only one hand at a time
The zig zag farmer walks simply
require a few cones or some markers to walk around. The
turning forces the abdominals and obliques to work very
intensely during the turns. If you decide to use one hand at
a time, your opposing side will be working very intensely
just to keep your body from falling towards the loaded side.
You can’t go wrong with the above 3 movements. You can see
that there is absolutely nothing fancy to the workout, but
I’ve seen powerful and fast results come from this style of
training: Lean gains in muscle, stronger abdominals, rapid
fat loss and improved strength.
In a nutshell, here is your short workout, allowing you to
work your entire body in a manner that builds muscle, saves
time, and works your abs heavily and intensely.
1) 1 Arm Kettlebell or dumbbell clean & press: Build up to 2
– 3 heavy sets in the 3 – 6 rep range. Rest periods are only
what is required to grab a heavier weight. Perform your
non-dominant side first immediately followed by your
dominant side for equal reps. Grab a heavier bell and go
2) L sit pull ups – Perform 3 sets of max reps on every set.
Rest 45 – 60 seconds between each set and change your grip
every set as well.
3) Finish your workout with 3 sets of the farmer walk. Your
first set will be a medium set to get you prepared for your
next 2 intense sets. The distance should be anywhere from
100 – 200 ft. A more advanced individual can carry a heavier
load for longer distances with correct technique.
Of course, you should do some direct abdominal training in
your overall program, but, workouts such as the one listed
should be performed with regularity since they are the ones
which will develop thickly developed abdominal muscles as
well as adding muscle to your body extremely fast.
I have seen rapid results in fat loss and muscle gain when
our athletes utilized these methods in their training with
regularity. Now it’s your turn to benefit greatly from these
methods as well!
About Zach Even-Esh
Zach Even-Esh has been involved in strength training, wrestling and other combat sports for over 16 years. During this time Zach obtained a BA in Health & Physical Education and an MA in Health Education. Zach was part of the first group in the world to become an IYCA Youth Conditioning Specialist.
Zach is an acclaimed speaker and author, having presented at Ryan Lee's Boot Camp, Perform Better Seminars and at numerous wrestling clubs through out NJ. Zach is the author of the Underground strength training book, The Gladiator Training Manual, he is a regular writer for TapouT Magazine and Men's Fitness Magazine.
Training combat athletes is a passion for Zach & he only allows the most dedicated athletes to participate in his programs. His clientele consists of high school & college athletes, MMA fighters, Military & Law Enforcement personnel. Some of these individuals have dominated national competition in their sport!
Visit Zach online at:
www.UndergroundStrengthManual.com and find out more about UNDERGROUND training methods - such as Kettlebells, Logs, Kegs, Odd Objects, Ropes, Sandbags, Sledgehammers, Sleds, Stones, Tires - even Cars, and be sure to grab your FREE Underground Strength Course at www.UndergroundCombatTraining.Com and see how Zach uses innovative training methods to develop granite hard bodies that are as strong as they look!