Vertical Core Work

So usually whenever we all do abs/core it’s something with crunches or a plank. Either way most of what we do it’s something on a horizontal plane. For the more advanced we add in decline crunches.

I throw this in from month to month and it’s nice to drop in something different. I’ll include the more advanced version that I commonly do and a beginner version for the less advanced.

Thank you to Bodybuilding.Com for their perfect breakdown and explanation of these exercises. Also the current Under Armour commercial featuring Michael Phelps is fantastic. Showing just a glimpse into the work of an Olympic level athlete is really cool.

Advanced (feel free to play around with rep ranges. If you can’t hit the range just do each till failure)

  • Roman Chair Leg Raises – 4 sets 20-25 reps
    • Body should be straight with your back firmly against the pad of the machine and the legs hanging down towards the floor. This will be your starting position.
    • As you exhale, lift your legs up as you keep them extended. Continue this movement until your legs are roughly parallel to the floor and then hold the contraction for a second. Do not use any momentum or swinging as you perform this exercise.
    • Slowly go back to the starting position as you inhale.
    • Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
  • Hanging Leg Raises – 4 sets 20-25reps
    • Hang from a pull-up bar with both arms extended at arms length in top of you using either a wide grip or a medium grip. The legs should be straight down with the pelvis rolled slightly backwards. This will be your starting position.
    • Raise your legs until the torso makes a 90-degree angle with the legs. Exhale as you perform this movement and hold the contraction for a second or so.
    • Go back slowly to the starting position as you breathe in.
    • Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions. Tip: use wrist straps to facilitate holding on to the bar.
  • Hanging Pike – 4 sets 20-25 reps
    • Hang from a chin-up bar with your legs and feet together using an overhand grip (palms facing away from you) that is slightly wider than shoulder width. Tip: You may use wrist wraps in order to facilitate holding on to the bar.
    • Now bend your knees at a 90 degree angle and bring the upper legs forward so that the calves are perpendicular to the floor while the thighs remain parallel to it. This will be your starting position.
    • Pull your legs up as you exhale until you almost touch your shins with the bar above you. Tip: Try to straighten your legs as much as possible while at the top.
    • Lower your legs as slowly as possible until you reach the starting position. Tip: Avoid swinging and using momentum at all times.
    • Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
  • Hanging Pike – 4 sets failure on each
    • Hang from a chin-up bar with your legs and feet together using an overhand grip (palms facing away from you) that is slightly wider than shoulder width. Tip: You may use wrist wraps in order to facilitate holding on to the bar.
    • Now bend your knees at a 90 degree angle and bring the upper legs forward so that the calves are perpendicular to the floor while the thighs remain parallel to it. This will be your starting position.
    • Pull your legs up as you exhale until you almost touch your shins with the bar above you. Tip: Try to straighten your legs as much as possible while at the top.
    • Lower your legs as slowly as possible until you reach the starting position. Tip: Avoid swinging and using momentum at all times.
    • Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
  • Dip Bar Leg Raises – 4 set
    • Hang from a chin-up bar with both arms extended at arms length in top of you using either a wide grip or a medium grip. The legs should be straight down with the pelvis rolled slightly backwards. This will be your starting position.
    • Raise your legs until the torso makes a 90-degree angle with the legs. Exhale as you perform this movement and hold the contraction for a second or so.
    • Go back slowly to the starting position as you breathe in.
    • Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Beginner – for the beginner groups just use the roman chair on all exercises for that added stability. Just go till failure on each set unless you can hit the recommended rep ranges above. For starters aim for the 12-15 rep range. If you don’t feel comfortable getting to 4 sets start with 2 sets and gradually work your up to 4 sets.

  • Roman Chair Knee Raises – 4 sets
  • Roman Chair Straight Leg lift – 4 sets
    • same directions just stay in the roman chair
  • Roman Chair Oblique crunches – 4 sets
    • The torso should be straight with the lower back pressed against the pad of the machine and the legs extended pointing towards the floor. This will be your starting position.
    • Now as you breathe out, lift your legs up and together driving both heels up and to the side.
    • Slowly go back to the starting position as you breathe in.
    • Repeat on both side for the recommended amount of repetitions.
  • Roman Chair Knee Raises – 4 sets
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