“All things being equal,
the simplest solution tends
to be the best one.”
—William of Ockham
There is something really great about accomplishing things without thinking too much. Let’s face facts, life is hectic, people have a million thoughts running through their heads and sometimes the last thing that people want to think about is what their workout plan will look like. Not to mention the fact that people have bills to pay and deadlines to meet. Luckily, you can still get strong abs on a budget. In this article we will review different ways to get strong abs with less money and less time.
What’s all the confusion?
There is so much advertising and propaganda out there with workouts that is not even funny. Have you ever noticed that almost every week there is a new “killer abs” workout. Yet with all of these workouts, does anybody get any results. Nope! Remember, journalists, just like everybody else need jobs too. So any chance that they get to write a new sexy story that will turn heads and raise eyebrows, then they will do it. This goes into the fitness industry as well.
Have you ever seen old time strongmen? They didn’t have any fancy “abgizmo 5000” and they got strong and shredded abs. How did they do it? Good old fashioned hard work.
Simple Doesn’t Equal Easy
Hard work. Every time you mention that word to anybody you will see their face turn pale. When I first started out as a trainer, I tried to sell my training services under the premise of hard work. Do you know what happened? I got virtually no clients. The few clients I did get got incredible results. In fact, they got such good results, that people from all over the gym were asking them how they did it.
Ok, enough ranting. Let’s get back on track.
If you look at most of the equipment out there that claims to train the abs, it is probably a waste of money. The abs primary function is to stabilize the torso. You don’t need any fancy equipment to figure this out. In fact, next time your out driving and your car is pulling your body when you take a turn, try resisting the pull by sitting up straight. You will feel this in your abs.
Since you now know what the abs are responsible for. It time to apply this to your workouts. The ironic truth is if you are already doing squats, deadlifts, presses, bench presses, pull-ups, dips, etc. then you are already training your abs. These exercises are all part of any great strength training program. So if you are not already doing them, make sure you start.
Strong Abs On A Budget
The good news is that contrary to popular knowledge, you do not have to do thousands of crunches every day to get strong abs. You just need one simple piece of equipment. The Ab Wheel.
Yes. This little piece of equipment, cost around 10-15 US Dollars and has done more wonders for my abs than any crunches ever will. The best part is that aside from working your abs, it also works the entire upper body as well. The most common exercise you can do with this device is the ab wheel rollout.
This exercise requires the body to be kept in a rigid straight line throughout the entire movement. Therefore, the abs have to work hard to support and maintain that straight line. The lats and arms have to do their fair share of work as well.
To perform, grab the ab wheel and lower your body with slightly bent arms. try to go as far down as you can while maintaining perfect form. Eventually you want your chest to come all the way down to the floor so you can progress to tougher variations.
Low Back Issues
Whenever I mention the ab wheel to someone, the first thing I hear about is lower back issues. The ab wheel rollout, when done correctly, does not cause any lower back issues. So the first thing to assess is form. If the form looks good but you still feel pain, then we will have to modify the technique a bit.
Gymnasts use a technique called hollow body, in which they round their upper back in order to engage their entire anterior chain (abs) for the gravity defying movements that they do. We will apply this technique to the ab wheel to prevent back pain.
To apply, simply round your shoulders and upper back before you initiate the exercise. As you lower yourself down, squeeze your abs as hard as you can. When you reach the bottom, keep squeezing your abs and imagine that you are trying to push your hands and knees through the floor to bring them together. This will force the abs to contract and take the pressure off of the lower back.
You can also try performing extending planks as well. Extended planks help to train the bottom portion of the ab wheel rollout, which is quite often the part that most people have trouble with. I go into more detail on this exercise in my article How Beginners Should Train Pushups.
Keep It Simple
Just doing ab wheel rollouts 1-2 times a week for a few sets of 5 reps is a good way to start. Whenever people try a new exercise, they get so excited from the quick progress made and as a result they go overboard and overtrain that exercise. When you are in doubt, just remember, keep it simple.