Athletic training for weightlifter Part 2 – Abs and Core stability
Even if it’s still a little cold, the summer is just around the corner and therfore the wish for a nice defined and toned body as well. A sixpack is great to look at, but the look plays a minor role for a weightlifter. Much more is the functionality of the muscle important.
The core stability is a significant and decisive factor for the competition exercises, snatch and clean and jerk, so as for every complementary exercise. The most athletes fail a front squat or a clean per example, not because of the lack of strength in their legs, much more because of the lack of stability in their core. To contract the muscles of the core is mostly quite difficult for athletes, that is the reason why it is so important to train your core and your abs specifically. The first exercises which mostly come up thinking about training your abs are sit-ups and crunches. But those both exercises shouldn’t be your first choice, just because they are not really effective improving your core stability. Those both exercises only train the muscles isolated and don’t address any of the surrounding muscles.
The goal should be to train the interaction of the back-, hip- and gluteal muscles to earn a higher level of stability in the body midsection. Additional is the rounding of the back a side effect which gets often criticized because there is a lot of pressure working on the intervertebral disc.
As already mentioned in part 1 of this series, there is no such thing as a secret exercise or newly invented training method. The best and most effective way is to stick to the basics and train them regular and intensive.
1. Toes to bar
Toes to bar is also an exercise of the youth sports program of the national association of German weightlifters. The only equipment needed is a rack or a bar on which you can perform pull-ups. The athlete uses the upper grip at the bar and extends the legs. The whole body is under tension while lifting the feet up to touch the bar. This happens without any kind of „kip“, different from the similar exercise performed at CrossFit. This is supposed to be a strength exercise without any momentum.
Recomended are 4-5 sets with 12-15 repetitons after the regular training .
Almost everybody already performed a plank, that is an isometric exercise holding the body completely under tension. The interaction of the three abdominal muscles so as the muscles of the lower back encourages the stability of the core.
As a beginner 5×1 min is enough. To upscale the difficulty of this exercise you can extend the length of the time or put some weight on your back.
3. The windscreen wiper
The lateral abdominal muscles are very important for weightlifter and should be trained well. The athlete lays with the back on the ground, the legs are extended and positioned in a 90 degree angle to the body. The legs move from one side to another and are slowed down right before touching the ground. The slow down is controlled by the lateral abdominal muscles. Recommended are 3-4 sets with up to 20-25 repetions. This exercise should be performed slow and controlled.
Those three exercises are great for a circuit training. 4 Rounds of the recommended repetitions are done in about 15 minutes. There is no further equipment needed except for the rack.
Who not only wants an improved core stability, but a viewable sixpack, is encouraged to eat healthy. The saying „abs are made in the kitchen“ definitly contains a lot of truth. There are still no new tricks to get a defined and toned stomach in just a short period of time. Only a clean and healthy lifestyle in addition to effective and regular training ,results in sucess.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Crossfit and weightlifting athlete