What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.COM. So, we’ve been talking a lot about mobility
lately, and this being a Washboard Wednesday, we’re going to talk about it again. But we’re going to identify two common problems
that a lot of people will get a lot of times when doing ab exercises and that is they’ll feel either tight or sore in their
hip flexors or they’ll get low back pain. And the common root cause of both of those
things is actually possibly your abs. You see, a lot of times people will look at
where the symptom is and treat the symptom, ie, they’ll stretch their hip flexors out
and say, ‘God, I’m not getting any better.’ Or, they’ll stretch their low back out and
say, ‘God, I’m not getting any better.’ But, if you want to train like an athlete, if you
want to look below the surface, as a Physical Therapist, that’s what I have to do in order to earn
a living, we’ve got to look a little bit deeper. We have to find what the root cause is, and
the abs can absolutely be the cause of both of those issues. And a matter of fact, they could be playing
a large part in creating a vicious cycle to make that problem even worse. So, how does
this all happen? Well, the first thing that we have to understand
is that our body really wants to create stability through our spine. Our spine is the most important
structure in our entire body. We know that injury to the spine can be debilitating.
So, if our body is out to protect the spine at all cost, it’s going to enlist stability
and the help of other muscles to do that. So, our abs and our core are one of the biggest
areas we have to be able to provide the stability that we need against potential harm to our
spine, but guess what? A lot of us don’t have really strong cores.
And if we don’t, we’ll start asking for help in other muscle groups, and that happens most
often in the hip flexors. The hip flexors because of their attachment
to the lumbar spine, they run all the way up through our body and attach to the lower
5 vertebrae of our spine. That will provide us with some stability from
the bottom up, and again, through the low back right to our lumbar spine. So we will get stability of our spine, but
not with the muscles that we’re looking for in the first place. So, what’s the solution
here? Again, stretching the hip flexors? No. Because
the hip flexors need to be strong and on call all day long because your abs aren’t’ doing
their own job. So, then people finally might get to the bottom
of it and they’re told to go train their abs. What’s the problem there? You start doing ab exercises that contribute
more to the problem because 90 percent of ab exercises especially if done improperly
are going to overwork the hip flexors. So, I wanted to put together for you here
some options that you might have especially if you’re dealing with low back pain or you’ve
got those hip flexors on fire all day long. Here’s some ab exercises that you’ll be able
to do that will take the hip flexors right out of it and allow you to actually strengthen
your abs without further making this problem worse. Alright. Take a look at these exercises. Alright, first up is the Janda Sit Up. Now
this is one that we’ve used before in some of our other videos, and this is really a
classic example of how we can try to turn the hip flexors off. We know that there’s something called reciprocal
inhibition that if you contract a muscle on one side of a joint, we can actually try to
turn off the muscle that’s on the opposite side of the joint. And the easiest example and way to show this
is through our bicep. If we contract our bicep, our tricep has to relax in order to allow
the movement of the joint in this direction. Same thing here. If we contracted our tricep,
we’d have to have our bicep relaxed to allow the movement in the opposite direction. Well, we know that the hip extensors, and
the gluts and the hamstrings are going to work together opposite what the hip flexors
are trying to do. So if you can position yourself like I’m doing
here with a band anchored around a post, and contract my hamstrings and gluts, right, a
little bit, now we’ve got active contraction of the muscles
on the opposite side of the hip flexors. That should turn the hip flexors off. Now we can start doing our crunches so we
actually target the abs without allowing the hip flexors to dominate. Next up, another one we’ve been covering a
lot here lately we call it Gymnast Abs. And you can see, you get yourself into a Roman
Chair set up here or a Captain’s Chair set up, and all you want to do is support the weight
of your body by getting your arms outstretched and locked out. It’s ok to lock out your elbows
here. We don’t want to be working the triceps. So
get your arms locked out. Use the stability of your shoulders and now all you’re going
to do is just simply lift the pelvis back into a posterior tilt. You’re not lifting up with your hip flexors.
You can see it better when you come around the side here. I’m not pulling my legs forward
at all. All I’m doing is trying to tilt my pelvis
into a posterior tilt and lift the tailbone up towards the ceiling. Very, very easy to do and of course, it’s
going to work our abs tremendously without having to incorporate our hip flexors. We’ve got three options here that you could
use with a band. All you’ve got to do is anchor it to something sturdy and do the first exercise
that I’m showing you here which is a Pallof Press. So now we’re stabilizing on one leg. Yes,
we’ve got this other leg isometrically holding the hip flexor up, but we’re not doing any
real dynamic work there. We’re just holding it in position and the
real work is being done by the core to try to keep your body upright and stable as I
press the band up overhead. Again, not actively involving the hip flexors
in the movement just for the positioning here of the exercise. We can move and become a little bit more dynamic
by doing the Sledge Hammer Swings. Now we’re trying to actively twist and turn our torso
in the opposite direction of the band. Obviously, step out further and you get more
resistance, we’re going to work our abs here. You guys know how much abs are in control
of rotation, but our feet are planted firmly on the ground. There’s no active contribution here of the
hip flexors, at least dynamically. Again, stabilizing from below but not dynamically
working as they do in some other exercises. Finally we move on here to the Jump Out variation
of this which is just a little bit more dynamic and explosive, and the same thing applies. You’re going to keep our hands out in front
of your body. You’re working on the anti-rotation ability of our core, You’re going to jump out, try to stick that
landing without allowing the band to pull you back. Yes, you’re going to allow it to
go back. It’s going to want to pull back because it’s
eccentrically working our abs, but again, you’re keeping the hip flexors out of it. And next we have an exercise that a lot of
people don’t associate necessarily with a core exercise, but it absolutely is. Yeah,
it’s going to work your forearm and grip strength too, which is a bonus. But the thing here that we’re really trying
to focus on is controlling the stability of your core. Remember, it’s all about stabilizing
your spine. There’s nothing better here than a Suitcase Carry. Here I’ve got a hundred pound dumbbell on
my hand and I’m trying to walk with as straight of shoulders as I possibly can do. So I’m trying to walk here towards the camera
and then again away from you. The goal here is to try to keep my shoulders level. I’ve got a hundred pounds weighing me down
on one side. It becomes a bit of a challenge, but the only thing we’ve got that will help
us will be our spinal erectors and our core in front, our abs in front, and trying to pull us upright
and maintain that upright position. Obviously, the heavier weight you use here, the more
of a challenge. And finally we have a Side Plank Leg Lift.
Once again, we’re not involving the hip flexors here in the sagittal plane. We’re working a frontal plane motion here
that allows us to get our stabilizers working tremendously, hitting them from a different
angle. And now we get into a Side Plank. That could
be enough for most of you. But if you want to really add a challenge, try to lift your
leg up here as you’re seeing me do. That will actually make it much harder for
me because now I’m not getting the ability to push through into the floor with two feet
and two legs, but really just with that bottom leg which
makes it all that much more demanding for that lateral pillar strength on that bottom
side. So there you have it guys. There are some
ways for you to start training your abs especially if you’re somebody that’s suffering from some
of this low back pain when you’re doing your ab workouts,
or you’re just feeling real tightness through your low back every time you try to do more
traditional ab exercises. And again, I think it underscores a very important
point when it comes to mobility. Don’t just listen to what people say, ‘Oh my hip flexor’s
tight.’ ‘Stretch it.’ No. That’s not what you have to do. You’ve got to look a little bit deeper. Maybe
you have to start looking at muscles that are weak and that those other muscles are
kicking in and doing their job for them. So there’s not just a one common answer for
every single thing when it comes to mobility. You’ve got to be a little bit more specific
about that. Hopefully through these videos, you’re starting
to see that. If you guys want to start training with a system that uncovers and peels back
some of the layers, we don’t just go over the surface stuff to
give you everything else that everybody else has already given you. We try to help you train a little bit more
scientifically but at the same time, a lot more productively. That’s what ATHLEANX is
all about. +
If you’re looking for that training program that will do that, head to ATHLEANX.COM right
now and get our ATHLEANX Training System. If you found this video helpful, if you like
these Washboard Wednesday videos, make sure you leave a comment and a thumb’s up below And let me know what type of video you want
to see, and what other questions you might have,
and I’ll make sure I cover it here in another future Washboard Wednesday video. See you guys back here soon.