When you think of Ab training, you mostly hear about crunches and little side bends and mostly isolating the Abs with little rockers and machines. This is not real world Ab strength training. Our body’s core is all the muscles of the Abdominals from below the breast line all the down just to the top of the sexual organs.
A lot of people think if you want six pack abs you need to do this many crunches, eat less, do 100’s of side bends and whatever crap that others come up with. Not saying a six pack isn’t a bad thing but really what does it really matter when you have a washboard stomach that can’t take a punch and your organs aren’t strong enough to hold off diseases? Karl Gotch once put it that there are two types of muscles for an athlete or bodybuilder and that “Conditioned Muscle” & Counterfeit Muscle.” These two variations have obvious statements but let me clarify a little, conditioned means that it’s strong, can take a lot whether in a workout or a fight, it’s useful, functional and the organs are strong, counterfeit means basically it looks awesome but than no further than that as you can have great development but that won’t amount to anything if you’re prone to injury.
Real Abdominal training comes from training the entire body as a unit while keeping a major focus on the Abs. If you look back over 100 years ago, the old-time strongmen had some of the most powerful Abs on the planet. Men like Otto Arco, Maxick, Sandow, Farmer Burns and others all had what would be called punch-proof Abs. Their developments were off the charts and this was long before machines and gadgets. They developed this kind of strength and power by utilizing Muscle Control, full body training, Gymnastics, various sit-ups and Deep Breathing. They became so strong that would be able to handle certain feats that were beyond their own bodyweight. This type of training didn’t take hours a day and never isolated yet some of them had muscles that are still better than the bodybuilders of today.
One of the true kings of Muscle Control was Otto Arco of Poland. A master of abdominal training that had the ability to wrestle, lift heavy and was one of the purest acrobats in the world at that time. Many came after him but there is only one Otto Arco and unlike bodybuilders today, Arco not only looked incredible but had pure strength and power to back it up. For one of the first 3 men in history to lift overhead double bodyweight it was a real feat to be reckoned with. The ability to control any part of his body was a sight to be hold and very few then can match and chances are slim to none no one can match him today.
Another facet of phenomenal Ab Training is the Bridge. To most the bridge is either a neck, back or a shoulder exercise but really it is an exercise that works the core to a level unlike any other. If you don’t have good solid strength in your abdominals, the bridge will be difficult to do. Holding a posture is one thing but to do lethal and acrobatic maneuvers is a whole different ball game. Ever heard of the burpee? I’m sure you have, it’s a staple of conditioning that’s practiced in many areas but what about the Bridge Burpee? This makes a regular burpee look like a cake walk as you fall into a bridge either on the hands, head/hands or head alone and you kick over and back, if you’re really athletic you would do this then stand back up. A good bridge builds functional and powerful abs and with power of deep breathing, your core will be difficult to hurt.
A key ingredient in all of Physical Culture is one of the most neglected forms of modern training and that’s learning to breathe. We today take our breathing for granted but what if I told you that your breath is the source of all your power and strength. Breathing gives us life. We can go long periods of time without food or water but we can only hold our breath for only a few minutes before we start to give out and die. The number one secret to true core strength is in how you breathe.
You don’t need the skills of a gymnast or the body of bodybuilder and neither do need to have the skills of a wrestler, all you need is a few minutes a day of working your body as a unit and focus on the abdominals. Muscle Control is a healthy practice as it teaches you how to use your mind and body’s connections and with basic gymnastics that anyone can learn from a humble beginner to an advanced athlete. The stronger your core inside and out, the stronger your whole body will be. Learn to take control of your body and your strength & fitness will skyrocket to levels you can’t imagine.