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Here is an ab routine that you can do in your home that will take just 4 minutes to complete. This is derived from Vince Gironda’s “Ring of Fire” ab routine. The purpose of this ab workout is to gain extreme neuromuscular control of the muscles of the core so that you can get them to participate spontaneously when needed (during other big lifts or while competing in sports).
The way this ab routine works is by starting with the easiest of the 6 movements to control, which is the top down rectus abdominus crunch. The goal here is to contract the rib cage towards the pelvis as hard as you possibly can. If you have good mind muscle linking of this area you should actually feel the muscles in your abs either cramp up or just feel an intense burn. This is a positive sign and one that you should be aiming for on each of the movements in this routine.
Next you move onto the lower abs by contacting the pelvis into a posterior tilt. The tension in the band that you create before each exercise needs to be maintained throughout as well. You basically want to be able to generate tension in your abs that ensures you have good voluntary control of the region. Aim for a 10 second maximum contraction in each of the positions demonstrated.
The next area to focus on is the internal obliques on your right side. This can be achieved by rotating your torso to the same side (to the right in this case). Squeeze your internal obliques as hard as you possibly can for 10 seconds and then immediately move right into the external obliques. Here you can rotate your shoulders in the opposite direction (to the left) to target the right external obliques. A small bit of side bending towards the right side will intensify the contraction even further.
Keeping this ab routine going, you have to make sure you do not forget about the importance of the back in attempting this complete core workout. The first up is the quadratus lumborum muscle. This is the area that sits right about in the kidney region. Lean back at an angle and hike up your hip on the right side to really contract this often overlooked but crucial core muscle.
Finally, finish out the first leg of this ring of fire ab routine workout by leaning back and contracting the lumbar paraspinals. This is your attempt to get the christmas tree action going on in your lower back and to get the muscular control over this often dormant set of core muscles.
From here, repeat the same exercises for 10 seconds each as you work your way back to the beginning. Immediately without rest, proceed to do all of the same movements on the left side (working to the back and then back around to the front). This entire ab routine will take just 4 minutes but it will burn a lot! The more efficient you become at contracting your core the more this will actually feel uncomfortable. If you really can’t feel the contractions then you need to work more on this until you do.
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