You’re probably at least familiar with popular athlete trainer Jeff Cavaliere, MSPT, CSCS, even if you don’t watch his videos regularly. Cavaliere owns the extremely popular channel Athlean X and although much of his content caters to the athlete (Hence the name ‘Athlean’ X), he gives lots of valuable information for anyone looking to improve their physique.
And he recently posted a video demonstrating 5 old school ab exercises that everyone should still be doing for an impressive midsection; with the help of Jesse (Production and content manager).
So, after Jeff and Jesse did their usual comedic skit to start off the video, the former explained why these exercises are so effective while Bartholomew Eugene III aka Jesse performed each exercise. And of course, you’ll see much more of Bartholomew’s posing throughout the video below.
Exercise #1 – The Dragon Thrust
This exercise is amazing for core stability and it’s opposite the plank but much, much more difficult while utilizing a lot more of the glutes.
To do it…
- Lie on your back and hold onto something behind your head for stability. Pull your legs toward your chest and either extend them up (beginners) or out (intermediate to more advanced) depending on your experience level. Use your glutes to stabilize your legs and slowly lower your legs down to take advantage of the eccentric component.
Exercise #2 – The Ab Scissor
This old school movement might get you some stares if you train at a fitness center but who cares if it gives results, right?
According to Cavaliere, the few great things about this variation is that it removes some load from the lumbar spine from having your legs straight since you’re using a bench, and this exercise prevents you from lifting your legs too high which will remove tension on the abs.
The ab scissor especially targets the lower abs although it works the entire abdominal section.
To do it…
- Sit on a flat bench and grip it behind your body for balance and stability. With your torso reclined, lift one leg straight up in front of you as high as you can while crunching forward as well. Alternate legs.
Exercise #3 – Seated Broomstick Twist
You’ve likely seen this exercise somewhere many years ago and maybe you even forgot that it ever existed since it’s rare to see it performed these days. But that doesn’t mean it’s not effective anymore because it’s a very beneficial oblique exercise.
To do it…
- Sit on the edge of a bench. Then, round out your thoracic spine which will allow for rotation in this area rather than from the lumbar spine which is much safer. Recline a little and you should also have some posterior tilt in the bottom of your torso as explained in the video. Squeeze your obliques and alternate twisting your torso so that your elbow moves down toward the opposite thigh each time.
This variation is a killer and you won’t be able to do endless reps either which is a good thing. Not to mention, you’ll protect your spine.
Exercise #4 – Single-Sided Dumbbell Carry
The 4th old school ab exercise that you should “still” be doing is simply picking up a dumbbell and walking around as long as you can while maintaining good posture. This will force you to use your core for stabilization and the prevention of lateral flexion.
Use a relatively heavy dumbbell that you can handle but which is still very challenging, and make sure to keep your shoulders and pelvis level until you can no longer hold the dumbbell.
Exercise #5 – The Captain’s Chair
The obvious beauty of the Captain’s Chair is that you can put much more focus into the actual movement rather than having to hold yourself up to do it; which poses additional challenges due to having to grip the bar and also preventing yourself from swinging too much.
You can do any leg lift variation effectively by utilizing the very valuable Captain’s Chair.
You can watch the video below and we’ve provided some details as well…
You may or may not have already been doing these excellent classics but at least you’ve been reminded of just how effective they are for your ab/core development. There are many great movements for the abs nowadays but sometimes going back to the basics is the best thing you can possibly do for your physique.