ab work

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pdellorto
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Post by pdellorto » Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:54 am

Peter Rouse wrote:EMG studies would disagree
How well do EMG studies reflect isometric strength?

If I, say, did some reverse crunches with an EMG hookup, it would show ab activation because I'm using my abs to roll myself up.

But what about if you hooked me up to an EMG while I was doing L-Pullups. I'm keeping my abs static, but it's the abs that fail on that exercise while I'm doing it. Would it show that?

I'm curious about how well EMG studies measure static vs. dynamic strength.


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Post by Peter Rouse » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:00 pm

pdellorto wrote:
Peter Rouse wrote:EMG studies would disagree
How well do EMG studies reflect isometric strength?

If I, say, did some reverse crunches with an EMG hookup, it would show ab activation because I'm using my abs to roll myself up.

But what about if you hooked me up to an EMG while I was doing L-Pullups. I'm keeping my abs static, but it's the abs that fail on that exercise while I'm doing it. Would it show that?

I'm curious about how well EMG studies measure static vs. dynamic strength.
Do you understand how electromyography works?

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Post by pdellorto » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:09 pm

Peter Rouse wrote:Do you understand how electromyography works?
A little. I know it measures the electrical signals in a muscle when it's activated or at rest. I couldn't perform a test, probably wouldn't have any idea how to run the analysis, either. But I think I understand the basics.

What I'm curious about is what the results show in a situations of clear isometric/static use of the muscles vs. active flexing/movement of the same muscles. That I don't know. Would you get more activation shown when you pick up your legs into a L-hang, or while you're hanging there?

Does it make a difference in terms of measurement of electrical signals if the muscle moves in the process or not? What little I've read about EMG studies didn't mention this. Maybe because it's totally obvious to scientists who run them, but it wasn't obvious to me.

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Post by frogbyte » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:40 pm

Peter Rouse wrote:
bob wrote:If you really want to develop a good core, the best way in my opinion is to do exercises such as squats, especially the front squat, and deadlifts. With good form of course. You can always do isolation ab work to define the abs, such as planks or stability ball oblique crunches to name a couple.
EMG studies would disagree
Disagree with his first sentence or his second sentence?

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Post by Peter Rouse » Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:51 pm

frogbyte wrote:
Peter Rouse wrote:
bob wrote:If you really want to develop a good core, the best way in my opinion is to do exercises such as squats, especially the front squat, and deadlifts. With good form of course. You can always do isolation ab work to define the abs, such as planks or stability ball oblique crunches to name a couple.
EMG studies would disagree
Disagree with his first sentence or his second sentence?
The first.


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Post by Jungledoc » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:24 pm

pdellorto wrote:
Peter Rouse wrote:EMG studies would disagree
How well do EMG studies reflect isometric strength?
Peter D-- EMG registers whatever activity is present. Even at rest there is a certain basal activity present, that increases gradually up to maximal.

The electrode is at a given point within the muscle, and picks up activity for a small distance around it. It is assumed that the activity measured at that point is representative of the muscle as a whole. So what it is really showing is how many motor units in the vicinity of the electrode are firing. Motor units have to be firing to maintain isometric contraction, and I assume that the level of activity reflects the resistance it is contracting against more than the amount of movement that results. In other words, if there is a larger resistance, more motor units must be recruited to maintain the position and so a higher voltage would be picked up by the EMG.

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Post by Ironman » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:00 am

I know for a fact squats and deadlifts give you more muscle fiber activation in the abs. I saw a paper on it. It was proven with proper experiments. I haven't been able to find it. I'm sure there are other people here that remember seeing though.

If you're nit picking about balance, then fine, throw in some single leg squats and deadlifts. There, all done without any conventional ab exercises.

Why do you think Andy Bolton has a belly like a gorilla? Because your abs have to be gigantic to squat more than half a ton.

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Post by KPj » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:46 am

See, I see 'abs' and 'core' as 2 different ball games. If someone's talking about 'abs', it's really quite simple. They either want to see them more, or they want them bigger. To see them more, get rid of some fat. As for getting them bigger? Squats and Deadlifts!

Training 'the core' is a completely different topic. The size or visibility of the 'abs' (a small part of the core) is an irrelevance. These discussions normally intertwine these 2 topics though, so it never really goes anywhere.

A better response, I think, when someone mentions this is, "so, are you talking abs, or are you talking about the whole core?". If they don't know there's a difference, then they'll learn something straight away.

However, here's an interesting approach. Let's just say Squats and DLs are the best exercises for increasing 'Ab' size. Therefore, they are superior to typical 'core' work like planks, roll outs, single leg stuff and Chop variations.

Well, all the 'core ' stuff will make your muscles work better together, and make both sides of your body work better together, which will enhacne your overall performance, and that should carryover to the squats and deadlifts... So you can improve your performance on 'the best ab exercises' by doing stuff that doesn't appear as good for abs. On top of that, you're far less likely to get injured if your train the 'core' properly.

There's really not a simple answer to anything. What's the best Pec exercise? What's the best trap exercise? Best back exercise? You'll never get people to agree. The answer is probably how you utilise a combination of options available to you. I mean, the laws of adaptation make these answers invalid anyway. How can Wide grip pull ups be best for my lats when I just adapt to the exercise anyway? They're not. But vertical pulling is.

To end my rant - I think people here the term "think movements, not muscles" and say, "ah, ok, that makes sense" then instead of writing down "chest/back", they'll write 'push/pull'. However, regardless of how they label their training split, they still think about things in terms of muscles.

I think most reading this thread think "my abs are a good size, I don't do any ab work, so squats and DL's work best". If you get away from that mindset, and think about movements, or function, you would think "well, i'm not doing anythign on one leg (single leg stuff), i'm not addressing each side of my core seperately (chops), I don't have anything that resists movement (plank variations and pallof press)".

KPj

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Post by pdellorto » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:27 am

Jungledoc - thanks for the explanation.

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Post by Ironman » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:34 am

Really there is no such thing as core in people. Apples maybe, people no. Core can mean absolutely anything. Is it all the ab groups, erector spinae, any lower back muscles and hip flexors? Is it more than that? Is it less?

Like I said do some single leg stuff and it should be covered. I don't really think it has anything to do with muscles. I haven't verified this, but I think it is all neural.

I'm pretty skeptical about anything regarding abs/core or exercises that isolate them. When people say core, that is usually their way of letting you know they are going to tell you a bull$h!7 story.

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Post by KPj » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:32 am

Well, Gray Cook defines the core as "everything from the knees to the chest". Really, it's your torso, but muscles that start at the hips finish at the knees, so from the knees up is included. Isolation and 'core' don't go together. Isolating loads of muscles is a contradiction in terms.

I think core's a good name for it. Core suggests 'center' of something. Or some kind of foundation. Since every movement you make starts from the spine, even if it's to stabilise your body before the movement begins, then I think it's very important. The problem is that people think 'core' means 'abs'. Not much riles me to the extent of someone discussing the best way to train your 'core' by using all these Ab exercises.

I also don't think it has anything to do with muscles. Well, not directly. That's what I meant with my rant - people need to get out of that mindset. I'm sure there's times when BB is your goal that thinking about individual muscles is a warranted. But in terms of PERFORMANCE, movement is everything. The core is crucial when you care bout performance, and not just looks. If you move properly, your muscles work properly, end of story. If you don't care about performance, then forget the core, but don't rubbish it just because people don't understand basic terminology.

Also, if you read any of Gray Cooks stuff, you'll find that everything is neural. Good performance/movement means your muscles work properly, but it's all controlled by the CNS via motor programs, and our habbits, beit in the gym or outside of it, directly influence these programs. IN his view, if there's faulty movement, then it's the motor pattern that's faulty, not necessarily the muscle(s).

Also, if one person reading this thread starts doing single leg stuff as a result of it, then I think we'll be rewarded in heaven for that. But, then you get back to this Sufficient Vs Efficient thing. Yes, single leg stuff covers most of it, but what about rotation? Or resisting rotation? i.e. chop variations, pallof presses, twists etc. Really, even at that, it's not complicated. It's basic primitive movements and comes down to throwing in a couple of exercises in here and there that address them.

KPj

p.s If it's something anyone wants to investigate further, then I highly recommend Gray Cooks "Athletic Body in Balance". Definitely one of the best books I own.

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Post by frogbyte » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:49 pm

Ironman wrote:Why do you think Andy Bolton has a belly like a gorilla? Because your abs have to be gigantic to squat more than half a ton.
It's interesting that you mentioned such an extreme example. I was thinking about this last night while doing dead lifts. It occurred to me that at more moderate weight your spine is able to support the weight easily, but as the weight becomes unusually high there is perhaps a structural support component that comes into play from the abdominal muscles? Ie, keeping the spine from hyperextending dangerously.

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Post by Ironman » Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:19 am

KPj wrote:Well, Gray Cook defines the core as "everything from the knees to the chest". Really, it's your torso, but muscles that start at the hips finish at the knees, so from the knees up is included. Isolation and 'core' don't go together. Isolating loads of muscles is a contradiction in terms.

I think core's a good name for it. Core suggests 'center' of something. Or some kind of foundation. Since every movement you make starts from the spine, even if it's to stabilise your body before the movement begins, then I think it's very important. The problem is that people think 'core' means 'abs'. Not much riles me to the extent of someone discussing the best way to train your 'core' by using all these Ab exercises.

I also don't think it has anything to do with muscles. Well, not directly. That's what I meant with my rant - people need to get out of that mindset. I'm sure there's times when BB is your goal that thinking about individual muscles is a warranted. But in terms of PERFORMANCE, movement is everything. The core is crucial when you care bout performance, and not just looks. If you move properly, your muscles work properly, end of story. If you don't care about performance, then forget the core, but don't rubbish it just because people don't understand basic terminology.

Also, if you read any of Gray Cooks stuff, you'll find that everything is neural. Good performance/movement means your muscles work properly, but it's all controlled by the CNS via motor programs, and our habbits, beit in the gym or outside of it, directly influence these programs. IN his view, if there's faulty movement, then it's the motor pattern that's faulty, not necessarily the muscle(s).

Also, if one person reading this thread starts doing single leg stuff as a result of it, then I think we'll be rewarded in heaven for that. But, then you get back to this Sufficient Vs Efficient thing. Yes, single leg stuff covers most of it, but what about rotation? Or resisting rotation? i.e. chop variations, pallof presses, twists etc. Really, even at that, it's not complicated. It's basic primitive movements and comes down to throwing in a couple of exercises in here and there that address them.

KPj

p.s If it's something anyone wants to investigate further, then I highly recommend Gray Cooks "Athletic Body in Balance". Definitely one of the best books I own.
Well that's a completely different story. If that's the core, then after you work your core, you have pretty much worked your whole body if you did it right. Almost my whole routine is core most of the time.

It's much more complicated in that there are more movements when it is defined like that. However just using free weights and training movements rather than body parts is all you have to do. So in that way it is very simple.

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Post by Ironman » Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:28 am

frogbyte wrote:
Ironman wrote:Why do you think Andy Bolton has a belly like a gorilla? Because your abs have to be gigantic to squat more than half a ton.
It's interesting that you mentioned such an extreme example. I was thinking about this last night while doing dead lifts. It occurred to me that at more moderate weight your spine is able to support the weight easily, but as the weight becomes unusually high there is perhaps a structural support component that comes into play from the abdominal muscles? Ie, keeping the spine from hyperextending dangerously.
No, actually it is all in place all the time. From the little kids to heavy weight power lifters. Your abs are always supporting you along with your erector spinae. There are several different parts to the abs, it isn't just the rectus.

That said, you do of course support more with the back in the squat, and the abs in the front squat. But you still need all for both exercises. All those muscles work together.

As the weight becomes heavier you feel it more. But the muscles work in the same ratio. At least they do if you don't have an imbalance.

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Post by KPj » Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:48 am

Ironman wrote: Well that's a completely different story. If that's the core, then after you work your core, you have pretty much worked your whole body if you did it right. Almost my whole routine is core most of the time.

It's much more complicated in that there are more movements when it is defined like that. However just using free weights and training movements rather than body parts is all you have to do. So in that way it is very simple.
Exactly. That's why I find discussing the 'core' in terms of Ab exercises just makes no sense at all.

Training movements rather than body parts is exactly it. The big lifts alone cover all 'body parts' but they neglect certain movements/functions. Single leg stuff takes it further, and then doing all the 'rotational stuff' and resisitnig movement takes it even further. Other than specific issues, not much else is needed. And it's not like you need to hit all functions at once, either. You just need get good at a function and maintain that. BB's generally don't care about function/movements, though, so they don't need to bother with stuff like that.

Personally, when writing my own routines, I think of 'core work' as things that address core functions that I'm missing on the other exercises, like resisting rotation. Or things that train my core unilaterally i.e. chops. But that's just how I think of it in terms of my own programs.

The point is what you said - it's just movements. When you think of it from that perspective, it actually is very simple. Lot's of seemingly complicated things become very simple when you just think about movements. When you think of it terms of body parts/muscles, it can't really make sense, or it would be very complicatedat best which i guess why people just classify core as ab work.


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