Grind-Style Chest and Triceps : Strength phase exercises for the flexion chain

Grind-Style Chest and Triceps : Strength phase exercises for the flexion chain

    Grind-Style Chest and Triceps : Strength phase exercises for the flexion chain

    I always recommend starting light with these exercises, especially if you're
    finding your abdominal tension control is somewhat lacking. Poor flexion
    chain tension control is easy to work around with a compromised exercise
    technique. A lot of people and even many athletes, can do advanced core
    exercises, yet they hardly feel it in their abs due to the compensation of other
    muscles.
    Always remember that muscle tension is what makes your workouts
    effective, not whether or not you can move your body in an advanced way.
    An "easy" exercise that fills your muscles with tension will always be
    much more effective than an advanced exercise that uses compensation.
    That's why I encourage you to practice whatever level of exercise you feel
    your abs working the most. You also shouldn't feel your lower back straining
    whatsoever. Low back stress is surefire sign that you're overloading your abs
    with too much resistance, and there's not enough supportive tension in your
    core.

    Level 1 Hollow body hold

    The hollow body hold is an excellent tension control exercise, and it's very
    easy to adjust the resistance on your core muscles.
    The easiest level is to crunch your shoulders up while tucking your legs
    toward your chest. This technique is a similar position to the cat position only
    now you're fighting against the pull of gravity to create resistance.
    You won't be moving because this is an isometric exercise, but you can
    elongate your body to increase the resistance on your core muscles. You can
    stretch out with your legs, arms, or both. In either case, keep your abs tense
    and your lower back flat on the floor. Make sure your abs are rock solid as
    you extend your body by moving at your hips and shoulder joints.
    Key points
    Keep your abs tight, so your lower back is pressed on, or close,
    to the floor.
    Be sure to maintain a stable core with your lower back on the
    floor.
    Do your best to breath as smoothly as possible. You can use
    shallow breaths, but make sure you don't hold your breath.
    Pull your toes up toward your shin to maintain tension along
    your shins and quads.

    Level 2 Knee raises

    This level is one of the best ways to learn how to maintain abdominal tension
    while moving your legs. The bent knee position offers a light level of
    resistance while moving your hips through a modest range of motion.
    I recommend letting your heels "kiss" the floor, so you know you're using a
    consistent range of motion without letting your feet rest on the floor. When
    you pick your knees up, try to curl your pelvis up as if you're trying to pick
    your tailbone up off the floor.
    Key points
    Pull your toes up and flex your legs to ensure you have tension
    flowing throughout your full flexion chain.
    Keep your feet and knees together, so you're not lifting one leg
    faster than the other.
    Tuck your shoulder blades down and back to provide additional
    support for your spine.
    You can further progress this exercise by lifting your tailbone
    slightly off the floor at the top position.

    Level 3 Straight leg raises

    The straight leg raise is essentially the same technique as the knee raise but
    with an increase in both resistance and range of motion. Both of these
    progressions are going to make it more difficult to maintain tension in your
    abs, especially at the bottom of the rep when your feet are closer to the floor.
    Once again, I recommend letting your heels kiss the floor and even use a 1-2
    second pause at the bottom to limit momentum and improve tension control.
    This pause is also a powerful way to prevent yourself from developing
    compensatory habits that make the exercise easier.
    Key points
    Remember to breathe smoothly through each rep and avoid
    holding your breath at the bottom position.
    Do your best to not kick your legs up in a fast motion, so you
    don't use momentum to make the exercise easier.
    Only lift up until your legs are perpendicular with the floor.
    Moving your legs further back uses gravity to pull your feet
    behind your hips. It's not a bad technique; there just isn't much
    resistance on the flexion chain against gravity past that point.
    Keep some tension in your upper back to support your torso. It
    may be helpful to keep your hands by your side with your palms
    facing up.

    Level 4 Foot suspended plank

    Now things are getting fun! This level starts to make use of the Grind-Straps
    to add some new spice to the classic plank exercise.
    Straps elevate your feet, which makes your core parallel to the floor and
    increases the resistance against gravity compared to a regular plank where
    your torso is at more of an incline.
    Second, the straps remove some of the friction support your feet have when
    they are on the floor. Reducing the friction support means gravity is going to
    try to make your feet and hands spread out and you’ll need to keep your abs
    tight to pull yourself together.
    Key points
    Start with your knees on the floor and your feet in the straps.
    Place tension in your abs and slightly arch your spine as you
    would in the cat position of the cat cow exercise. Lift your knees
    off the floor to add the resistance.
    Do not continue if you feel a strain in your lower back. Stress in
    the low back is a sign your abs are not holding enough tension to
    support your lumbar spine.
    Push your hands forcefully into the floor, so your shoulder
    blades protract forward. This pushing motion will improve
    abdominal support and shoulder stability.

    Level 5 Strap knee tuck

    The strap knee tuck is both a great mobility exercise and strength exercise in
    one. The trick is to be mindful of the height of your hips during the exercise.
    Your goal is to extend your hips as much as you can when your legs are out
    straight, but don’t let your hips sag. From there, tuck your knees as close to
    your chest as possible while crunching your abs. Pause and squeeze your
    muscles for a second or two and then return.
    You can also adjust the resistance of this move by lifting your hips as you
    pull in. The more you raise your hips, the more resistance you'll create
    against gravity.
    Key points
    Move in a smooth motion to prevent too much momentum and
    excessive sagging at the end of each rep.
    Pause for a second in the tucked position to clench and tense up
    your abs.
    Keep your feet together to avoid moving each leg at a different
    rate of speed.

    Level 6 Strap knee tuck with a body saw

    No matter how strong your abs are, this technique will make your abs sore for
    days first time you practice it. This exercise combines the mobility and
    strength challenge of the knee tuck with the searing muscle intensity of the
    body saw, which is essentially an advanced plank.
    Perform this move just as you practice the knee tuck only when you
    straighten out your legs, push yourself back several inches. This backward
    shift will create a tremendous amount of leverage on your entire body and
    require a lot of core strength to prevent your hips from sagging. Move back
    as far as you're comfortable, pause a second and then pull yourself forward
    into another rep of the knee tuck.
    Key points
    Placing your hands more forward on the floor will make the
    exercise more difficult while walking your hands back several
    inches will make it easier.
    Only push yourself back as far as you can while maintaining
    lumbar support. If you feel stress in your lower back, reduce
    your range of motion several inches.
    Keep the pressure even on your hands and avoid pressing into
    the outside of your palms as you push yourself back.
    It’s fine to hold your breath at the extended position to increase
    the support on your core. Just be sure to exhale as you pull
    yourself forward while tucking your knees.
    Always pull up with your toes and push your heel into the handle
    of the straps to improve the tension along your flexion chain.
    This also helps your feet stay locked into the straps and improves
    stability.
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