-The Lean Abs Machine!-
So, this morning I endured yet another fun workout, which you may read about over on my triathlon training blog, OTBTri, by clicking HERE.
As I mentioned in that post, there are some adorably precious and sweet little old ladies who are in the pool when I go swim. They are awesome! I got a kiss on the cheek from one of them this morning! One of these days, i’ll get someone to take my picture with them, as I feel they have become part of “Team Sarah,” and they motivate me to keep swimming! I also will tell them i’m a trainer and perhaps show them a few new exercises they can do with the pool noodles!
So, after my 950 yard swim workout, I hopped on the stationary bike for 45 minutes. I met another sweet little old lady who came in to use the treadmill as well as the chest press machine. If you check out the blog post I mentioned above, you’ll probably smile when you read about our conversation!
Anyhow, in the weight room at the so-not-crowded facility I joined (which I may add, is super-great because I really don’t want to deal with perverted creeps staring at my butt while i’m swimming), there is a small assortment of somewhat-dated equipment. All I require is a bike treadmill for days I don’t feel like training in the heat.
After I finished my ride this morning, I happened to notice a funky-looking contraption laying on the floor. If the foot plate was at the opposite end, it could resemble a makeshift T-bar row of sorts.
So, I glanced up from the machine and spied a piece of paper on the wall that said “Ab Lean.” It shows a chick doing what I then realized was the contraption on the floor. Wow! All this time, i’ve been doing the wrong things for my abs! How have I been so stupid?! LOL!
Really, though, take a gander at the picture to the left and let me know if you agree with me – doesn’t this exercise remind you of a stability ball kneeling rollout? It sure does to me, and the kneeling rollout is a legit exercise. I can see some big problems with the “Lean Abs Machine’s” method. First off, y’all know i’m not a fan of machines at all. Secondly, y’all know I DO love exercises that require you to be on your feet. Combine these two things, and in this case, you have a potential back issue on your hands. Look at the middle picture where the chick is in the “extended” position. See how long a line there is from her elbows to her feet? Also see the potential for the low back to “sag?” Maybe i’m wrong, but in the picture, it really does seem she’s sagging! BAD!
Obviously, if someone was proficient in most exercises & knew the ins and outs of “core training,” they could probably try this funky contraption with no issues. BUT…this is a machine in a facility where there is no staff monitoring the weight room AND there are elderly members. I hope they don’t try this piece of junk!
As I said above, the Stability Ball Kneeling Rollout is a great “core” exercise. It’s also a great “pulling” movement as the lats are recruited when one returns to the upright position. Rollouts may also be performed with legs extended, however, for most people the kneeling variation is a much better choice as a starting point. Why? Shorter “lever arm” (there I go again, talkin’ Physics, lol) and therefore a decreased risk of form breakdown.
On the lever arm note – pushups are one exercise where I never recommend they be done on the knees to begin with. Why? It’s much easier to elevate the upper body, therefore decreasing the intensity of the exercise, while reaping the benefits of the core and glute’s involvement. No sissy pushups, people!
Key pointers for the Stability Ball Kneeling Rollout: Use a 55cm ball if possible. Keep “tall kneeling” position the entire time. Place hands on top of ball with arms extended. Don’t hinge forward at the hips as you roll. Keep neutral spine, glutes tight, and abs braced. Forearms should rest on top of ball at “end” position, then reverse the movement as you exhale.
Next time i’m at the facility, I may just have to try out that contraption…just for kicks. 😉