Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-The Lean Abs Machine!-

You're never too old to exercise!!!!

You're never too old to exercise!!!!

Hey rockstars!

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!

The Lean Abs Machine!

The Lean Abs Machine!

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. 😉


36 responses

  1. Great article Sarah! Good explanation about protecting the lower back during a ab exercises…..keep up the good work.

    Mark at My Fitness Hut

    July 2, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    • Hey Mark!
      Thank you!
      Happy 4th! 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend!

      July 4, 2009 at 9:09 am

  2. That Ab Leaner thing is hilarious. Notice how the line forms out the door to get a turn on that thing. LOL 🙂 Obviously it’s a joke.

    You said: “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.”
    If someone WAS proficient in core movements then they would know better than to use that crappy Ab Leaner to begin with.
    I couldn’t agree more with you regarding Ball/Wheel Rollouts as well as other functional core movements.

    Great comments regarding the pushups Sarah! I’m the same way. No matter how weak and deconditioned someone is when they come to me I NEVER have them on their knees. If all else fails and they can’t really bend their arms to perform a semi-pushup at least they can benefit in the joints, nervous system, and core by holding up their body in a full plank position.

    Great post!

    July 3, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    • Hey “we share brain cells” Bob!

      Knee pushups are the devil. There is absolutely no reason to do em. The only time I have had people do anything remotely like ’em these days is if they can’t hold a plank long enough in bootcamp…I have em drop to their knees so they can keep going. Most people don’t need to do this, though.

      My next post is gonna be on juicing! 😀 I’m gonna use one of my “juice porn” pics!

      Have a great 4th!

      July 4, 2009 at 9:20 am

  3. That is a very interesting machine indeed! Something that we probably don’t need and should be categorized among the informercial machines 🙂


    July 9, 2009 at 10:19 am

    • Hi Anna!
      You are most definitely right!
      What a waste of metal, huh? 😀

      Yours in Health,

      July 14, 2009 at 1:13 pm

  4. I thought you were a fitness pro? How about staying on the ball because you could get hurt if you did a real exercise. There are no other complaints Ms. Pris.

    August 12, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    • Larry-

      Yes, i’m a fitness professional with over 14 years of experience under my belt. As the guy behind this machine, no wonder you’re offended by my post. These are my opinions and I refuse to hold them in. Not apologizing for anything.

      “Staying on the ball because you could get hurt if you did a real exercise?” What in the heck do ya mean? Please elaborate! Are you saying that your machine is not a “real” exercise? If so, then we agree! 😀 OR are you saying that every other “ab” exercise isn’t a “real” exercise? I’m confused here, so please enlighten me. Do you honestly think your machine would provide a better total-body benefit than an old-school, time-tested movement such as the Turkish Get-Up? Or have you never heard of those?

      I am not a fan of contraptions or gadgets that promise “lean abs” or “six pack abs” or whatever bogus term y’all use to pitch products. It’s misleading.

      If you look through my blog and videos, you will see that I use ZERO machines. Machines are not my thing. Why throw a machine in the picture that detracts from the human body functioning as it should, when you could have clients perform exercises that enhance everyday movements?! A simple plank variation would do a lot better job than this machine. Again, i’m not apologizing. I refuse to be “PC” for the sake of agreeing with everyone…hence my putting my opinion out there (and others agreeing with it, as you’ve seen).

      Thanks for calling me “Ms. Priss”…that’s really nice. I appreciate it tremendously!

      Seriously…who’s the REAL fitness pro? I’m sure lots of people would be glad to chime in on this…

      Thanks for your comment! I thrive on stuff like this!
      “Ms. Priss”

      August 12, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    • Larry,

      For you to have to come onto Sarah’s blog and insult her is not only unprofessional, but also quite juvenile. I mean SERIOUSLY… Did you have to nanna nanna boo boo right here on HER blog???!!!

      Last time I checked it was a public internet and I don’t know if you read my comment above, but I would encourage you to do so. I think you will find it enlightening.


      I had to laugh when I read your post. You have no leg to “lean” on really. 😀

      Where is your social proof that your product works? It’s not on your site? All I see are pics of a naturally thin gal and some old fart.

      What Sarah and countless other fitness coaching professionals do on a day in and day out basis is magic. We don’t NEED a machine to lean us to great abs. WE get that way because we work hard to eat right and train our entire body as a unit BECAUSE that is how we use it in life.

      Larry- I am a Kettlebell Fitness Coach. I own and run a Kettlebell Boot Camp in Gilbert, Arizona and, other than a kettlebell itself, do not use any other piece of equipment to blast fat and get my clients super functionally strong for their lives. That, sir, does not need years of marketing persuasion to get people to use. In fact kettlebells have been around for over 400 years and body weight training has been around for millennium.


      We have liberated ourselves from the four walls and from the machine based clunks that move in their specific range of motion. NO! We don’t want that whatsoever. We want our bodies to stabilize for themselves and earn great results that no machine will EVER provide.

      Larry- HERE’S YOUR SOCIAL PROOF: Read all the amazing stories and watch MY videos there.

      While I congratulate you on being innovative and an entrepreneur I must invite you to come out to Arizona to become enlightened, as my VIP, in the truest sense of what General Physical Preparedness and Real Life Fitness is all about.

      Committed to virally infect society with the secret of health and fitness success,

      -Bob Garon

      P.S. Thank YOU Sarah for an awesome blog and opportunity to both inspire and motivate us in our daily fitness practice by living as an amazing example.

      August 12, 2009 at 9:41 pm

      • Bob-

        You continue to amaze me with your effortless ability to “preach it” and keep things real! 🙂 Also, i’m extremely happy we share brain cells!
        Machines smachines…we don’t need no stinkin’ machines!
        I obviously offended Larry because I stated my opinion.
        I congratulate anyone who is able to step out and be an entrepreneur myself…this doesn’t mean that I have to pat each and every fitness industry person on the back. If I did that, I would be patting a lot of backs of types that I don’t really agree with and most likely don’t want to be associated with. 80% of the backs I patted would most likely be those types.
        Thank goodness for the other 20%…and i’m happy to say that I have come to know a few of this small group, yourself included!
        I’m with you, Bob…i’m committed to virally infecting society with the “secret” of health and fitness success…and y’all know I hate the word “secret”…obviously we both know the “secret”…and it ain’t sexy…it ain’t any funky contraption that costs tons of money…it ain’t no magic pill or diet…it ain’t no lazy-as* program…
        the “secret” is hard work, progression, intensity, focus, and using one’s body in a functional manner, performing all sorts of movements that translate into real life activities.
        the “secret” most often turns people off because it’s not easy at all…and it requires time and energy…
        this is why the REAL “secret” is something very few of us are proud to know personally…
        yes, we share it with anyone and everyone…but most everyone is out there wishing there was a “better secret”…one that allows laziness and excuses and tons of cool stuff to get the job done.
        all you need is YOU, people…all you need is YOU…and a few kettlebells can’t hurt 😉

        Yours in Health,

        August 13, 2009 at 3:25 pm

        • Sarah,

          I couldn’t agree more.

          Please allow me to chime in here one last time…

          In my opinion if you cannot toss your exercise gear onto your should or back and carry it with you wherever you go, such as when I go hiking up in the mountains, then it’s just NOT worth having or using at all.

          Can you see some bloke toss that Ab Leaner thingy up on their shoulder and hike at 10,000ft. Ha! Ok now that’s a workout there my friend! 🙂

          Anyway, here’s my gym:

          Nuff said!

          August 13, 2009 at 6:00 pm

  5. You should look into a product better before you bash it. Just because you would rather spend a lot more time on the floor and doing more movements to train your abs don’t attack something you don’t understand.

    The exerciser is real and a great addition to the industry.

    The Lean Abs Machine is an excellent Abdominal exerciser because it fully stretches the the core and engages them on the return. You are right about one think the model didn’t hold her body straight on the lean out. With this machine there are no break over points and the center of gravity has been change to the core.

    You guys claim to be fitness professionals? You should have checked out what others are saying and watched videos so that you could use proper form and do it correctly before forming an opinion.

    I will suggest to the St. Gabriel Community Center to get rid of their home model at your request.

    No product can train abs in a more convenient position, faster and as complete as the Lean Abs Machine.

    Kettlebells? Watch you don’t hit yourself with them or throw your back out. You guys are old fashion.

    This machine is too advanced for you!

    Watch it guys if Sara blows one it could knock your lips off your face.

    August 13, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    • Oh wow…i’m a bit speechless.
      On the floor? If you truly “got” what i’m about, you would realize that the majority of exercises I recommend are not done on the floor. Yes, I do floor exercises, but you are completely wrong yet again.
      Yes, we are fitness professionals. You, my friend, are not. You created a machine. You do not have years of experience and education in the fitness industry under your belt. You have not worked with hundreds and hundreds of clients from all walks of life. There are some of us who choose to not buy in to the majority of the stuff that’s pitched to the mainstream. Why? Because it’s unnecessary. I obviously am not a fan of “big box” gyms, nor am I a fan of most machines. Machines lock the user into an unnatural range of motion and most do not account for discrepancies in frame size…they are a “one size fits all” approach in most cases, and i’ve never gone that route. The “one size fits all” mentality in the fitness industry is another reason i’m so passionate about my role. I have the ability to shove this mentality out of the way and create much better results for my clients by making their programs specific & progressive.
      I’ll be glad to talk to the people at the community center. I have gotten to know them, and would be happy to share my thoughts as to why I feel this contraption is not the best choice.
      Who trains abs period? Who trains bodyparts anymore? That way of thinking is outdated! “Old fashion?” You must mean “old fashioned”…in reference to kettlebells, yes, they are “old fashioned”…and obviously worth their weight in gold because they are STILL around. I would venture to guess that when the “end of days” comes, there will be very few things left on this planet…cockroaches, dirt, and kettlebells.
      “Too advanced for me?” OMG.
      I am a bit speechless and do not want to come across as unprofessional, so I am ending my comments here. I think you’ve taken the “unprofessional spotlight”, so i’ll let you have it!
      Thanks again, Lean Larry!
      PS – and who said anything about passing gas? Wow. Actually, yesterday my buddy Shawn expanded on my “don’t follow the herd” comment…he said “herds drop a lot of sh*t.” So true…and I ain’t a part of any herd, unless you count my tight-knit intelligent “fitness family” as a herd…and we don’t drop any sh*t…we hold onto it and use it for something constructive! ;D

      August 13, 2009 at 9:07 pm

  6. Jessica


    I’ve been following your postings on Twitter; the fitness industry is crowded with charlatans and hucksters, you stand out as an example of what a true fitness professional should be. I have always been impressed with the quality of information you post and the reasoning behind it and I would consider myself a tough audience- I have a degree in Exercise Science. There are few trainers with whom I would trust my own workouts and I would not hesitate to train with you if I lived somewhere other than California!

    Having written that, I am like you: I often see exercise machines whose function could be anything from ineffective and puzzling to outright dangerous. I am the fitness director at a large fitness center and I would stay clear of this machine for any of our members. There are too many ways to list for an unsupervised user (or even a supervised one, for that matter) to get injured using this device. When I purchase equipment for our facility my criteria always include safety, ease of use, adaptability to users of ALL abilities, space constraints- the footprint of this device is huge given its limited utility- and price. I’m not quite sure where the value is in regards to this specific machine but in an economy where people are looking for value with the money they spend on health, a sure bet would be training with you! Keep up the good work!

    Best Regards,
    Jessica .

    August 13, 2009 at 10:51 pm

  7. The term “lifting-weights” is merely gym jargon for machine-based training and/or conventional style free-weight- bodybuilder style weight training. My program entails functional exercise with the use of compound movements. This provides a well-rounded form of training as well as allows your body to practice movements performed practically every day in natural life.

    Allow me to quickly compare functional form of strength to a non-functional form of strength through a particular exercise. Take the bicep curl, in its many forms- it is a non-functional exercise as you almost never do anything in life that requires just that part of your body to move in that exact way.

    Same goes for isolating your abs in specific abdominal exercises. Even when you pick up a bag of groceries you bend over, squat down, and stand back up with it as it is curled to chest level to be put away. That sounds more like a “clean” to me. We do that exact movement in our kettlebell practice almost every day.

    Now picture the pull-up with your palms facing you. This is definitely working the bicep, shoulder, back, forearm grip, and most of all abs/core strength. This is a functional exercise and one that will produce some of the absolute best overall results.

    A strong person must be someone who is coordinated, agile, accurate, and have good balance or else their strength cannot be maximized to accomplish a lift or even a simple everyday task. Just because your abs are pretty(which is a relative concept) does NOT mean they are functionally fit.

    Additionally why would anyone desire to be restricted to somewhere to rely on a machine such as yours “Lean Larry”? NOT ME!!!

    I want my body to be my machine and alongside my Fitness Tool, aka my Kettlebell, my full-body strength, conditioning, fat blasting, and endurance program is endless. This cannot be said of your unnecessary and impractical product. Very little to almost none of your product’s movements are natural daily movement patterns. Your user has to actually put their body into a certain position in operate the Leaner for whatever their purpose is.

    Ultimately I’m going with what has worked for thousands of years: Yoga, bodyweight movements, and functional fitness tools(such as the centuries old Russian Kettlebell).

    Sarah keep swingin ur Kettlebells. Don’t allow Jack LaLanne wanna-be’s like this dude to ruffle your feathers. At the end of the day it’s just not worth it. You’re better than that!

    August 14, 2009 at 3:34 pm

  8. Hey Bob and Sarah,

    Keep up the good hard proven work, but quit tooting your own horn so much.

    The Machine I designed although it very functional and very strenuous; it is not for everyone.

    Bob it seems like you would say any thing to direct people to your great program. Well good luck, I hope you do well and help plenty people along the way.

    You may read the reviews that 3 different trainer wrote about the Lean Abs Machine which were excellent. I never met any of them face to face and they were not paid a dime.

    Thousands of customer and the gyms that have the commercial model can’t be wrong.

    Let me ask a few small simple questions of the fitness pros: coffee or Latte? horse n buggy or airplane? am, fm or satellite? Rotary phone or Cell Phone? LOL enough said!

    I will do you guys a favor and leave you in that sheltered old world of yours (Quakers).

    You did accomplish good rankings with your Lean Abs Machine blog.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:29 pm

  9. Larry-

    Thanks for your comments, but your comparisons deal with technological advancements of non-human bio-mechanical means. You compared “things”. We are relating to the body.

    When it comes to the human body what works are the basics. The modern gym, as we know it, is a disservice to society. If your machine, and that of the others, was so effective why are people so unfit and far from functionally strong overall?

    I will answer that. It is because of the use of said machines. Machines travel in their own range of motion and not of the specific range of motion most likely needed by the person using it. There are no cookie-cutter machines and it is unfortunate that you are defending something that we can easily disprove.

    Again thank you for coming onto Sarah’s blog and defending your product. Of course you would- any intelligent entrepreneur would. BUT when looking at the big picture of what fitness actually is one simply cannot achieve that by using your piece of equipment. I don’t care if every gym in the country had one. It still wouldn’t matter. I mean they all have hack squats and pec decs. Whoa! Big Deal. Let’s get an Ab Leaner too while we’re at it. LOL!

    Thank you for your attention. It demonstrates your commitment to your product. You ripped into me for encouraging people to participate in my program. Well yes… It’s because I truly believe in it. Also I have much more than 3 testimonials to prove so.

    Anyway it ultimately doesn’t matter. Keep in mind my invitation.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:36 pm

  10. You guys are so anti-machine use because you are into fitness, strength and agility skills.

    Some of us are after the look. Let face it a lot of men just want the larger more muscular look. I am a 30 year body building hobbyist and I enjoy lifting heavy.

    Thanks for your input Bob but I think you are one way only which to me is so short sighted. Open up Bob there are more than one way to skin a cat.

    August 15, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    • Niccy

      Here is my 2 cents! Larry, i am just your
      average person. I happen to like machines
      however, after your totally ass-hat comments
      I will never touch any of your products!
      Or anything you endorse! DO NOT reply
      to my comments you are pathetic!

      The Customer Larry Lost

      August 15, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    • ian shaw

      youhave built a machine that is no doubt hundreds of pounds yet is less effective than a plank… why??

      May 29, 2010 at 4:38 pm

      • Amen to that!

        June 12, 2010 at 9:49 am

  11. Whew…what a bunch of posts. I’ll just add my 2 cents here and submit my thoughts as a former full-time trainer, sports performance coach, and running coach. Quite simply, as best I can put it, there is a paradigm shift in the fitness & sports conditioning fields. Sports conditioning has always been about performance, and fitness has been relatively pictured as a way of improving appearances. Those in the fitness field are starting to see that true performance matters in the end, and the good looking bodies that come with that are the end result, not the expected outcome or goal aimed at first. As a result of looks-oriented approaches being targeted to the general fitness public for decades, only a small percentage can stick with it. The approach of ‘lets get in shape to look good’ first just isn’t working. This is where most fitness pro’s chime in and dislike machines, gadgets, and programs that tout looks first, and sometimes, only. Today’s fitness trainers & performance coaches are educated to teach others how to perform well, not be in bodybuilding competitions or look like a typical ‘beach head’. We are taught how to improve things as muscular strength, VO2 max, endurance, agility, all these components work together. As an example, pro athletes don’t train to look good, they train to perform at an elite level. The good looks come naturally as a result with a majority of them. In the end, it is performance that matters.
    If good looks were all that mattered, then most bodybuilders and fitness models would be smoking people up in athletic competitions. This is not the case.
    Just my thoughts. Take them as you will.

    August 15, 2009 at 6:58 pm

  12. Larry-

    I’m not a fitness professional. I’m just some guy that enjoy’s working out. (and have done martial arts for 23+ years). From what I found, the machines are crutches and limit the amount that I’ll improve. Or “improve” me in ways I don’t want.

    As for your device, I could probably mimic it pretty well leaning against the wall, or using a set of rings. (this is based off the picture posted above). Heck I wouldn’t be surprised (since it appears to be all body weight) that I could do a better job with planks and push-ups.

    I don’t want the big built look, where I can’t even put my arms down (like my martial arts master, (owner of the school) who has spent too much time using free weights that he walks like a gorilla).

    I’d prefer a leaner look. So do the guys I train with regularly. Think more like Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan than Charles Atlas, or Lou Ferrigno. To much muscle mass slows you down.

    August 15, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    • I might know something too, since I went from 250 to 180 several years ago.

      This time (from 260) is taking longer, but I’ve already lost 30lbs. (I put the weight on living a sedentary life style due to a car accident).

      August 15, 2009 at 9:01 pm

  13. Fit Daddy

    I need to chime in on this one. I agree with Lean!

    I am a trainer and I train on a commercial Lean Abs Machine at the gym and it works great; I have become much stronger.. It is a great way to train abs and obliques.

    If you don’t understand it ask for help and don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! The range is not limited and there are plenty of great core exercises that can be done. It is an isometric body weight and resistance or assistance exercise.

    August 17, 2009 at 6:55 pm

  14. Dave Carson

    Bob how could there be a line to use the machine if there is hardly anyone working out there. The Gym must be in a really small Town.

    People tear it up in the Snap Fitness! Sometimes it gets heavy use.

    There isn’t a better way to work abs and obliques. Fully stretch and engage your balls, rings and planks you have got to be kidding. Try it you will be amazed..

    You could get some good instruction by watching this video

    August 22, 2009 at 10:21 am

    • I had decided I was DONE replying to comments on this post because it’s a waste of my time…but just felt the need to say that I see an obvious common “mentality” amongst the “pro-machine” dudes. Not saying any more. I just busted my own as* OUTSIDE a gym doin a brick workout for my upcoming triathlon. No ab leaner machine could ever nor would ever fit in MY world.

      August 22, 2009 at 10:32 am

  15. Why are you using Brick workouts, kettlebells, fitness balls, sleds, boxes, medicine balls, etc. which are all tools for fitness.

    I know you would not admit, but the Abdominal Lean exercise (say it right Sarah) is an isometric workout that utilizes body weight plus assistance or resistance.

    It’s better than Ab Wheel or ball roll outs because your arm bend at the elbows coming in closer to your body which involves upper abdominal also. Ab Wheel and Ball roll out exercises work mostly lower abs and upper hip muscles.

    Oh, did you watch videos and try to do it correctly with proper form. Check it out here

    You should check the unit first since it has been there for years. The motion arm should not have much side to side movement. If so the pivot bolt needs a slight tightening. Also I did not see any rubber tension weights in the picture. Are they missing? The machine feels better when you use some tension.

    You will probably get more comments from Lean Abs Machine users

    August 23, 2009 at 8:37 pm

  16. Abs are all connected, they are not seperated into ‘upper’ & ‘lower’ seperated sections. They do not fire seperately, is what I’m saying. Plus, this type of talk is once again showing your ignorance of performance mattering in the end. With a focus on ‘targeting upper abs’, that is just sales-speak for telling the consumer that they will get leaner upper abs, which by itself, will not do so. It takes more than just a machine, by golly, to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass & strength.

    On the contrary, stability ball roll outs and ab wheels, not to mention windmills, and the superior Turkish Get-Up exercise with KB’s, they will all use the core to perform the task of strengthening it, they do not ‘target’ the mythical ‘upper & lower’ sections of the rectus abdominus. They get the job done with multiple sections of the body coordinating to get the task of the exercise done. The more you teach your body to work together, the better off it will perform, in my opinion. The body part seperation method of yesteryear is NOT SUCCESSFUL if performance improvement is your ultimate goal.

    The reason Sarah is using brick workouts and other means/modes of training is because she is training in a multi-disciplinary sport, the triathlon. After having done 2 of them myself of the ‘sprint’ distances, I know you need to have multiple tools at hand to deliver the performance you want from your body.

    Another key point I want to bring up is this: you made an off-hand remark previously about kettlebells. Well, just like anything else, if you use it in a foolish manner, you’re going to get hurt. If you use it wisely and are educated on the matter, you’ll be fine. Plus there are no bolts to adjust or cables that go bad on a kettlebell.

    August 24, 2009 at 5:39 am

  17. Rick has made some great points, and I couldn’t agree more.

    Anyone who starts talking about “abs” raises a red flag for me…and then if they start talking about “upper” and “lower” abs, I realize I am not on their level.

    Multi-dimensional training is INTELLIGENT. Bodypart training isn’t. A monkey could sit on a leg extension machine and crank out reps all day. Uni-planar exercises are outdated and a waste of time for those who are truly wanting to take their physique and performance to a higher level. Any fitness professional who knows what they are talking about realizes this. The majority of exercises my clients perform are multi-planar…and any “isolation” type exercises are something I throw in at the end of workouts because they are not as demanding. Yes, people want to “feel the burn,” and isolation schtuff does that, and that’s fine…but also leads to tendonitis, etc if done to excess. Trust me, I know these things. Back in the day when I was an obsessed fitness competitor/bodybuilder, I had tendonitis in virtually every joint in my body thanks to a gazillion reps and “bodybuilding style” training. No thanks, not my thing.

    In “not so technical” terms, Larry, uni-planar means an exercise doesn’t involve more than one plane. There are three planes of movement: sagittal (forward/backward), frontal (side to side), and transverse (rotation). From my understanding, your machine pivots and moves in just the sagittal plane, just as most gym machines do. Crunch-type movements are passe – where are the rotation/anti-rotation movements that challenge the transverse plane?

    As Rick said, i’m training for a triathlon. A “brick” workout isn’t a workout performed with a brick, although i’m sure I could come up with a killer routine using one. A brick workout means you’re performing two disciplines back to back, for example, biking 30 miles and then running four. I have two bricks coming up this week. Not only do they challenge you physically and mentally, they prepare you for the actual race because you must transition between the bike and run (or swim and bike). So, now you know what a “brick” means.

    Maybe I could put together an “ab brick workout” and do 100 reps for the “upper” abs and immediately follow that with 100 reps for the “lower” abs! What y’all think? 😉

    August 24, 2009 at 7:56 am

  18. the best thing for me is swimming, i like a lot to swim, i like the way you write man!!, this rocks

    August 27, 2009 at 6:41 pm

  19. Rick said it best: “On the contrary, stability ball roll outs and ab wheels, not to mention windmills, and the superior Turkish Get-Up exercise with KB’s, they will all use the core to perform the task of strengthening it, they do not ‘target’ the mythical ‘upper & lower’ sections of the rectus abdominus. They get the job done with multiple sections of the body coordinating to get the task of the exercise done. The more you teach your body to work together, the better off it will perform, in my opinion. The body part seperation method of yesteryear is NOT SUCCESSFUL if performance improvement is your ultimate goal.”

    YES!!! Very well said Rick and if any gym rat machine trainee would like to prove their performance is better than that of a functional training practitioner please let us know. We shall arrange it.

    August 29, 2009 at 11:18 am

  20. Mike C

    Sarah, Rick, Bob: “Out the box?” You guys certainly are!

    September 12, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    • Yes, we are…and pretty dang proud of it! 🙂

      September 14, 2009 at 1:12 pm

  21. Here, here!!! 🙂

    September 14, 2009 at 1:28 pm

  22. Super Amen!!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 10:32 am

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