Wednesday, June 16, 2010

P90X Tips and Tricks - How to Get the Most Out of Ab Ripper X - Part 2

This is part two of a two part article on Ab Ripper X. I have pretty much covered the exercises in the order they appear in the workout. This article covers the last few exercises.

Pulse ups are an exercise where you have to be especially diligent with your form. When you start letting the legs swing or lower too much at the bottom of the move you are cheating yourself by using momentum instead of abdominal muscle to do the work. Pay attention to keeping your legs as straight as you can with ankles flexed. Try not to use your arms to push you up. This may happen a little bit at first but, will decrease as your abs get stronger. Some people find that their neck starts to hurt on this one. Lifting your head can help but, it makes the exercise harder. Try to relax the head and shoulders and focus on engaging just the abs.

Oblique v-ups are a great move for the obliques. When you lift up don't worry about how much you're using the bottom arm to push up. It feels like your using that arm a lot but believe me you will soon feel the obliques getting their workout. As you lift up you will roll back onto your butt. Don't think you need to stay perfectly on your side. That's not how this exercise works.

Leg climbs are the second to last move. I find it to be the easiest move of the bunch. However, every single client I have done this with thinks it is one of the hardest exercises ever. I wish I had some useful advice on this one but I'll suffice it to say that if you too find leg climbs to be really tough just know that you're not alone. One big mistake I see people make on this is bringing the extended leg too close. The extended leg should be leaning slightly away from you, not straight up and definitely not toward you. If your other leg is bent, just keep the knees level with each other and that will work pretty well.

Finally, mason twist or kayak. This is a tough move for a couple of reasons. One reason is the number of reps. You actually do 50. The last 10 are bonus but, c'mon if you make it that far you are not bailing on the last 10 reps. Don't even think about it! The other thing is that you extend and lift your legs which engages the hip flexors which may still be fatigued from the first four exercises. This means that you need to work hard and focus on using the ab muscles to support the spine and don't let the back round. You may not be able to hit the floor with your hands every time when you start. As you gain core strength and flexibility this will become easier. Because of the length of the set, if you need to take a break in the middle and skip a few reps, that is a great way to build up. Just jump back in when you're ready and before you know it you'll be able to do the whole set.

One last thing is pace. It is very easy to rush the reps and find yourself ahead of Tony and the gang. The thing is that when you rush you're actually cheating by making it easier. You're shortening the amount of time that the abs work and you're almost certainly using momentum to do some of the work. Listen to the count and slow your pace if you find that you're getting more than a rep ahead.

Finishing all the reps in Ab Ripper X is definitely an accomplishment. When you have the abdominal strength to achieve this you know you have done something great for your health and fitness.

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