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Iron Dungeon - Weight Training / Bodybuilding

Medicine Ball Ab Routine

A Routine for Increased Abdominal Power

CAUTION: This routine can cause *serious* injury if not done carefully. I claim no responsibility for injuries.

Lie on your back, with your legs bent so that your lower back is flat on the ground. Have your partner take the 8-12 lb medicine ball and drop it a short distance above your abdominal muscle. Attempt to drop it between the lower ab region and just below your sternum. It is important that your partner stand directly above you so that he/she only needs to drop it straight down into the right region.

Slightly before the ball hits the abs, flex your abs so that the ball hits solidly. If you flex too early, you will lose muscle tension, and flexing too late will likely get you winded when you are using heavier hits later on.

After impact, grab the ball and thrust it back up to your partner's hands. At this point, you should say "up" "down" "higher" or "lower" to refine the ball's drop location (higher & lower refers to vertical position, up & down refers to lateral position). It is very important that you continuously communicate the position, as it is common to drift when you start doing them hard.

Once you're comfortable with the feel of the drops and have the timing correct, increase the intensity. Get your partner to drop from a higher starting point, then begin to start "throw-downs". At this point, it is critical that you are in good communication with your partner, otherwise you may sustain SERIOUS injury.

The throw-downs must be done with your partner's elbows out, so that the direction of force is directly straight down. You can tell if the flexion of your abdominal muscle is timed correctly as the ball should *bounce* off your abs with a thud, not compress in and roll off. Your goal should be to match the speed of the dropping ball with the upward thrust of your abdominal wall during flex.

The most crucial part of this is that the position be kept precise, and that adjustments are made by your partner (as per your direction) continuously. For most people, there is a fairly narrow margin of error in the safe contact region. If your partner starts to creep up too high, you will begin to feel a lasting unpleasant sensation as the ball comes in contact with your rib cage or begins to wind you. Hitting even further up is generally very painful and often leads to winding. Likewise, (at least for guys) one cannot hit too low, or other unpleasant feelings are likely. Fortunately, this exercise is safe if you always keep the ball within a region that doesn't cause discomfort, and you have adequate timing. It's often easier to do this exercise with increased intra-abdominal tension from repeated Valsalva maneuvres. On heavier hits, it may be tempting to expel some of your air through your teeth upon contact, but try to limit this, as this will likely give you a sore throat after some time.

After a while you will probably get accustomed to the timing and location required for effective hits. Now, get your partner to gradually hit harder. My partner and I continue to the point where we are throwing the ball from above our heads as hard as we can (for sets of 20). Of course, at this intensity we are extremely careful of positioning. A caveat, though: occasional slip-ups do happen in this exercise, leading to periods of a couple weeks to recover before doing them again. In the worst case it's possible to cause bruising or cracking of the ribs, or cause internal bleeding, so be careful. Over time, though, you will develop an extremely strong midsection that can take a hefty blow, or react with significant power.

 


Reader's Comments:

Please leave your comments or suggestions below!
2013-09-23Drew
 Just started this workout, it was recommended by a friend. It works better thank any other workout.
2011-07-09Jason
 This is Jason from 2005 above. I've been recommending your link here for years. Update. I'm now 22 years and recent college grad. I am 6'2" and weigh 190 very lean pounds--5% body fat. I have worked my abs effing hard throughout college. I stopped using your workout then found myself getting questions about toughening abs and keep sending your link. But I stopped using it when I got to college. Then started sophomore year seeing a guy in the weight room leave with a med ball. I followed him to a racquetball room and he put it down on the floor and lay abs down on the ball and started to roll around on it. He was very fit and so I asked him if he knew the true use of the medicine ball and he said, "Hell yeah to make your abs hard." I said, "Damn right." So we decided to workout together. That was 3 years ago. We stuck with it for the rest of the semester then felt we had enough. I think I'll start it up again having again recommended your link. lol just thought an update is in order. Oh, I have a very muscular 8 pack that--most days--can easily some seriously hard punches with no problem. Great feeling, so to speak! Thanks for your page here. It's really great.
 Great to hear it Jason!! Keep at it
2011-01-31raul
 does this workout help u lose weight around the abdomen area????or is it simply strengthening?
2010-01-04Peter
 Dude, me and my buddy Stephen were doing regular sit-ups with a medicine ball, when our other friend Danny told us about this workout, that his friend does daily. and apparently his friend got amazing results just as a freshman, anyways, he got me and Steven to try it, and we dropped a 12 pound medicine ball from about 4 feet above our abs for 2 sets of 20 reps. thank you for posting this guide, i will definitely keep using this from now on, especially mid football season.
 
2005-10-29brad
 

Cal i am the brother of one of Jason's housemate. I am 17 yo and want to join in this workout. Im really impressed with how muscular and ripped they are and how hard their abs are. Iv seen Jason and his friends work on their abs with that ball and it scares the s**t out of me. I work my abs a lot and they are lean and ripped. but Im scared to ask them to train me cuz i think i will get hurt. how can i prepare my abs on my own to get ready to work out with them? Thanks.

 

Hey Brad -- You DO have to be very careful with this routine... so if you're going to start doing it, you must start from no force at all. In other words, start by just letting the ball drop, and getting used to timing your flex. Over time, gradually allow a little extra motion to go into the drops (throwing down slightly). It didn't take long before my 200lb training partner would be throwing the medicine ball as hard as he could from over-head onto my abs. Of course this takes a lot of trust in your partner to be able to hit exactly the right spot with the right amount of force. Good luck!

2005-08-18Jason
 

Hey Cal. I REALLY like this medicine ball workout a lot. A housemate used it in high school and I found it on his abs webpage. He has abs that shows that this workout really works. He said he used it for several years in high school and it transformed his abs. I've never seen abs like his that can take my hardest punch. He gives you a lot of the credit so thanks. Jason

 

Great to hear this!!!

 


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