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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 09-24-2013, 11:49 PM   #1
Jeremy Punzalan
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Obliques - Best way to develop?

I see guys like Rich Froning, and i notice that their obliques are well developed and covering their rib cages. What are the best exercises to develop and strengthen those muscles?
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Old 09-25-2013, 03:23 AM   #2
Jeff Enge
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Re: Obliques - Best way to develop?

Their definition is from leanness.

I'm guessing for most CF athletes, the core strength comes from gratuitous squatting, deadlifting, cleaning, snatching, etc and not as much from isolating.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:55 AM   #3
Jeremy Punzalan
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Re: Obliques - Best way to develop?

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Originally Posted by Jeff Enge View Post
Their definition is from leanness.

I'm guessing for most CF athletes, the core strength comes from gratuitous squatting, deadlifting, cleaning, snatching, etc and not as much from isolating.
So Do those compounds movement, and get lean and i should be able to get those obliques?
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:57 AM   #4
Jeremy Punzalan
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Re: Obliques - Best way to develop?

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Originally Posted by Jeff Enge View Post
Their definition is from leanness.

I'm guessing for most CF athletes, the core strength comes from gratuitous squatting, deadlifting, cleaning, snatching, etc and not as much from isolating.
Jeff, were you able to get those obliques as well?
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:18 AM   #5
Jeff Enge
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Re: Obliques - Best way to develop?

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Originally Posted by Jeremy Punzalan View Post
Jeff, were you able to get those obliques as well?
Honestly, I don't care all that much about being ripped, for a few reasons - first, I'm just gaining mass at this point and at 190# and ~12% body fat am the heaviest and "fattest" I've ever been - I'm OK with not being 5% BF anymore if it means I'm not a twig. Second, I'm a little bit too hairy for definition in the core area to be all that apparent, and as an ex-competitive swimmer who had to shave everything 2-3 times a year, I'm perfectly content with not having to worry about that anymore.

That said, I definitely have visible muscle in the trunk area that I did not have before, even without focusing on it. And I do little to no isolation for that area.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:26 AM   #6
Mike Doehla
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Re: Obliques - Best way to develop?

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Originally Posted by Jeff Enge View Post
Their definition is from leanness.

I'm guessing for most CF athletes, the core strength comes from gratuitous squatting, deadlifting, cleaning, snatching, etc and not as much from isolating.
I used to think this but then I thought of this.

Squatting, deads, Press with good diet is good
Squatting, deads, Press with good diet and ab work is best

I hardly see guys with impressive cores that completely ignore ab work. Keep in mind Froning and the guys do tons of toes to bar, GHD sit ups, Evil Wheels etc so they are getting a direct hit to the abs. I know it can be debated but if someone wanted abs I would have them work them in various ways along with a good diet and big lifts.

I think the theory of not doing ab work is a combination of a few things.
1. Doing abs sucks
2. Some guys with great genes have abs and don't do ab work

I think an average Joe like myself would benefit from working abs rather than not. But everyone is different. Worst case scenario is you waste 10 minutes a few times a week.

Last edited by Mike Doehla : 09-25-2013 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:28 AM   #7
John Holcombe
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Re: Obliques - Best way to develop?

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Originally Posted by Jeremy Punzalan View Post
So Do those compounds movement, and get lean and i should be able to get those obliques?
Yes. One thing I've noticed from doing crossfit is squats/deadlifts and all this full body stuff that we do builds up your core far better than anything else i've ever done. Rich Froning is at like 8% bodyfat though so you might have to cut down quite a bit to get as defined as he is.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:40 AM   #8
Mike Doehla
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Re: Obliques - Best way to develop?

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Originally Posted by John Holcombe View Post
Yes. One thing I've noticed from doing crossfit is squats/deadlifts and all this full body stuff that we do builds up your core far better than anything else i've ever done. Rich Froning is at like 8% bodyfat though so you might have to cut down quite a bit to get as defined as he is.
I'm so torn on this. I would love to see a good study done. I still don't think all the heavy lifting in the world would get someone a set of abs all the heavy lifting plus dedicated ab work will. But who knows.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:49 AM   #9
Dakota Base
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Re: Obliques - Best way to develop?

Might not be an option for you, but my favorite, most effective abdominal development is kickboxing on heavy bag. I spent years through high school and college doing focused ab work to keep myself cut up, then when I started kickboxing in college, I gave it all up when I suddenly noticed my abs, especially my obliques, were at an all time peak.

The "finger grooves" at the top of the ribs on the side (between pecs and lats on sides) are the Serratus, aka "boxers muscle". The Obliques are lower down including that crest that plummets around the pelvis down to Joyland. Proper kickboxing is all about functional leverage between the hips and shoulders, the serratus work more to help move the arms for punches, the obliques work more to help deliver the legs, but both work throughout almost any striking movement (ok, maybe not so much a snap jab). Throw a lot of hooks, uppercuts, and angle kicks. Crosses use the obliques a lot, but jabs not so much. Proper front kicks are great for lower abdominal development also, but not so much the sides.

If KB isn't an option, then my other favorite movements are decline or GHD bench Russian Twists (plate or ball in front on decline, overhead for GHD) and Twisting VLR's (like twisting VKR's, but more load with your legs extended). If you're MASSIVELY careful, twisting GHD trunk raises are super sick too, and really good for the OTHER side, grab a lightweight plate and hold it out like a steering wheel to add load. High Plank Ski Slalom Jumps are fantastic for metcon work on the obliques too (high plank/push up position like you're going to do mountain climbers, both feet jump from start to near one hand, back to start, to other hand, and so on).

EDIT - ADDED: For what it's worth, I tend to agree that you can't develop your abs, especially your obliques, nearly as well just with functional weight lifting. No traditional weight lifting has enough twisting component to really develop your twisting muscles, the only work they get is via stabilization, which is essentially isometric for the muscles in question. BUT, I also tend to agree that unless you're bodybuilding, having a focused ab workout is somewhat counterintuitive. Why use a full body strength program, except a split program for abs? I'm not saying you should avoid focused ab exercises, but doing tons of crunch and twist variations is just silly unless you're going for a more metcon style program. Just a few accessory lifts is all you need. No need to feel the burn in the gym to feel it the next day. I use abs as accessory lifts, then as much kickboxing as I can get.

Last edited by Dakota Base : 09-25-2013 at 09:03 AM. Reason: Added lifting vs lifting + core opinion...
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:05 AM   #10
John Holcombe
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Re: Obliques - Best way to develop?

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Originally Posted by Mike Doehla View Post
I'm so torn on this. I would love to see a good study done. I still don't think all the heavy lifting in the world would get someone a set of abs all the heavy lifting plus dedicated ab work will. But who knows.
I was talking about obliques specifically. I don't think there's any issues with hitting abs after your heavy lifting. Obliques are a little harder to isolate and also don't require it as much in my opinion. I like to keep it heavy if I do abs just like everything else by doing weighted knee raises or weighted sit-ups or something like that.
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