Here is what you should know…
- This exercise isn’t easy and your abs will be screaming just looking at it.
- This exercise requires you to maintain a neutral spine position while fighting through some nasty forces trying to break you out of it.
- You must master other less challenging anti-extension core exercises with good technique before attempting or performing this. I teach you all about this later on in this post.
What is this exercise?
This exercise isn’t a fallout, nor is it an ab rollout. However, it is performed like them with a rope cable crunch set up. If you don’t know what I am talking about you will soon.
It asks us to pull weight down to the floor, then control the rise back up while maintaining a neutral spine posture. On the contrary, fallouts and rollouts require us to eccentrically control or lower our own body weight down, and then pull ourselves back up.
There is a short clip of this exercise being performed at the end of this post.
The Set Up
- Grab a pad for your knees.
- Head over to a cable machine and place the pad far enough away from it so you can lay down face first, without your head crashing into it.
- Add a rope attachment and set it to the highest level the cables can reach.
Three Vital Cues
- Just like any rollout, push up, or fall out variation, you will lead and attack the floor with your entire body.
- Your butt should be squeezed like your pinching a penny or cracking a walnut between your cheeks.
- Your ribs should be down, with your stomach tight like I’m about to hit you in your abdominals.
Some Common Mistakes
- Flexing like a cable crunch instead of leading with the body.
- Letting too much extension occur throughout the low back or lumbar spine.
- Not using a pad on your knees.
How much weight should you use?
There is a sweet spot you must find that is very individualized, in order to execute this exercise properly. This exercise requires you to use to a decent amount of weight, otherwise it literally can’t be performed.
- If you don’t load the cable machine up with enough weight, you will not be able to get back up.
- If you add too much weight you can’t get your body to the floor while maintaining that rigid plank posture.
Is there anything else I should know?
- It’s kind of a pain to find the right resistance at first, but it’s worth it when you find your magic number.
- Once you find the sweet spot and you are able to add more weight, this exercise actually becomes easier on the way up as you receive more assistance getting up off the floor.
- Not being strong enough is a large factor on whether or not you can execute this properly. A progression to help you build enough strength for this exercise in a moment.
Don’t be silly, gain experience and learn solid position and technique with other anti-extension core exercises like front planks and ab rollout variations before attempting it.
When I say anti-extension core exercises, this simply means exercises where you will be engaging your “six pack” by preventing your lower back from arching. Exercises like front planks, push-ups, rollouts, and suspension fallouts etc. belong in this category. In other words you are using your rectus abdominus to prevent excessive lumbar extension.
Here is just one of many progressions I took from my Instagram page, to train your core using anti-extension based exercises so you can progress to the this “cable crunch” variation.
The pictures above represent a logical sequence of planks with the difficulty ranging from least challenging (1) with the hands elevated on the bench, to most challenging (5) elbows on the floor with a weight on your back. These are even more challenging if you add more weight on your back, or movement of the limbs while maintaining the proper core and spinal position.
This exercise is not recommended for people who do not have enough strength to add least do an ab dolly rollout from the knees with proper technique. (picture below)
During any anti-extension core exercise make certain you check your form.
The pictures below do NOT show ideal front plank positioning.
To correct this, just place and make sure a dowel rod is in contact with the back of your head, in between your shoulder blades, and on your tailbone like the pictures show below.
Here are some important cues are to make sure you are getting the most out of these anti-extension exercises like front planks and push ups before you attempt it.
- Squeeze the glutes and quadriceps.
- Keep the ribs down and the stomach tight.
- Don’t let the shoulders shrug to your ears.
P.S. As promised, here is that video if you want to see the variation in action...