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Method Behind the Madness Part 2 for Phase 3

In part 1 we covered the adrenaline portion to our Adrenaline Abs programing for phase 3. If you want to get caught up with part 1 CLICK HERE
Part II- ABS 

Alright so what about the “ABS” part of “ADRENALINE ABS”?

Well we’ve already effectively mobilized stubborn belly fat via max effort 10-second bouts of total body exercises, so let’s now integrate some core stability training to build a tight, sexy midsection.

Core stability is a critical component of any sound training plan.

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last 5 PLUS years, you now know that doing crunches and sit-ups will not only NOT help you get flat abs (spot reduction doesn’t work) but MAY cause you some serious back and/or neck pain at some point down the line if don’t have a proper plan of action.
Crunches and sit-ups work your superficial abdominal muscles (the 6-pack muscles, a.k.a. rectus abdominus) and promote excessive flexion of the lumbar spine which may result in serious spinal injuries like bulging or herniated discs.

Plus, crunches and sit-ups don’t train your deep abdominal stabilizers which are critical to helping you maintain a neutral pelvic and spinal position for optimal health and performance. Our goal with any of our core training is to train your deep abdominal stabilizers.

The 21st century approach to core training emphasizes stabilization in all 3 planes of movement: sagittal plane (front to back and up and down), frontal plane (side to side), and transverse plane (rotational).

More specifically, the true goal of proper core training is to teach anti-flexion, anti-extension, and anti-rotation through various static and dynamic core stability exercises like front, side, and back planks/pillar variations, hip extensions variations, bird dog variations, etc.

Why 10 seconds for the core stability holds?

Well, its simple- it’s about QUALITY over QUANTITY.

When most people perform core stability holds for 30-60+ seconds they tend to spend a majority of the time in compensated positions due to fatigue which really prevents the trainee from getting the maximum benefit from performing the exercise.

However, if we shift the focus on maximum activation and contraction with short, focused 10-second holds we get more bang for our back. And by alternating between a total body exercise and core stability exercise we best mitigate cumulative fatigue and prevent big losses in form and technique.

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In other words, which option outlined below sounds like it has a greater benefit:

Perform ONE low intensity, wobbly, shoddy front plank for minutes on end OR perform many sets of maximum effort 10-second front plank holds with perfect form and technique for the same total time-under-tension (TUT)?

If you chose the latter then you are indeed correct. If it’s the same total volume (or TUT) there will be greater muscle recruitment with the sub-maximal repeat set format and thus a better overall training effect.

In fact, it’s quite similar in concept to why the short intervals provided better results than the longer intervals in the aforementioned study even though both groups spent the same total amount of time working out. Shorter sets allow for maximum intensity and maximum intensity delivers maximum results.

It’s also quite similar in nature to the whole Escalating Density Training (EDT) format popularized by legendary strength coach Charles Staley: better short and long-term results will occur from multiple sets of sub-maximal reps then a single set of maximal effort.

I believe this whole 10-second core stability concept stemmed from Gray Cook who is a world-renowned physical therapist well known for his Functional Movement Screen (FMS).
Here is what Physical Therapist Dr. Kareem Samhouri had to say about the whole 10-second isometric hold concept:

“10 seconds for isometrics? I give exception to the plank b/c your ‘core’ needs to be ‘on’ for up to 60-90 seconds at a time during various activities. Athletes need to go longer than this if they are endurance athletes, but this is not max contraction. Other exercises, with a non-lengthening/shortening contraction, as follows:

- Your muscle takes 2 seconds to ramp up intensity.
- You can sustain maximal motor unit recruitment for 6 seconds.
- Your muscle will ramp down for 2 seconds.
- 2 + 6 + 2 = 10 seconds

The optimal isometric contraction is 10 seconds as a result.

Hope this helps!”

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Does this mean you can or should never do 30-60+ second core stability holds again?


As Dr. K noted, long-duration core stability holds have their place for endurance athletes or people with advanced core stability.

But it does mean that 10 seconds is the optimal length of time to work on isometric core stability and it’s most likely a better fit for the general population, especially for entry-level core programming.
There isn’t much in the way of studies or literature supporting this 10-second core stability concept, but I’m sure there will be in the years to come as some of the top trainers and coaches in the world are using it with great success with their clients and athletes.

In part 3 we will put it all together for you.
Committed to your health,
HH Fitness, Inc.

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