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KX Personal Training Education Program: Progressive Abdominal Training

Our abdominals consist of four major muscles, which facilitate a variety of different movements. Commonly we tend to perform crunching movements, which predominantly trains the rectus abdominus, but it is essential that we address all muscles involved in the core and establish a clear plan of progression.

Excessive crunching moves can potentially shorten the rectus abdominus and so to counteract this, we can train the crunch movement in reverse (eccentrically). This allows for our muscles to remain long while still being under tension. To put it simply, rather than forcing ourselves to sit up, we resist the lengthening phase of the crunch movement.

This month in my education programme we looked at specific exercises for each key abdominal muscle, progressing from remedial or activation exercises through to advanced. The key to this was isolating the role of each muscle and defining what they are specifically responsible for. The activation stage is essential for isolating each individual muscle and ensuring it has the ability to contract in isolation and then as a unit.
Our abdominals help us flex, rotate, side bend and stabilise the whole lumbar region. Therefore as well as traditional crunching exercises we will look at progressing movements through each of these planes of motion.

Oblique static hold –While retracting the shoulder blades and keeping the arms straight out in front of our torso we resist spinal rotation towards the cable and engage the external oblique’s. Focus on keeping the chest up and shoulders back.


Lying leg raise – Holding this position requires the rectus abdominus to contract. Focus on pressing the lumbar spine into the mat. This activation exercise will allow us to move to more complex crunching based movements.


Side plank on knees – By holding your body in a straight line and maintaining a neutral spine we resist side flexion and subsequently activate the obliques.

– Ross Milne, KX Fitness Advisor

Side plank on knees – By holding your body in a straight line and maintaining a neutral spine we resist side flexion and subsequently activate the obliques.

– Ross Milne, KX Fitness Advisor

About Ross:

Ross was always a keen sportsman at school. While competing both nationally in Hockey and regionally in cricket, Ross decided to follow this passion and earned a place to study Sports Science and Management at Loughborough University. He represented the University Hockey team, playing national league and was an active member of the golf club. Ross took a particular interest in sports sociology and wrote his final year dissertation on the doping culture surrounding road cycling.
While at University he also qualified as a Sports massage therapist, working with members of the Loughborough Cycling, Rugby and Hockey teams. Being involved in numerous scientific studies specifically based around fat loss invigorated Ross’ enthusiasm about the human body led to his decision to qualify as a personal trainer in the summer of 2014.
Now four months into the KX internship programme he is beginning to take a particular interest in injury rehabilitation and postural training. Ross hopes to continue his development and studies within this area of expertise.



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