A couple months ago I wrote an article for T-Nation called My Favorite Exercises: Muscle by Muscle, where I shared—you guessed it—my favorite exercises: muscle by muscle.
That was a joke.
I left out abs though, and since that time I’ve gotten a question about what core exercises I like best. I have a bunch that I like quite a bit, and in fact I’m in the process of putting together another separate article sharing my top ten-or-so core exercises, but for now I want to share one that’s probably my favorite, or at least in the top three: bodysaws.
Bodysaws are similar to ab wheel rollouts in the sense that in both exercises the goal is to resist extension at the lumbar spine (i.e. arching your lower back too much). I used to like rollouts best, but in the past year or so I’ve been doing more bodysaws because 1) I feel them more in my abs and 2) rollouts sometimes have a tendency to bug my lower back if I let my form slip at all but I don’t have that problem with bodysaws.
To do them, get in a plank position with your feet on something slippery: Valslides, a slideboard, paper plates on a tile floor, a TRX, etc, etc, etc.
From there, maintain your body position and push back and forth on your arms like you’re, uh, well, you know 🙂
Only way slower.
These are tougher than they look, so only go as far back as handle while still maintaining your original spine position. If you find yourself arching excessively or having to pike your butt up, you’ve gone too far. It won’t take much to really feel these.
From there you progress to doing them on one leg, and if you want to get really frisky, work towards doing them with straight arms, which extends the lever arm and makes them pretty freakin’ brutal.
Don’t jump into this version too fast though because you don’t want to hurt yourself.
I’ll get into more of my favorite core exercises later, but for now, give bodysaws a shot.
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Finish the week strong!