EXERCISE 1 for the ABS to Develop the MUSCLE CHAIN

How to build a good kinetic chain

The best way to develop our muscle chain (read Use the body power: the muscle chain) is by conditioning the muscle memory (read The muscle memory) of our body in groups:

  • At the beginning with small groups
  • Then in gradually bigger groups
  • Finally implementing the whole

To educate us to calibrated, connected and sequential movements, we have to perform exercises that focus each time on specific areas (in this case the abs).

Note – This article has been originally asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).

A multifunctional exercise for the abs

Prepare the abdomen’s muscles to transfer our kinetic energy

The exercise we are going to describe has a number of advantages that make it incredibly useful and effective (both for the beginner, both for the expert):

  • It strenghten the abs
  • It forces the sync with our breathing
  • In its basic version it is not tiring (but it is scalable)
  • It does not stress our back (typical problem of the novice)
  • It allows long sessions (ideal to burn abdominal fat)
  • It makes natural the passage of the kinetic energy
  • It condition the muscle memory of an area hard to manage
  • At an advanced level is useful to build speed (see Advanced speed and reflexes training)
  • It helps the metabolism

The exercise

The starting position:

  • Let’s focus on a good simmetry between the left and the right side of our body
  • Let’s lie on the ground in a supine position (belly upwards)
  • Let’s raise our legs until our thigs are perpendicular to the ground
  • Let’s bend our knees describing a 90° angle and making the calves parallel to the ground
  • Let’s position our arms in the same way (elbows at 90° and forearms paralle to the ground)
  • Let’s join the palms of the hands in a prayer-similar position (the fingers are extended and tightened)
  • Even the feet must touch but the elbows and the knees not, they must remain in a natural position
  • Let’s avoid useless stiffness, we must be as much as possible relaxed

A note by Master Kongling – For the Core Course practitioners: the head can rest on the soil but if we have already started the ground fighting conditioning (read Ground fighting), it is better to implement the arch method to get used to maintaining it raised.

The movement:

  • At the same time, we have to let our hands and feet to freely fall downward (but maintaining the 90° angle)
  • In the exact moment when we feel the elongation we have to explosively contract our abs to return in the starting position
  • Let’s imagine we want to use the inertia of our limbs to “break” our body in half and to use our abs, to keep it together
  • The movement should be similar to a small but continuous vibration
  • When we elongate let’s breath out, when we compress let’s (passively) breath in

Execution details:

The variations

A few alternative excution methods (read Same exercises, different execution):

  • The speed of execution defines different goals (explosive and short aims to build speed, low and long strength)
  • An entry-level variation is to touch the ground with the feet and hands (to help the abs but let’s try to avoid it as soon as possible)
  • An intermediate level variation is to push in a direction parallel to the ground (instead of downward)
  • An advanced level variation is to use 2 equivalent weights, respectively on our hands and on our feet (5-25 Kg for example)

Final notes

  • The description is more complex than the realization, however, if we are performing the exercise correctly we should feel the effort in the lower part of our abdomen
  • In our school, due to its benefits, this type of abdominal workout is a mandatory conditioning for all the practitioners (almost daily)
  • Outside ther martial arts context, this practice is good also for general fitness purposes (even inverting the breathing)

A note by Master Kongling – There is a specific reason why we breath out while our limbs move away from our body, it is to get used to increase the power of our blows (read /// Subscribe (it's free!) or Login to see this content ///).

In the next article of this series we will see the second exercise for muscle chain development (read Exercise 2 for the abs to develop the muscle chain).

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