1. Think side ways
Most people think about abs/core, they do crunches, sit ups, leg raise, etc…Too much time spent on the sagittal plane, not enough on the transverse and frontal plane. When you think of the back, think about the core. If one side is not strong, the other will be impaired, or weakened. Try shooting a canon from a canoe, that’s probably the best way to illustrate it.
Include weighted side bends, unilateral loaded carries, high pulley - mid pulley – low pulley - wood chops and twisting crunches to your training routines to make sure you got all sides of your spine covered.
2. Think strong
Most will do high reps for abs. Maybe they still believe that it will burn fat, or that’s all they ever knew and followed the popular beliefs, but abs are primarily there to protect the viscera and the spine against some outside forces trying to split the body in half, by keeping the upper and lower body together. No gentle load can do this, even if repeated 100 times. Imagine someone running straight into you, as in hockey or some fight sports, tremendous force will be applied on the limbs, firing up immediately the core (abs, chest, back, lower back, arms, hips and glutes) to prevent the body from breaking in half.
To get strong abs, think about the toughest exercises, probably those you have been avoiding. Hanging leg raise or toes to bar. To get started, try the weighted swiss ball crunches with a DB on your chest. As it gets easier, put the Dumbell behind your head. Last level of difficulty would be to hold the dumbbell over your head with your arms straight. The further the weight, the harder it will be. To increase the difficulty yet again, do the same with a rope attached to a low pulley. Probably one of the hardest ways to do a simple swiss ball crunch.
3. Think outside the box
Not one tip was on training specifically the lower back because most people fail to see the big picture. If the lower back is an issue, the problem often comes from a structural imbalance of the hamstrings, abs and deep muscle activation such as the transverse and QL who aren’t able to support the spine when it is crucial. It could also be lower spine injuries, often cause by a lack of strength coming for the core muscles, or again, caused by structural imbalances from past or recent injuries. Unless it is directly the spine, most lower back protocols starts with these very basic principles.